WTA29 – Fishing for “Threats to Value”

WTA29 – Fishing for “Threats to Value”

Date: Jun. 02nd, 2012 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Pacific


Abhinav Sejpal, Adam Yuret, Ajay Balamurugadas, Albert Gareev, Chris McMahon, Dan Gold, Dinesh Babu, Eugenia Yakhnin, Gabriel Loo, Michael Bolton (debrief), Mohinder Khosla, Rasmus Koorits,  Sirisha Parsi, Stefan Çuszek, Teri Charles


Michael Larsen


For this session, we decided to try something a little different. Rather than simply hunt for bugs (especially those that tended to confirm our biases) we opted to se if we could make a differentiation between garden variety bugs and those items that could be mission critical show-stoppers. What could be decided to be a show stopper bug? Generally, any issues that could be considered a significant “Threat to Value” to the system would by its very nature be a show-stopper bug.

The challenge we faced, since we didn’t have any of the original stakeholders (our target was a sim game called Fish Tycoon), was to go through the game and see if we could identify any significant threats to the value of the application. One thing became very clear from the outset, and that is that a Threat to Value is very subjective. it’s a lot easier to hunt for garden variety bugs than it is to pin down and verbalize exactly what a threat to value is. We based a lot of this session on a blog post published by Michael Bolton, and Michael was gracious enough to join us after the testing session and help with the debrief, as well as clarify some of the ideas we had formed during the session, allowing us to explore additional areas. All in all, very educational, and for many, it’s likely they may never look at their approach to testing the same way again.

The rest of the chat transcript can be seen here.

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).