Gordon’s Story: Developing A Fresh Approach to Testing

By Gordon Crawford

When reading about the world of testing and in particular, since my discovery of the Ministry of Testing more than three years ago, I had heard that the Rapid Software Testing (RST) Course was a great experience with the potential to completely change how you think about testing.

The launch of a scholarship competition by the Ministry of Testing to win a place on the course seemed like a perfect opportunity so I typed out my plea explaining why I was deserving of a place, and waited. Initially, a tweet from MoT announcing that emails had been sent to the lucky few (myself, not included) convinced me my attempt had been unsuccessful.

However, three days later I was thrilled to discover an email informing me that a ticket to the RST was mine. Quick celebrations and a whirlwind of organisation of work and accommodation arrangements ensued.

A Warm Welcome & Grand Plans

Day one arrived with an early start at Manchester’s Lowry Theatre with a friendly welcome from the FriendlyBoss. Walking into the room I see several familiar faces. Actually no, that's not right. I see several people I recognise from Twitter but whom I have never actually spoken to in person.

Once settled into my seat we are straight into an exercise. I have spent the whole journey to Manchester reminding myself that the exercises won't be as straightforward as they first look. So take my time, don’t jump to conclusions and always consider things from other viewpoints.

Obviously, this considered approach goes straight out of the window and we declare that we have the answer to the exercise after 30 seconds. Our expert guide for the course, Michael Bolton, picks apart our answer with some really simple questions and we retreat to have another go.

The rest of the day is spent trying, failing and ultimately learning from more exercises plus the wisdom and expertise of Michael. By the end of a gruelling but productive day, you are glad to go for a beer and time to mentally recharge.

Gaining Confidence

In my current employment, I have taken on a lot of responsibility for training new members staff and the second day of the course gave me confidence that I am taking the right approach as the first three exercises we work through are exercises that I have used for training at work.  

On the final day, Michael chooses to end with some more light-hearted work. The Dice Game. Finally, here it is, one of the more intriguing reasons to come on the course. I have spent years hearing about the Dice Game, trying to find out as much about what happens as possible, but it is all very secretive. I will continue the elusive tradition of the exact nature of the Dice Game. But, it is fair to say it was as enjoyable and frustrating as I had hoped.

Bringing All Experiences Back Home

Spending a few days with other software testers has been an invaluable opportunity. Talking about how our jobs compare, how cultures differ and battles that exist in one workplace just don’t in others.

Having only ever worked in testing for one company getting this kind of insight into how your work and workplace compare to others is fascinating. With the course over, it is time to say goodbye to all the new-found friends and start to consider how to turn my learning over the last three days into sessions and advice that I can use at work to inspire and educate the team. This has been a fantastic and unforgettable experience which has developed and refreshed my approach to testing.

I am immensely grateful for the generosity of the Ministry of Testing Scholarship and brilliant opportunity that this has afforded me.

Author Bio

Gordon is a Senior Software Tester at bet365 having worked there for 10 years and spending the last 5 as a Tester, he is mainly focussed on the Back Office tools and systems. In his spare time, he can be found watching any sport he finds on tv, reading more about testing and spending time with his wife and son.

You can find him tweeting occasionally and happy to connect on LinkedIn