PEST2: Bug Chase

One of the things I mentioned in my presentation at PEST was the “bug chase” idea. I would categorize it under “fun things to do with your team to get the adrenaline running”.

Back in February somebody IMd me about a strange bug he had seen but couldn’t really reproduce. Since the effects of the bug seemed important and it affected critical business flows, it was logical for me that we as a team should act swiftly.

I felt that it would be a good idea to shake things up a bit and pose a challenge for a couple of testers. Depending on the workload, I allow or then curb distractions, shake-ups, or any other interventions to our work. If we have a good pace and things get done quickly, it’s good to pop in something fun. If there are a lot of things going on and tasks are pouring in, it is still a good idea to pop something in. It just might be something less time consuming.

In this case, I came up with a bug chase which ended up being a duel. If you want to include more testers, go ahead. There shouldn’t be any limits.

So… both got the same amount of limited second-hand information from me, both were familiar with this business flow.

If I remember correctly, I limited the time to 1 hour.

Ready, set, go! Who will be able to reproduce the bug first? Infinite glory will be yours.

A bit later one of them cheered and let us know that he got the steps. The other tester found another pretty interesting bug that is difficult to find (a kind of edge case but it was in an area that is at the heart of the product).

I was really pleased and excited because, for one, a certain important area got a lot of attention and depth in testing. Also, the feedback from them was positive and they liked this friendly competition.

Obviously, as a team lead you don’t want to put two people up against each other who don’t get along. Luckily, I don’t have this problem and the two testers get a long very well working together, sharing ideas, and supporting each other.

This exercise also gave me the confidence that I can approach them like this. Of course, I can’t crash the party when somebody has thoroughly focused on something.

So, if the atmosphere and the timing are right, the relationships are good, and the people understand that they will not be evaluated, the bug chase can contribute to team work and learning (what better way to compare the approaches when debriefing afterwards!).