How are you/your team using TestSphere?

I’ve ordered a set of TestSphere cards for our team. I want to try a few different approaches with them as I know everyone on our team reacts differently to different methods.

I’m wondering how people are using their TestSphere decks? Or if anyone (like me) is waiting for their deck to arrive have you ideas of what you’d like to do with them?


We’ve played it at the Hamburg tester meetup in January pretty much sticking to the original rules:

The way I have mainly used it until now: Put it on my desk and it is the first thing anyone notices when entering my office.
Typical questions from actually anybody around the company are:

  • What’s that?
  • What is it good for?
  • I wouldn’t have related this to testing, but thinking about it, it’s true. How do you deal with that in your daily work?

So, having answers to those questions helps facilitating a discussion about testing. We haven’t really played at work yet, because I think playing it better suits an event character. Which reminds me that I should take the card deck along to our company bar camp next month :slight_smile:


I copy this from the slack channel :slight_smile:

1.) Interviews

I use it for interviews a lot. Mainly as an ice breaker:
Before we begin the actual interview we play a round of Testsphere. Important here is to use a subset of cards to which the applicant might be able to say something (use CV for that). If the applicant thinks he cannot say something you add a lot of stress in an already stressful situation. Played right you create a much more conversational atmosphere, because everyone is on the same level now.

I expand on the usage by asking questions into ; after the story and allow the same to the applicant. My dream is to at one point make a complete interview just one big round of Testsphere with detailed questioning in each others story. :grinning:

2.) During Testing

Also I use TestSphere if I get stuck during Test session for new inspiration. Sometimes I even plan my sessions out like that. Here is a picture of Cards I choose to guide my testing for a UI feature in our mobile app.

3.) Starting conversations

Like Christina I have it on my desk ans people ask about it. I also use it at meetups or round tables and just start playing, usually I tell the first story but from there people keep up and it is a very good way to start talking about specific topics (the stories) to generic ones (the concept on the card).


I LOVE the interview idea for it! I can’t wait to try that :slight_smile:

Keep the ideas coming in guys this is amazing :heart:

My home team uses TestSphere like this:

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My development team has been excited to use TestSphere during sprint planning. Yesterday, we tried it for the first time. We dealt 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”.

Normally sprint planning for us is not very conversational - it’s very much heads down and thinking about your particular story and maybe ignoring everyone else’s. There was much more engagement and thought around the stories - and for the first time ever, we talked about how the stories were making us feel emotionally, which I think is a dimension that we don’t really consider when taking development work.


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. As you can see we took it really seriously

Look at some of the feedback I had after the session
• I thought it was a good environment for us to have an open and honest discussion about the various issues we share in our work. People have different thoughts and ideas to what works and what doesn’t. I like that the cards have very specific topics which allows us to focus into them through meaningful discussion.
• I’ve enjoyed the session and the discussions we had. Looking forward to actually play the game in a future session.
• The cards inspired a really good conversation and some very pertinent observations, especially around project process (including Post Implementation Reviews), or lack of) and the insights about the generally sunny disposition of testers. I think it would be good to have another session at some point, to get everybody there if possible and to maybe pick the Top 3 items that affect all of us.
• I thought it was useful to have general tester chat. Maybe the Wire page can do a card of the day to keep the mind ticking over?
• I think this was an enlightening session. Good way to get people engaging in conversation about testing.

Following that we’ve got a collaboration area on Slack for more immediate discussions and we’re doing the ‘card of the day’ idea and that is encouraging even more participation.

You should be really proud of the hard work you all put into TestSphere, it’s paying off here and we’ll be spending more time on it. There’s so much we didn’t know we didn’t know.

Thanks again to you and all the team involved.


I’ve done this too, just showed random individuals or sometimes at standup a small group of devs the cards, they seem interested. But I’m having trouble summoning the courage to take it further - like inviting people to join me at lunch to play with the cards. And I don’t understand the game that comes with it very well.

Alex, I love your idea!

I decided to try using TestSphere as a tool in hosting my first retro today! The team had been using the :frowning: :expressionless: :slight_smile: 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. They had 30 seconds to do this and I timed it by playing retro arcade music (retro, get it? har har).

After that we went around and discussed why people had chosen the cards and what experiences had made them feel that way. It was a great start to the retro and I got some great feedback that people had really enjoyed it!


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.


I have a follow up question to this.
Are you using these test-sphere cards more than once?
Are people showing up and still have something to discuss about, for say…monthly sessions?

I ordered these cards just before Christmas!

I’ve mainly been using them while I’m testing to get ideas or inspiration to things I may have overlooked, or not thought of, as I’m the only tester where I am. I’ve also just had them out to see if people see them and get interested - so far I’ve had a few come by and go “Oooh what’s this?”. It’s been nice!

Today we used them in our retro for the first time, as a “sprint feelings checkout” as inspired by @sparrowsgo above. We did it with the purple cards, sorted like hers had been, and chose one positive and one negative each to help explain how our feelings had been this sprint, then went around the table to explain why we had chosen the cards we did. It helped bring out information we might not have thought about, and the project manager was super happy to get the extra information it brought. He also wanted to add it as a standard thing to our retros.

I look forward to experimenting with the ways people have used them here, especially test @alex 's way to use them during sprint plannings. :slight_smile:


In our team of testers, we’ve been picking a random TestSphere of the week. It get’s presented in our weekly team meeting on Monday, and whoever is interested can additionally meet on Friday during lunch to discuss and share any stories around the topic, how it related to their testing during the week, if they could use it, what they’ve learned etc. It’s a nice, relaxed chat at the end of the week where I get to learn and share about the testing topic the card relates to, and about my colleagues and their views on it.


I have been using the cards for a regular sprint retrospective recently and I think it went quite well as they really helped setting the stage and gathering data. The feeling cards were really helpful for that! I put a short blog post about it together, which you can find here


Wanted to share my experiences playing the base game with my department’s QA community of practice that I wrote up here:

It didn’t at all go how I expected, but it turn into a nice way of sharing stories about testing. Only one or two days later someone asked if I had any experience with a particular style of testing, and even though I didn’t have direct experience with what she was asking about, I was able to say, “Oh, Bob told a story about that in our TestSphere game the other day, you should go ask him!”

I’m thinking of trying them in a retrospective-style activity with my team too, along the lines of Katrina Clokie’s test strategy retrospective ( but with four categories in a 2x2 grid instead of three:

  1. Things we are doing and want to keep doing
  2. Things we aren’t doing but want to start
  3. Things we are doing but don’t want or need to do
  4. Things we aren’t doing and don’t want or need to do

I think it’ll be interesting to use the cards as a way to prompt testing ideas to traditionally non-tester people that they may not have thought of otherwise.

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