Repetition in Practice


This is an exercise that you can run many times. The fact that it is a game keeps me interested and coming back for more, all the while learning a skill that hopefully will be transferable to software testing. 

After working with Scrabble a little and developing your ability to observe heuristics you use during game play, take your new knowledge over to software and see if, and how that skill carries over. Find some website that you can test. Test this software while focusing on heuristics—if you can do this with a friend, that is even better. This doesn't have to go on for an extended period of time—thirty minutes or an hour is perfectly fine. When you are done compare bug reports and testing notes, and talk about the strategies you used to discover these bugs. Sharing what you learned can be a great way to learn from others and also a great way to bring to conscience the things you learned.

I encourage you to try this exercise out as an experiment—see how it works or doesn't work, helps or doesn't help, and share your results in the comments here. I really want to hear about your experiences with this exercise.

There are plenty of people out there that can't get to conferences or take classes because of rigid time requirements. I think that this mixture of theory, repetition, and self-awareness can (in some cases) suffice when that direct feedback loop of working with other people is not available. The trick here is being mentally present while doing an exercise, so that you can evaluate and change how you do the exercise the next time. Do you have any experience with this? Let me know in the comments section below.

User Comments

Michael Larsen's picture
Michael Larsen

Justin, as one who remembers well a variety of instruments (piano, flute, guitar, bass, vocals, drums) I agree there needs to be an elelement of steady and specific practice to get to a new goal. With a physical instrument it was rudimentary (make sure that you practice the fingering and articulation) and with some skills, that's a (relatively) "easy gain".

Testing skills, however, are a lot more subjective, and we could con ourselves into believeing we are doing better than we really are. I often liken testing skill development to vocal practice, because it is an area that is hard to develop alone; we hear ourselves differently than other people hear us. Often, I have to physically record my singing so I can really hear what my notes sound like objectively. Likewise, testing requires a bit of external validation as well. We often don't really know if our testing is improving until someone else points out "hey, you're finding importtant stuff! Whastever it is you're doing, keep doing it!"


October 21, 2013 - 5:55pm
Justin Rohrman's picture


That is a great point and if I'm understanding you correctly, I agree. I think skills can be practiced and developed in significant ways through this sort of independent study. Ultimately though, in terms of music, we are trying to cre

October 21, 2013 - 6:38pm

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