About a month ago I threw out a black-belt testing challenge. This one was a little bit more involved than tests in the pasts - I designed it to both take a little more work to do, and more work to get involved in.
Instead of a simple "here's a salt shaker -- test it!" listed on the blog, I asked the participants to email me. That meant the first test was itself a test of initiative.
The next test was on of commitment; readers had to watch a one hour video that introduced a piece of software and offered a test strategy. Then they needed to critique that test strategy and invent their own. Then, over email, they had to defend it.
It was not an easy test; I asked the readers to defend their techniques.
Now, my colleague Chris McMahon has said that there are many wrong ways to test software, and nearly as many "right" ones, and he's correct. I believe test strategy is much more often a question of better or worse than right and wrong. I do not expect participants to come to the same answer as me; I am more concerned that the strategy they use be capable of (A) Rapid Assessment, (B) Finding a large set of categories of bugs, and (C) that they stand behind it as personally responsible professionals.
Now, some people don't want to invest two or three hours in a test strategy that isn't real. Others don't feel they need to 'prove' anything, and that's fine. I've had several inquiries that didn't finish the process either, and there's nothing wrong with that.
At the same time, we just had our first challenger stand up, define a strategy and defend it well. If you don't know Markus Gaertner, you might want to get to know him. He has some fine ideas.
And, if you think you've got what it takes to wear the black-belt - or, you don't, you just want to get some free testing training from old man Heusser, feel free to email me: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com.
The test is still open. There's time for one more. Will it be you?
Schedule and Events
March 26-29, 2012, Software Test Professionals Conference, New Orleans
July, 14-15, 2012 - Test Coach Camp, San Jose, California
July, 16-18, 2012 - Conference for the Association for Software Testing (CAST 2012), San Jose, California
August 2012+ - At Liberty; available. Contact me by email: Matt.Heusser@gmail.com