Work and Play: Games to Help your Team Think about Testing

Tutorial E     Start Time : 09:00     End Time : 17:30

Talk Abstract:

Some topics are hard to learn from direct experience. A well-chosen game offers a shortcut to valuable insights, providing a shared experience, enabling experimentation, and giving perspective to real-world experiences. Play helps teams to build connections, to discover good responses to change, and to grow.

In this full-day workshop, James will share purposeful games that he plays with teams at corporate clients. Each game is directly relevant to software testing, and each has online materials available, from software to instructions. The games are built to be taken into your own workplace for use in an informal lunchtime learning session.

We’ll take on broad topics from communication dynamics to test design, from quality criteria to unit testing. You’ll play the games in groups, learning from the game and from each other, gaining and sharing insights that you can use straight away on your return to work.

After each game, we’ll take time to explore logistics, variants and snags. You’ll see how to run these activities for your whole team, how to make their experiences relevant, and how to build a stimulating and safe environment for useful lessons.

This workshop is for you if you want to learn about testing, if you want to bring fun and relevant lessons to your testing community, or if you want to learn how to teach through play.

Games include:
– Mend a Spaceship (broad-bandwidth comms and task urgency)
– Defuse a Bomb (narrow-bandwidth coms and uneven expertise)
– What can I Learn by Testing with You (diversity and sharing techniques)
– Are we Done Yet (task estimation in a discovery environment)
– Write Code to Satisfy Tests (TDD for everyone)
– BlackBox API (comparing API and UI testing)
– Questions For Testers (discovering testing skills – and opinions – in colleagues)
– Taste Test (analysing, building and judging against quality criteria)

This workshop requires internet-connected devices. Laptops and tablets may be more useful than phones. Mend a Spaceship requires SpaceTeam (free to download). Defuse a Bomb requires Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (James has a license for the workshop, but you’ll need your own to take it to work)

Key Takeaways:

  1. Purposeful games to play with your team
  2. Direct experience of seeing work through games
  3. Insight into adapting games to fit circumstances


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  • Speaker


    James Lyndsay - Director, Workroom Productions , United Kingdom

    James is an independent consultant, specialising in systems testing. He helps organisations to find surprises, to adapt their approaches, and to keep their testers interested – and helps people to make informed and practical decisions about their testing.

    A regular keynote speaker and teacher at international events, and an active participant in a variety of testing communities, James has written award-winning papers, built the Black Box puzzles, kicked off the TestLab, and run the London Exploratory Workshop in Testing. He received the 2015 European Tester Excellence award.