The Stickering

Experience Reports, Software Testing

‘The Stickering’ is a loosely managed, session based, reporting-and-guiding tool for your (user acceptance) testing. Feel free to adapt and use this for your own projects. The explanation given here is how it was integrated for a particular context.

Context: Exactly one year ago, I and a few other consultants were hired to help transform the current process of deploying and developing directly into production and hoping nothing blows up, to a more closely managed process with more safeguards.
In addition, the complete software application now in place would be recreated to a more modern technology. This meant: new process, new technology, new infrastructure, new people, old business processes with new changes. All this, under heavy set deadlines.

Fast forward and zoom in on testing: The first release was a disaster. Testability was an afterthought, so that testing in earnest could only start when it was too late. Bugs ramped up, deadlines were reset twice and the bi-weekly fix-releases were taking up most of the test team’s time.

While we were busy fighting old battles, the team of coders was almost doubled and two new projects were started.

Today, we’re two months from the deadline, one more rigid that the last, and we can finally start testing in earnest. The functionality is huge, complex and still changing.
We do not have the necessary knowledge to do a good enough job.

Enter ‘The stickering’Wizard Mindmap

Because the functionality is so incredibly complex and important to the business, we’ve been able to get a lot of support. Many people are interested and motivated to help us find important information.
Suddenly, there’s 20 other people testing the application and without an adjusted process, we’re sure to lose track of what we’ve been doing and what is still to be done.

To manage our coverage, we created mindmaps ( . Together with the functional people and their documents, we lined out a few modules and gathered a bunch of functionalities together with interesting test ideas in various mindmaps.

We pinned them to the wall. Next, we ordered three kinds of stickers, all in a different colour. One colour for testers, one colour for business people and one colour for IT-related but closely connected to business users, such as analysts and helpdesk.

They visit us in blocks of half days. Each session, they choose a few connected nodes on the mindmaps and start exploring. We ask them to focus on their unique point of view. Helpdesk professionals know where users will have questions and where quick solutions should be implemented. Finance will have another focus.

During their sessions, they test the nodes from their point of view and note their finding in the following Test Charter . (click through for an example)

After their session, we debrief and ask them all sorts of questions. (I will elaborate on this in a later post)

The final step is adding the coloured stickers to the mindmaps once the user has the feeling she has tested the node sufficiently. This way, anyone can pass the wall and see our progress. The goal is to get all nodes stickered by each colour.

Together with our bug wall, our results and progress get very visible.

We’ve only just begun with this and I’ll be sure to report on how it worked for us in the end.




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