Tabara de testare Bucuresti- February meetup

“Interactive team activities around communication and soft skills”

This was the title of the February meetup “Tabara de testare Bucuresti”. The speaker was Andrei Dobrin, a very good tester that I have the pleasure of knowing. I attended this meetup and I found it very interesting and fun so I wanted to share my experience with you.

A good tester has many qualities. Some of the important ones are visualizing, communication and experimentation.

How do these abilities relate to the topic above? Stay a while and listen 🙂

We played a game at this meetup called “Farmer’s challenge”.

About the game in a nutshell:

  • The participants split into teams and each team receives a couple of cards.
  • Some cards have information about a farmer while others about the task that the team must do.
  • Each team must complete the tasks described on the cards. They also are not allowed to show the cards to other players and can’t write the information on anything.

At first this seemed an easy task. But I remembered that i did this type of logical exercise alone with pen and paper and it still took a while. Imagine with 4–5 people and nothing to write on!

In the first stage we each described the information on our cards. This is also where the first problems may arise. You need to communicate with people you don’t know and some may not have good communication skills.

You need to remember that communication also involves a lot of listening. *If you can’t listen the you will miss important information or ideas*.

To our luck we where all friends and knew each other so there was no issue there. If we were strangers it would have taken us a lot longer to solve the challenge and the tensions would not have been that easily solved. A few minutes later the first stage was complete. We all knew the information on the cards and we needed to start putting it together.

Farmer’s challenge in progress

It was here where an important step took place. We started to come up with ideas that would make this exercise easier to solve. We suggested that each one of us would play a certain farmer. I suggested that we also sit in the specific places mentioned on the cards (north, south east west).

To remember the specific items assigned to me i started to imagine (a straw house next to a big grassland, a nice car next to it, a dog, etc ).

A wise tester once told me that if you can visualize how something works then you do not know it well enough to test it. And this helped me many times including this one.

As you can see here we started brainstorming and visualizing. Communication played an important role. Everybody needs to be heard and listened to feel like a part of the team. This prevents conflicts from appearing in the future.

Also every idea we had was tried and tested before we decided to implement it. (professional defect 🙂 )

After this stage we started putting one and two together. Which farmer has which house, what car, what animal and so on. But here things get tricky. The information we had was not as clear as we would have hoped. We did not know for sure what a certain farmers name was. Here we started to test our ideas, to experiment.

Let’s suppose my name is farmer X, then what would happen ?, if I had this car would we still be neighbors ? This is a time consuming and mentally challenging process. You need to keep track of your original ideas and also the ones that you are testing. Frustration and stress may rise here. Be careful how you manage it.

After about 30 minutes of work we thought we had the correct answers to the tasks. We where wrong! 🙂 About one at least, the other one was correct. Stress again. Where did we fail, which assumption was wrong and which one was correct. We started to retrace our steps. It is difficult to think about another solution once you already found one. People started to get quiet, ideas were starting to run out. This was our sink or swim moment. Fortunately we said: “Let’s see what we know for sure” and start from there. It did help that we had known which task we solved because it gave us another clue. And we started again with the experimenting. Another grueling 15 minutes later we managed to answer the tasks.

It is interesting how a game designed to improve team communication can also train other areas as well. Experimenting, visualization, backtracking, critical thinking and more. It was a refreshing activity where as a team we joined together and solved a difficult trial. Our abilities where put to the test and we passed! 🙂

It was a very nice meetup with tester friends where we improved and honed our abilities while having fun. Well we also got stressed and frustrated , but in a fun way.

We also got a sneak preview about the next game that could come up at the next soft skills meetup: “Re-zoom”.

When Andrei explained to us the rules we decided to run and go drinking, it was mind boggling :).

I am glad I attended and recommend to any of you interested to come. The information, the games or the people, they are all great !

PS: This game was first saw at RTC2019 at a workshop held by Dan Ashby.

Celebrating 5 years of “Tabara de Testare” Bucuresti

If you check our meetup on November 9 we had set up our “usual” second Thursday of the month meetup just that it wasn’t usual at all… We celebrated 5 years of monthly meetups at Tabara de testare Bucuresti!!!

On the agenda for that evening we had the overview of the presentations/workshops we had during 2017 but this time we also prepared an overview of the previous years and afterwards we continued with the workshop on “Storytelling and communication” by Stefan Bratosin.

I’m going to start with Stefan’s workshop first because the 5 years part needs to be saved for last like all the good things.

Stefan’s workshop was inspired by some improvisation classes that he took and while being involved more and more in the classroom he realized how the exercises that he was doing could help other testers better communicate and be better story tellers since this is a big part of what we do.

