The Gamification of Software Testing—An Interview with Christin Wiedemann

[interview]
Summary:

Christin Wiedemann describes how adding gamification to the workplace shouldn't be difficult in a world driven by gaming. Learn how creativity and team building are boosted by fun and trust.

Noel: Hello this is Noel Wurst with TechWell and I am speaking with Christin Wiedemann today. Christin is going to be speaking at STARWEST, which is going to be in Anaheim, California, giving a session on Thursday, October 3, titled “It’s All Fun and Games, Using Play to Improve Tester Creativity.” How are you this afternoon Christin?
 
Christin: I’m just fine Noel. Thanks for talking to me.
 
Noel: Great, thanks for sitting down. I was very curious to speak with you. As a gamer myself, I am always drawn to anything involving games. I try and turn anything I can into a game, whether it’s me all by myself or with my children or coworkers or anyone who will play a game with me. So I was very interested to learn more about your session and what it’s about.
 
I was reading the abstract for it and I saw where you mentioned that even amidst the growing number of tools, a tester’s most important tool is their mind—which I thought was really interesting. I was curious as to why you think the mind might get put on the back burner when new, wonderful tools are unveiled or old tools that people will always be using—I wondered if you think maybe the mind sometimes gets neglected, or set aside, or if you think it’s one of those things that testers especially know how important that tool is?
 
Christin: I don’t think it’s unique to testing, but to me it seems that in recent years there’s been a lot of focus on tools, whereas automated testing is becoming more and more commonly used. But just like with everything else, tools won’t give you good results unless you know how, when, and why to apply them. If you go out and you buy the most expensive frying pan on the market it’s still not going to make you a good chef.
 
The tools themselves, they just … they don’t guarantee good testing. Once you have an automated script maybe what you need to do is press the start button, but you still have to decide what are you going to automate, and how you are going to automate it? How are you going to interpret the results? And the tools won’t do that for you.
 
I’m a little bit worried that we’re shifting the focus from people to the tools. The foundation of software testing, at least to me, is still identifying potential problems. I’m amazed that you have to be able to see both what’s not there and what’s there which shouldn’t be. It’s about commutative skills. It’s about pattern recognition, analytical thinking, and those skills are, at least to me, something I need to practice to get good at.
 
Noel: That’s pretty cool. I was talking to someone recently from, I think they were from HP, and she was saying how she is a big advocate of automated testing, but she was speaking about how she wasn’t just trying to push tools. She was saying that she thinks that a lot more companies are going to have really skilled test architects to be able to truly maximize those tools and not just say, “hey I’ve got this tool and it has made my life easier," but to have these tests architects to come in and really know how to build something great to be able to put into that tool to really get everything out of it—which kind of makes me think of that.
 
Christin: Yeah, I think we need to really help testers grow the non-technical skills as well. And we can’t forget what I think is the most important thing of all and that is that we should enjoy what we do and have fun at work. Otherwise we won’t be able to do a good job.
 

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User Comments

2 comments
Christin Wiedemann's picture
Christin Wiedemann

I don't think any gaming experience is required, instead you try to find games that appeal to everyone's inherent curiousity. Some games might be slightly more beneficial for certain areas of testing, but I believe that what's more important is that all games help train the general tester mind set.

September 17, 2013 - 6:43am
Mukesh Sharma's picture
Mukesh Sharma

Christin - Introducing games in testing is something I've been hearing a lot about recently. I'm excited to this how this evolves over the years. As a tester, would a person need to have any gaming experience in exploring this area or are we primarily leveraging the person's inherent gaming skills here? Also, would specific test areas (functional, UI, usability, performance, security) benefit more from a game based testing approach or the value is going to be more or less the same across test areas?

September 13, 2013 - 7:59am

About the author

Noel Wurst's picture Noel Wurst

Noel Wurst has written for numerous blogs, websites, newspapers, and magazines, and has presented educational conference sessions for those looking to become better writers. In his spare time, Noel can be found spending time with his wife and two sons—and tending to the food on his Big Green Egg. Noel eagerly looks forward to technology's future, while refusing to let go of the relics of the past.

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