WTA-41 – Getting in Shape with Domain Knowledge

WTA-41 – Getting in Shape with Domain Knowledge

WTA-41 – Getting in Shape with Domain Knowledge

Date: Saturday,  July 6, 2013
Time: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. PDT


Dan Gold, Dennis Traub, Jagannath Sriramulu, JeanAnn Harrison, Justin Rohrman, Lisa Crispin, Michael Larsen (as Weekend Testers Americas), Mohinder Khosla, Pradeep Soundararajan, Roman Sheyko, Shmuel Gershon, Tiffany Branker, William R. Render, Srinivas Kadiyala
Facilitator: Michael Larsen

We focused on an app called “GAIN Fitness“. It’s a “workout app” and geared towards people who want to get into shape and use their Browser/Smart device to help them.



Custom-built workouts based on certified trainer’s expertise and exercise science

GAIN Fitness builds personalized workouts based on exercise science and certified personal trainers’ expertise. 

Our app gives you personal trainer quality exercise without the hassle of researching workouts or booking trainers.

With 700+ exercises (strength, plyometric, callisthenic, yoga), our app can literally create millions of unique workouts, custom-tailored to you.


Seems like it would be an app that requires fitness knowledge to be effectively tested… but is that true? We decided to put to the the test the idea that “domain knowledge” is required to effectively test. Of course, we figured, if you did have a strong interest in fitness, weightlifting, exercise, etc., that certainly wouldn’t hurt.


The premise of the session was to see if, indeed, having a knowledge of fitness and working out would be more helpful than not having that knowledge, and to see what bugs or issues were discovered by those who had experience in fitness vs. those who did not. Interestingly enough, there were a lot of issues that were discovered that had little to no need for fitness experience. There were universal issues such as layout, access to controls, ability to save or rename items, workflow, etc. For these, fitness knowledge played little to no part whatsoever. For those who did have fitness knowledge and understanding, there was some serious questions regarding the methodology used to determine such things as Body Mass Index and Bodyfat Percentage, as well as the consistency of describing movements and displaying information based on the workout generated. Even with these areas, that didn’t require an extensive understanding of exercise physiology, or kinesiology to spot issues.


Justin Rohrman has written an excellent follow-up post to this session, and I like his thoughts on the matter. In short, there’s a sliding scale to domain knowledge, and while some knowledge is helpful, the depth of that knowledge does not need to be vast to still be effective. In some cases, yes, there are some details that only an expert will spot, and there should be some areas where that expertise is leveraged. It does not need to be an expertise that everyone on the team needs to share. What was interesting to see was what areas those who did have experience (i.e. powerlifting, yoga, body weight exercises, etc.) focused their attention. By doing so, a lot of the app got covered and commented on, even without specifically calling out where to go. The reason? People tend to gravitate towards the areas that they already have an understanding. With a team of testers, this can be very helpful, but I’d suggest a review on a couple of sessions, see what did get covered (and by whom) and use that knowledge going forward, both to provide deeper cover by those with expertise, as well as to identify areas where a broader understanding and potential training might be helpful.

As an added note, we had two participants from the Per Scholas program participate with us for the first time today. I’m hoping that they had a great experience, and that they come back to join us for future expeditions.

The full chat transcript can be viewed 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).