The Card Deck That Gets You Thinking and Talking About Software Testing and Quality.

 

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Why Was TestSphere Created?

The world of Software Development is evolving. Constantly. We’re testing earlier, we shift left, right and dig deeper than ever before, using automation in clever ways and have the whole team focused on quality.

By ingraining testing within SCRUM teams or through agile practices, we see a massive improvement in the work we do.

Testers As Part of Agile Teams

Testers are part of development. They sit right there, inside the teams. Testing all the things. This, however, has its own challenges: testing professionals are dispersed amongst different teams and while this implies massive interaction with the different roles, we’re having trouble finding like-minded testers to talk to.

The Lone Tester

Another challenge a tester could face is being the sole tester in a team. This may result in your testing becoming too shallow as you slowly get assimilated into the building mindset. Another danger is the loss of knowledge sharing among testing colleagues further isolating yourself from new test ideas and sparks of inspiration.

To tackle these issues, TestSphere was created.

 

What’s inside the box?

Each pack of TestSphere cards features a 100 cards divided into 5 categories:

  1. Heuristics: Possible ways of tackling a problem.
  2. Techniques: Clever activities we use in our testing to find possible problems.
  3. Feelings: Every feeling that was triggered by your testing should be handled as a fact.
  4. Quality Aspects: Possible aspects of your application that may be of interest.
  5. Patterns: Patterns in our testing, but also patterns that work against us, while testing such as biases.

Each of these 5 dimensions has 20 cards and in turn, each card features a testing concept with 3 examples that put that concept in a different light.

That’s 100 cards and 300 examples to draw testing ideas from, talk about and learn from.

 

Sounds Awesome, Where Can I Get A Deck?!

We ship TestSphere worldwide and you can order them from The Ministry of Testing Store.

 

Ways To Use Your Deck?

There are lots of ways to utilize your TestSphere cards. Here are 5 different methods of using TestSphere to help you get the most out of your deck:

1. Knowledge Sharing

Sit with others and let TestSphere cards trigger testing stories and experiences about quality across your team.

“After purchasing a set of TestSphere cards I set up a lunchtime session and optionally invited all the testers in the office. The turnout was about 90% which was fantastic as none of the team (including me) had any real idea how the session was going to be run.

The initial session had the cards splayed out on the table and the team just picked ones out that resonated with them and we were able to fill an hour with a really good quality discussion."

- Michael Oliver

 

2. RiskStorming

RiskStorming uses the TestSphere cards to bring the whole team around the task of generating a Test Strategy.

“RiskStorming is a way to expose the biggest and most important risks to a product or project. It’s a way to discuss and discover things that are often quite scary to talk about. No one really wants to dwell on ways their product could catastrophically fail. The cards provide a nice, fun, colourful vehicle to discuss these.”

- Gem Hill

Find Out More

 

3. Sprint Planning

TestSphere can be used to get the whole team thinking outside the box during planning. This shifts the task of ‘asking difficult questions’ from the tester to the whole team.

“Deal one card of each color to each person for a hand of 5 cards. The rule was that you could play the card out of your hand if you could explain how the card related to the story currently under discussion. The person with the least cards in hand (or no cards at all) “wins”.”

- Alex Langshall

 

4. Retrospectives

Retrospectives often focus on what went wrong and what to do about it. Regrettably, feelings get left out of this discussion. Using TestSphere in your retrospectives gives people the chance to show their human side too.

"I decided to try using TestSphere as a tool in hosting my first retro today! The team had been using the categories so I thought it would add some depth to that discussion.

So I laid out the cards on the table grouped into the positive/negative/neutral categories and then I asked everyone to choose 1 positive and 1 negative card that best described their feelings over the last week."

- Hannah Mason

 

5. Inspiration

Testing is a creative job and just like any artist, musician, writer, we can find ourselves out of ideas. We suffer Tester’s block. Thankfully, TestSphere can give you plenty of inspiration for your next testing adventure.

“Today, using TestSphere as I’m actually testing. I’ve laid down cards on my desk around areas of concern/interest, and I’m moving them to a done pile as I resolve those issues in my head. There’s something around the physicality of moving the cards around that is helping me focus on those areas.”

- Alex Langshall

Check out The Club forum to find out more ways the software testing community are using TestSphere and why not share your TestSphere stories too?!