One autumn morning, I was walking to work along the canal when it started to spit. You could see the little splashes on the canal surface but I wasn’t getting badly wet and I could honestly say it probably wasn’t umbrella weather just yet. But knowing I had the Ministry of Test Umbrella in my bag which I hadn’t had the chance to get out and use yet I couldn’t resist. It was its maiden voyage its mission to protect me from those very, very few rain drops that were coming from the dark sky.
While I was walking with a very happy grin across my face I had a little Idea. It is about a twenty-minute walk and I normally just listen to my music and watch the world go by. This time though I thought I would do a little mental exercise get myself in the mood for the day ahead and do a quick blitz attack test on the umbrella. I find when I am testing I need a structure to follow as I tend to wonder, this means that when I test I need to be aware of what I am trying to achieve otherwise I could go on many tangents that are not always beneficial. When I catch myself going of track I like to note down where I was going so that I can go back there again possibly under its own test if needed.
I have a little guide line that lets me achieve this without being too restrictive. Any practitioners of session based testing or people who have studied Qualitative Research should recognise the structure. Firstly, I decide on the goals for the test, this is what I want to achieve from this test. I then have a look to see if I have any initial knowledge on what I am about to do this helps identify any oracles for any observations I may be reporting on later and identifies any prejudices I may already have so that I am aware of them. I go on to look at any research that I need to carry out before I do the actual test. Is there something I need to know before hand is there any set-up required do I need any specific data for the test. Goals, initial knowledge and research are steps carried out mentally or written down before the actual test is carried out. For the umbrella test I had the following:
- Goals: To see how good the Ministry of Test Umbrella is during light rain
- Initial Knowledge: I have had a couple of umbrellas in a range of prices the most expensive being 10 pounds and the cheapest being about 2 pounds
- Research: No research needed for this test relied on my initial knowledge of the product
I now have my pre-test tasks out of the way it’s time for some fun. I then do my thing and test the umbrella. To help me clarify my findings and identify any problems I split my thinking into two fields. What lessons have I learnt from carrying out this test. This I use to note down any further test paths that need to be explored any problems with set-up that could be improved on and any little notes that could help me as a tester to improve the quality of my tests. I would then summarise what I have done and any observations I had.
- Lessons Learned : I found myself being too critical for this umbrella, I was constantly comparing it to what I consider to be my posh umbrella which was clearly not what I should have been doing as they were both made for different markets.
- Summary:The umbrella was easy to open but it felt a little flimsy while opening it up. The handle seemed a little small for my hands and was hard to control in gusts of wind. The actual coverage of the umbrella was good and I found it giving me more coverage than some of my other umbrellas. Tried flapping it about to try to get it to invert itself but it managed to keep its shape.
There you have it my quick twenty minute blitz attack on the Ministry of Test umbrella. It was an entertaining exercise that gave me the excuse to keep the umbrella out for longer than I really needed to, I might have got a few strange looks along the canal as I was flapping it about. I certainly don’t find the way I lay my tests out and the way I approach my testing to be restrictive and I am not religious about what gets filled out as sometimes not all fields are required. By just thinking about the field helps me to clarify what I am doing. This approach I am sure is not to everyone’s taste but hopefully some of you have found it useful. By the way Ministry of Test, I love the umbrella thank you.