Onboarding new members while working remotely

Hey guys! Any great tips how to onboard new team members (especially, devs) on your quality mindset. We are trying to be agile and involve QA super early in the process. I loved QA Jenga exercise. Run it quite often. But now I need to come up with something else that will work online as well. Maybe there are some great games that can replace Jenga (building and destroying things).

Thanks!

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Have had a few people join the company in lockdown. I’m a curious specimen and seem to choose unusual places to work, new starters must think we are a bit eccentric. Which got me thinking, how does someone on the other end of the camera perceive you?
So we had a new dev join my team and he totally feels like one of the gang now. Encourage people a lot by getting them to demo stuff they have accomplished, and try to herd them into their comfort zone so that their confidence gives them power to roam more widely. Not everyone likes interactive games or activities, but getting them to join you in a bug troubleshooting or a automated-test troubleshooting is a good idea to get practical learning going.

QA Jenga is a object lesson that you can read off of a card in less than 60 seconds, but a pack of TestSphere cards that you can buy on MOT are universal and I liek to use them like a game. Choosing a testing path is a gamble, so I like to grab each colour card and use them like a card trick get a developer to choose one card from each colour, then get them to choose one idea from each card and I then write down what they think each choice or idea means. This creates a notion of being invested in the process (although it’s random) and I still have to do all of the data capture, but I let the other person interpret the card, I don’t try to control the idea. I just write it down. TestShere has other great “games” that you could play with the pack, so get a few and explore. (Note: other test exploration card packs/devices do exist.)

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Thanks a lot for sharing your experience! I have a TestShere cards deck. But to be honest I don’t find them very useful just in my context. I think it’s great to play them with other QAs and discuss testing in general, but when it comes to explaining our agile testing culture I don’t think they are that useful. Maybe I haven’t discovered their full potential yet.

I agree that Jenga game can be explained just by presenting the concept on a slide. But I want them to experience it themselves and also have some fun. But maybe I shouldn’t overcomplicate things.

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During a talk about gamification in testing Eveline Moolenaars told about the cheese roll exercise. She asked the attendees what kind of aspects they would test this roll. The purpose of the exercise was to make them aware that there are other test ideas.

The next step was to map the current tests on the testing quandrants described by Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory in Agile Testing, based on the work of Brian Marick. This way missing tests were noticed.

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My favourite is the “guess the pattern” dice game where you roll out a handful of dice, you need 5 or 6 die for this to work well. You then use the dice to think of a number, the other person has to guess your number. If they get it wrong, you roll another handful, all you tell them is whether their guess was too high, or two low, they don’t get to make another guess on this roll though. Keep re-rolling until they figure out your pattern for producing the number.

This can take about half an hour, and I’m not going to explain the game rules, because that would be stealing from James Bach who I believe invented the game. But the short of it is that it’s a very good game for paying attention to detail, applying logic and a bit of math and can be quite frustrating. So it shows up a lot of what the players are like as people, because you can give hints, or you can choose not to give clues. I like the dice game so much I have a bag of multicoloured dice in my desk drawer.

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Small addition:
during my Rapid Software Testing class I told James Bach, that I already knew the game before the exercise.
“Where did you learn it?”
I mentioned the conference.
“Who taught you the game?”
“Michael Bolton”
On the spot James changed the rules.

Afterwards he told me that he hsd several sets of rules available. Just in case.

So you can play your variation of the dice game. Make a strange calculation based on the throw of dice and let people guess the rules.

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It’s important to remember new starters need that extra bit of TLC if they aren’t to feel like pawns in a game / bums on seats.

Some game ideas as well as other things you might want to try here:-

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Yeah, I heard different variation of this exercise. The last one was Coke bottle testing. However, it always stoped after the first part. Like the idea to map testing ideas on the testing quandrants.

I’ve always seen the value of using Lego when onboarding new people to testing.

I’ve seen great Lego based workshops covering storytelling and automation from the likes of @danielbilling and @friendlytester

There is a free app you can download https://lego-digital-designer.en.softonic.com/ that means that you can engage in some fun Lego based games and workshops.

This could be a pretty flexible tool to use?

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I baulk at a lot of this interactive and play stuff. Sometimes all that using lego will do is tell you if the person you are playing with has spatial awareness or is not color blind.

The “Michael Bolton” dice game also can do this, because sometimes the other player is not aware/trusting that it’s a solvable puzzle initially. I’m rubbish at most puzzles myself and this comes across because I know I will fail. So anyone giving me a puzzle will think I am stupid, because I won’t even try to solve their friendly play puzzle. Which is why I’m very keen to connect in as many other ways as possible. And even though I am the introverted person in my team, a recent questionair had shown me that I am the sunny person on the team who tries to seek team happiness. I do this by listening, get them to talk about an object you can see in the background. Be focused on the job at hand always though, zoom is not a good place to do watercooler type chats.

I love lego. I can see how this could be fun though.

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It definitely does depend on how it is structured.

The storytelling example is a good one though, as you can be asked to build something based on some very loose requirements and then the aim thereafter is to ask more questions to highlight the importance of questions in requirements gathering.

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Perhaps you are thinking of @mwinteringham ?

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Perhaps. He does have wonderful taste in plaid shirts