WTA-16 (WTA3D) – Today on Ebay (Live From CAST 2011)

WTA-16 (WTA3D) – Today on Ebay (Live From CAST 2011)

Date: Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Time: 10:45 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (PDT)

This was a unique session in that we had the chance to do weekend teswting as an actual technical session of the Conference for the Association for Software Testing. this session was dubbed “WTA3D” because there would be two groups actively participating together. While there would be the traditional online group that we have always participated with, testers from around the world connecting on Skype, there would also be a room with present testers also contributing and communicating in real time.

The session itself was based around eBay. Since Jon Bach was one of the conference organizers, we felt it would be interesting to tie something in with the actual participants so that we could all participate together and have it relate to the attendees.

The test mission was as follows:

Theme:  Today on eBay
Produce a list of questions (see below for examples) you think new people starting as new eBay testers should answer that encourages them to explore what eBay is. Share with them Jon bach’s work on Open-Book Testing: http://www.quardev.com/articles/open_book_testing

Pick a mission below and produce a list of bugs and issues.

  • Try a search on ebay.com and then try the same on your mobile. Any major differences that are concerning?
  • What is the most expensive Buy It Now item for sale nearest to your location?
  • What was the highest bid for an item in support of any charity?
  • Which category has the most items?
  • Which queries yield no results?
  • What item appears most with no bids?
  • What is the most popular (trending) item for sale?
  • What is the most bizarre item?
  • What is the most expensive item for sale?
  • What item has been on eBay the longest? Is there a way to tell the age of the item ID?

Create an informal report (highlights, epiphanies, suggestions, observations, or an evaluation) of what you saw unfold at at WTA3D.


In addition to the actual testing mission, we also focused on the skills required to facilitate the sessions, so much of the first hour was me discussing that process, as well as introducing the #facilitator hash tag so that we could explain in real time what the facilitator was doing at various points in the session and why we were doing it.

There were many interesting aproaches taken uring this session. Elena House found one of the most expensive items on the list. She was originally looking for diamongs, but discovered that “diamonds.com” was a much more valuable commodity. Yes, that price you see in the graphic is real, $21,000,000.00.

The full 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).