Small group games to learn or improve testing skills

Looking for some inspiration here.

What are the best group exercises you have taken part in based around testing skills?

Context here is I have been tasked with running some sessions at work with my test team and looking for some of them to be interactive game type sessions. I have done one so far with the Dice Game from RST which went down well and everyone enjoyed it.

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Hi - sounds like a fun task!

I did some similar things a while ago which were with multi-discipline teams but were with a testing focus. I would give a scenario and a short testing brief, and ask them (in pairs or 3’s) to come up with a test approach. I would also introduce a bug - not telling them what or where it was, but then looking at their test approaches to see if they would find it. They’d be daft things like ‘iFronts - the newest venture in wearable technology’ which prompted people to think about things outside their daily domain comfort-zone, and when the small teams shared their test approaches it was always interesting to see how they’d all gone in different directions and whether they’d find the bug or not

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One that I used in my Test Community of Practice was https://www.tomwujec.com/design-projects/marshmallow-challenge/
It gets them used to working to a timescale, using limited resources, and when it is all done you can find out how it went.
Did they go all in trying to build the biggest thing they could, not giving themselves time to make sure it worked? Did they test their design?

How experienced is the test team? Are they new to testing and you are trying to teach them the basics and build up from there? Are they seasoned and you want to help improve any gaps they have but overall they are good testers? As depending on where they are and what they can do, group sessions testing some of the sites listed on Products and sites to practice testing on might be worth it too.
I gave an overview of Pair Testing and Exploratory Testing by getting them to test a dummy site riddled with bugs, and got them to test in different ways, communicate, maybe give them hints to different things they could look for.

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Thanks, I had seen the marshmallow challenge and it is on the list of possible sessions.

The team varies in experience from brand new to testing through to 3/4 years experience though none really interact with the wider testing community. So there is a lot of knowledge of how to test the products we test but that doesn’t necessarily translate into an understanding of general testing theory, which is what I am trying to work on with these sessions.

I like the idea of getting them to practice on sites or tools but currently limited by the room where these sessions would be held having just a massive surface hub in it rather than several computers where they could split into groups to test something.

What about doing it as a mobbing session? As everyone is only able to work off a single computer, embrace it instead of seeing it as a hindrance.

In addition to doing interactive sessions, have you thought about making a more organised Community of Practice? There are bound to be things that the people with years of experience know they can share, and might be things they can show their other experienced colleagues, let alone the newer people.

I’m an advocate of them, and there is lots of information out there, but it could be something to think about.

I enjoy the game Zendo. It has very similar mechanics to the dice game where people are trying to identify a secret rule, but the variables are different; It’s more visual than mathematical, and people get more feedback on which to base their guesses. My favourite element is that when someone thinks they know what the hidden rule is, the person who knows the rule has to try to disprove their guess rather than just say it’s right or wrong. Both sides have to be able to come up with examples for what the rule might be and counterexamples for what it is not.

The downside is you have to buy the set, but you could probably fake it with a set of building blocks or lego as long as you have a reasonable number of variables to play with (not too many, not too few).

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I recall a game where you split people into two teams. One team has instructions for a Lego model and the other team has the Lego pieces. The team with the instructions must provide information about building the model to the team with the pieces. There are a couple of variations.

If you want some adventure with your testing, check for a local Escape Room and make a day of it!

Joe

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We did that in a workshop at TestBash Manchester last year, with Martin Hynie and Elizabeth Zagroba. It was a good experience, and if you can get enough cheap Lego kits, something fun to run with the teams.

Thank you for all the suggestions, Friday just gone was the next session I had to host and went with the marshmallow challenge which went down very well. Lots of learning around testing designs and making small changes as well as a good bit of team building.
The next few sessions will be around testing theory and domain knowledge transfer so got 6 weeks before the next group game/activity session and will definitely look into some of the other ideas on here for what I am going to do.

Sounds like a good communication exercise. Does it relate to testing more specifically than that?

Hello @gpaciga!

Thanks for asking!

When I moved from development to testing, I was surprised how social testing is. Over a few projects, it was interesting to watch how a team viewed testing. As a Test Lead, I was humbled to guide and influence team to think of quality as a team sport rather than owned by a subset of the project team.
In addition to communication, the game promote collaboration which I have found to be vital when working on a project team. The roles of tester, developer, and analyst come with expectations of the role and occasionally baggage. An ability to navigate these relationships, speak their language, and influence ideas around quality is as much a part of testing as a test case.

I also believe the game can demonstrate some of the Shift Left ideas - especially having inspection very, very close to construction.

Joe