WTA11 – Stay on Target

WTA11 – Stay on Target

Date: May 14, 2011

Time: 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. PDT, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. EDT

Attendees: Adam Yuret, Gagan Talwar, Lisa Crispin, Meeta Prakash, Michael Larsen, Peter Schrijver, Rahul Vig, Scott Stelzer, Vamshi

Our session today focused on, as the title says, Staying on Target, or to use another term, focuing on the scope of the mission.

Today’s session focused on an application that is being released by Volunteermatch.org:

“VolunteerMatch strengthens communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement. Our popular service welcomes millions of visitors a year and has become the preferred internet recruiting tool for more than 76,000 nonprofit organizations.”

In addition, regular Weekend Testing contributor Adam Yuret actually works with VolunteerMatch.

As they had completed three sprints (nine weeks of effort, referred to as an “Epic”), and were preparing to roll out those changes, this was an ideal project and target for our Weekend Testers to tackle.

Today’s charter was as follows:

“Your mission is to test within the boundaries of the non profit admin interface.
We’re interested in finding meaningful defects within the constraints of this charter.

We’re not interested in any browsers other than the following:

Tier 1 Browsers are IE8 and Firefox 3.6 on a windows platform. if we find issues in Safari 4 or IE7 we’ll certainly address them. our top priorities are IE8 and FF3.6.

Anything outside this NPAI interface is also out of scope.

I will act as stakeholder and answer any questions you may have. There are a few known issues but we’ll address those if they come up in testing.” –Adam Yuret

We broke into smaller groups and tested the NPAI interface, and found a number of issues, some within the proper scope, some without. Any time that an issue was reported that was out of scope, Adam made sure to spell out that the issue in questions was exactly that, and why it was out of scope (also thanking them when a find was significant).

During the follow-on discussion, we addressed a number of challenges that we as testers face when scoping test effort. Is the scope set in stone? Should we as testers challenge the boundaries? Why is it that individual testers are more willing to challenge or question the scope of a mission than a testing group is? Are there times where going beyond the pre-defined boundaries is not only desirable, but necessary?

For answers to this and more, please see the full chat transcript.

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).