WTA07 – Smart Enough to Get Hired?

WTA07 – Smart Enough to Get Hired?

Date: February 19th, 2011
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (PST)

Today’s session focused on whether or not we could determine if certain “potential employees” were “smart enough” to get hired.

The Mission:
“I’m hiring staff for my IT department. I was told that this simple program will help me in finding the smartest candidates. Your mission: test the program and report how it suits my needs”

This scenario actually hit close to home for many of the participants, and the discussion about the Mission, the purpose and the actual usefulness of the application was very telling! We treated this session as though we were a consulting group brought together to evaluate, as independent experts, this particular product and the approach that the customer wanted to apply to the hiring process.

The hidden intent today was to break away from the traditional “go off and test” flow, and instead encourage the testers to brainstorm and question the mission. As many of them admitted in the debriefing, they found it important to question the mission first, before they just jumped into testing:

Justin Byers: […] Avoid jumping into the software looking for bugs until you know what you’re really testing.

The exercise of today’s mission was to practice questioning claims of the product and “focusing/defocusing” approach in testing. As a result, many major threats to the suggested solution were exposed. By communicating with the stakeholder, we were able to help her realize the dangers in this approach, and rethink the way of finding smart professionals.

[We used the #Danger hashtag in these sessions to help identify potential hazards to the stakeholders. To see what the dangers that the testers determined were present, please go and download the chat transcript for details.]

About the Author

I’m a software tester working with Socialtext in Palo Alto, CA. I have worked in a number of different fields and in a number of different capacities. I started my testing career in March of 1991. I am co-founder and primary facilitator for Weekend Testing Americas. I am a black-belt in the Miagi-do School of Software Testing, a member and Teacher in the Association for Software Testing, and the producer of Software Test Professionals' "This Week in Software Testing" podcast (now on hiatus).