The workshop had a lot of cool and fun exercises like:

  • The whole group had to count to 30 without anyone overlapping. The exercise was very interesting and we managed to count to 30 as a whole group(we were about 20) and without anyone overlapping. The “Aha” part of this exercise was when Stefan asked us to close our eyes and try this way to count to 30. We managed to listen and focus way better than the time we had our eyes opened and try to search each others all over the room and see who was the next one that will be going to say a number. We actually listened this time!
  • Question rally – something similar to “Whose line is it anyway” ( here is an example of the show with Whoopi Goldberg) where there were only questions. We were given a theme and we could answer only with a question. Really fun exercise in which we could see in action: open or closing questions, probing questions or rephrasing.
  • Another exercise from Stefan’s workshop showed us the difference between using “yes, and” and using “yes, but”. During the exercise we could notice that using “yes, but” was not at all constructive and at least during the exercise it was basically cutting off the conversation
  • In the story telling exercise we had to create a story and tell it as best as we could from a team of 5 volunteers point of view. It was really fun and again we could notice on how important is to listen to the other ones or things could derail quickly. An example of a story – “The New Year’s Eve “. Our team had to create a story and the main character was our friend “Georgica”. The twist of the exercise was that Stefan would point to us when we had to switch and take the role of the narrator. By the second team which tried telling the story they could notice that they have to better listen to their colleagues rather than focusing on what’s next so they can continue on what the story was all about. If you didn’t do that, in our teams story, the main character didn’t even make it to the new year’s eve party 🙂

Besides all the fun that we had during the workshop, we were reminded how important is communication and storytelling to our tester’s job so a big thank you to Stefan.

Here are some pictures from the exercises that we did:

600_466037810  600_466025894  600_466036718600_466025704-2

5 years of Tabara de Testare Bucuresti

5 years means a lot of time but as they say “time flies when you’re having fun”.

So what we wanted to do different this time from the other anniversary editions is to try and summarise all the years, basically a trip down memory lane.

For me personally were the best slides I’ve worked on so far for the anniversary editions. It let me remember how we started, how many people helped us start, what we did these past years and of course how many we accomplished, in the end showing that we are truly a community of software testers and that without the people in it, we wouldn’t have anything.

Was really challenging to summarise all of the above (and many more) so we tried our best to do it through an infographic:

atdt statistics

As you could see in the infographic there were 71 meetups in 60 months and we wanted to showcase the meetups in each year and for this we created gifs with pictures from them and verbally mention some of them since there were a lot to go through.













We couldn’t celebrate 5 years of Tabara de Testare Bucuresti without our traditional “Cartoon Tester” special cake . Here is also a big thank you for our supporters of this edition: ING Romania and QTeam Software Solutions which helped us with the cake and snacks/beverages.



What’s next?

That’s a really good question!!! I remember 5 years ago when we started having the meetups I was thinking: ”let’s start it and see where it goes”. Oh well, it went very good, so for the next 5 years I expect even more amazing things, even more cooler meetups, more international speakers, more people being content owners, more workshops during the years and the list could continue.

Not sure what’s next or could say specific how is going to be in the next 5 years, but I certainly know it’s going to be awesome since YOU ARE “TABARA DE TESTARE”!!! and knowing the amazing people that are members of this community there is no other way than an even greater journey in the years to come.

See you at the 10 years anniversary edition,

Andrei Pirvulescu

Cautam Content Owners pentru Tabara de Toamna – Editia Nr. 5

Esti Software Tester sau lucrezi intr-un domeniu conex? Iti doresti sa impartasesti altora din cunostintele tale? Atunci nu mai sta pe ganduri: Sustine un workshop in cadrul Taberei de Toamna!

Indiferent daca ai livrat deja numeroase sesiuni practice ori abia acum te familiarizezi cu vorbitul in public, aici poti sa te perfectionezi in continuare. Vei avea sustinerea noastra in pregatirea atelierului, precum si feedback, pentru a te prezenta cu o varianta imbunatatita la alte evenimente nationale si internationale.

Asemeni editiilor precedente, incurajam o abordare hands-on si te invitam sa participi la un experiment inedit, pe durata unui weekend prelungit.

De ce? Pentru ca editia 2017 sta sub semnul experimentarii cu diverse metode, abordari sau instrumente, intr-un cadru safe, care incurajeaza schimbul de experienta si invatarea continua, fara constrangerile unui produs anume ori a unui mediu de lucru specific.

Daca doresti sa ni te alaturi, completeaza acest formular si trimite-ne intre 01.09. si 10.09. propunerea ta pentru un atelier.

Hai cu noi in Tabara:

  • De ce? –  pentru “Experimente si Experiente”
  • Cand?   –  26.10. – 29.10.2017
  • Unde?   –  Hotel Silva, Busteni

Ne vedem acolo,

Facilitatorii TdT

Aici gasesti versiunea in limba engleza.