An Experience Report: TestSphere

“We do not stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing!”- Benjamin Franklin

GeekNight, hosted by ThoughtWorks- Dallas, is pretty popular, and I jumped at the chance to host one as well as give the evening presentation on TestSphere, the testing game!

If you don't know anything about TestSphere, go check this out!

The short explanation is that it's a card game designed to get folks talking about testing topics. 

I started the session off explaining the different colors and basically what topics they were divided up into.

Lean TestSphere

For the main part of the evening, I had everyone divide into groups of three and four. I explained how we were going to do a modified Lean Coffee style to pick topics and discuss the cards everyone pulled. 

Each person pulled a card from the deck and took it back to their group. Each card was given eight minutes of discussion time with the option to continue talking about the topic for a few more minutes before moving onto the next card.

The discussion was lively and interesting. I was asked mostly about the "feelings" cards and what they meant. I explained them as best I could from a tester's perspective. 
Groups playing with TestSphere

I should mention here that pretty much everyone in attendance was more developer than tester. I think there were two other people besides myself that had been involved with testing in some way. 


After we wrapped up the discussions about the cards we went into a short retrospective about what happened with the topics and what people thought about the cards. 

People reported that they enjoyed the discussions a lot. One group thought the topic of Security wasn't important really, until someone started thinking about it from a tester's perspective and then the conversation really opened up. 

A majority of people came to the realization that testing was NOT and easy practice. The cards actually generated sympathy with non-testers about how much testers needed to keep track of and what the role really entails on a day-to-day basis.

At the end of the night, one participant was excited to share the cards with his off-shore testing team. He hoped to spark ideas and conversations with them through using TestSphere. 

Continue The Narrative

The night turned out to be a great success and I hope that I can host/present TestSphere again to another group. I think the biggest win was influencing non-testers and gaining empathy for the testers and their craft. 

Let me know your TestSphere stories in the comments! Or become part of the narrative at The Club or on the Slack channels. 


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