Marlon Brando said in a role he played: “People win with loaded dice“…
This is the exercise we’re building today, loaded dices – for the win!

…I get by with a little help from my friends. One of the friends at work who pushes me into all sort of good experiences is Issi Hazan. At this example, he invited me to join him in a testing class for the Tech-Career project (a social wellbeing program in Israel that works with immigrants from Ethiopia to form them and prepare them for a job in the High-Tech industry. They were mentioned at this old post about building a portfolio, and at work we volunteer by giving them coding and testing classes).

Issi’s aim is to teach the group strategies for Exploratory Testing.
But how to do that in a single short out-of-the blue session? How do you convey the strategy, heuristics, coverage models, quality criteria in a practical easy-to-get form? How to make it dynamic and not-boring?

In this post we want to run through you this idea for an aiding tool for the instruction — and the execution too — of tests of exploratory nature.

Many strategies employ clueing techniques: Creativity Cards like the Creative Whack Pack, “Prime Me” clues like the ones in Session Tester (hmmm… soon a feature of Rapid Reporter?), Brainstorming techniques… Clueing techniques give you one hint, and your objective/experience/context will use the clue to progress and get unstuck.

So here’s where the clueing ‘Rolling Strategy Dice‘ come:

As you see in the video above, the dice will roll one of six Product Elements SFDPOT (from James Bach) and one of twelve Quality Characteristics CRUCSPICSTMP (from The Test Eye team).
So a throw of dices can bring “Function” and “Reliability“. Ok, so how would you study the function aspect of your product from a Reliability point of view? Go on, map the functions that are essential and have the user’s trust. Map the functions that can bring the overall system to unreliable states. And so on!
Your next throw of dice can be “Structure” and “Charisma“. This one is interesting too. Look at all the non-executable files. Is the product folder organized, even attractive? Or it is a mess that scares users away? How’s the product code?

So that’s the idea. We suggest it as a method for taking a class through some of the ideas, heuristics and mnemonics we use when testing; and for use in day to day testing as a complementary tool.

How to use:

  1. Online Version: The dice can be used online for free in courses or day to day tests at this link.
  2. Build your own: The templates (Thanks Rikard Edgren!) can be downloaded at ExploratoryTestingDice.pdf.

What do you think?