The day was 17th of April, 2015 that I mailed Rosie of Ministry of Testing with an idea I had. The question I posed was whether a Testing Tarot Card deck would be something the community would be interested in.
Rosie had thought of something similar before and wanted to work with me on it.
I wanted to create a tool that is generic enough to suit most contexts and can guide testers to find new and exciting ways to approach the product under test.
I started developing something that eventually took the form of a Testing Tarot set.
(italics are snippets from actual conversations.)
Phase 1: A Testing Tarot Card deck. – April, 2015
So cards have two sides:
One side is always printed with one/same logo/design.
The other side is printed with the character.
I had already created a list of concepts that would spark inspiration for your testing and connected this with a Tarot-style character.
This is an extract of how that looked:
Spreadsheet Keywords – Character – Image description
The next step was finding someone who could draw beautiful characters and designs for the cards.
After contacting several people, we found out that this would be very, very costly.
So we decided to go with someone from Fiverr.com who we’d heard good things about.
After completing about 20 drawings for us, she took 175$ and then vanished into thin air. We had less than half a card deck in a particular style which we couldn’t build on further.
Rosie had invested that money for nothing.
Phase 2: The App – November, 2015
While waiting for the characters to come in, I had created a website to give a better overview of the card deck. This drove me into playing around with colours, logo, icons and a name.
Asking advice from people around me, I found someone who wanted to build this into an app.
To help inspire you, TestSphere doesn’t just give you an objective.
It offers an elaborate explanation of the objective and
gives several examples of how to test the objective.
– TestSphere pitch
At that point, we were a year later already. January 2016.
I hadn’t heard as much from Rosie as she was busy with the many other projects. In retrospect, she was right to do so, because I was still searching.
Even if I didn’t know that about myself at the time.
That same month, I was lucky to join 25 other testers on a peer conference: DEWT 6.
I pitched the concept, the website and the app to them.
They felt it had potential, but that it wasn’t quite there yet.
While they were offering constructive criticism, help, support and ideas, I was feeling demoralized. A stone had formed in my stomach.
That was the second blow.
Phase 3: The Card Game – Februari, 2016
Driving home again, I started to get new ideas. Back to basics. A card deck that wasn’t a fluffy fortune telling game, but a useful tool of learning and knowledge sharing.
Again I rethought the list of concepts, form and design of the card deck.
I introduced different dimensions and investigated more concepts to add to the deck. Real, useful and specific test related concepts that have the potential to get testers passionately talking and thinking.
Here’s an example of 9 cards of the first version of TestSphere: pat-3
The focus shifted from fortune telling and test ideas to learning and knowledge sharing.
I pitched the new idea at TestBash Brighton as a 99-second talk and that was the moment it got picked up in earnest.
Rosie wanted to get it ready for TestBash Manchester. Marcel Gehlen tested out the game and offered a boatload of feedback.
In total: We liked the cards very much, we have some ideas how we can integrate them in our team / work and we think they add value. For gaming purposes we wanted more rules. If you ever come up with a stricter gaming rule set we are happy to try that out for you.
– Marcel Gehlen
Phase 4: TestSphere – Oktober, 2016
We further expanded on the cards, with examples that approach the concepts from different angles.
A real designer from MoT, Thomas Harvey, joined in and made it look awesome.
This is a product that can be used in many different ways and taps into your experiences, potential and creativity.
Whether you are an experienced developer or junior tester, this game will have you dig deeper and learn from each other.
TestSphere brings out the potential in you.
Phase 5: The Crowdfunding platform – Januari, 2017
We’ve come this far together. All the people who stood by me, supported me and offered advice and work:
Rosie, Marcel Gehlen, Melissa Eaden, Thomas Harvey, Dwayne Slootmans, Bert Lerno, Ben Van Daele and my wife.
Ministry of Testing have invested £20,000 for design, printing and handling.
In order to make that money back, we’ll need to sell about 1,000 card decks.
At the moment of writing, we’ve sold 220.
You can help us take this story further.
Inform your manager, your development team, your marketing team. Get them excited about TestSphere.
Get it at the Ministry of Testing Store.
Phase 6: ???
The App, revisited?
An extension on the Ministry of Testing Dojo, a great library of real life stories?
All we know is, this is far from over. We’re taking this further!