Saturday, October 10, 2009

Are you a good note taker? Experience Report of WT 11

Date: 10th October 2009
Time: 3pm – 5pm IST

Session details:
Download link: Source Forge
Lecture: CSTER
Reference: Wikipedia

Mission: LISTEN to the lecture and Prepare the notes from the lecture.
Deliverable: The notes must be exported to a pdf file using Notalon application.

The best note-taker would be judged on the following parameters:
1. Content - Lecture Content
2. Easy to read notes.
3. Good usage of Notalon features.

Duration: 1hour.

We started the testing session at 3pm sharp.
The video being a short video of 6 minutes helped the testers to play it again and again.

Some testers were not clear with the mission. And they questioned till they got enough information to meet the mission. It was good to see testers question. Questioning is a very important skill and such exercises help the testers improve their questioning skills.

While some testers had questions related to the mission, some had questions totally irrelevant to the mission. Focusing on the mission is important and sometimes testers can get distracted by other interesting parameters of the testing activity.
Once all the participants emailed their report, the entire list of reports was then sent to everyone.

About the session, Sushant summed it up in one sentence:
“Testers had to take help of all the senses”.

Poulami started the discussion. She was very new to these kinds of exercises. The entire mission of listening to a lecture, take notes with the help of a new application, was in itself a big challenge to her. She took up this challenge and enjoyed multitasking.

She felt such exercises would help hone her multitasking skills. One more important point highlighted by Poulami was her increased concentration levels to help note taking. When asked if she would have concentrated so much if she was listening to the lecture alone, she replied in the negative. She learnt the importance of being detail oriented and at the same time look at the bigger picture.

Sushant was one of those testers who thoroughly enjoyed this session. He felt that such exercises would help testers improve their listening skills and to comprehend a lecture. He was happy that such exercises break the monotony of office activity. He highlighted the importance of filtering out the most important points in a lecture and reducing it to a couple of statements.

Next, Karan described his experience. As he was not clear with the mission, he questioned to get a clear idea of the mission. He gave more importance to listening to the lecture and just jotted down what was present in the slides. According to him, these kinds of exercises help to beat the boredom. Interesting point to note in his description was this exercise increased his self- confidence.

It is always good to know that such testing sessions help testers who are so busy doing testing that they do not learn anything new.
Karan felt that the biggest learning for him was to be smart in doing things and not get afraid by the mission or the application.

Bhargavi was next and shared an interesting point. She was trying to understand the relation between the three links: Application, Lecture and the Reference. The only challenge for her was to manage the entire activity and being late to the session did not help her cause. She promised to try this exercise again and share her experiences.

Regarding the mission for this session, she liked it and was of the opinion that such exercises would definitely make a difference in the careers of the testers. Her learning was to join session at right time :) She appreciated the ability to learn and use the Notalon application quickly.

Most of the testers promised to use Notalon application instead of Notepad. The feature to export to pdf is cool. We also discussed if anyone used the Preferences menu to change the pdf settings.

It was my turn to share my experiences. I felt very happy completing this whole exercise. I made use of the borders and fonts feature to improve the overall look of the pdf document. My approach was to pay attention to the video and simultaneously take notes in one shot without pausing the video.

Once I finished one round of video, I played it again and again to hunt for missing ideas/words. Playing the video five times helped me to frame my notes better. Please find my test report here.

I felt that if we could make our own notes for all such testing videos,
we could learn a lot than just listening to the videos.
Bhargavi and Karan agreed on that point.

And regarding best note taker of the day, Sushant won the title with his excellent summary of the entire lecture in addition to detailed notes.

With a happy learning session, everyone is looking forward to WT12.
Meet you next weekend :)


Dhanasekar S said...

That's an interesting session,missed due to power failure.Looking forward for BWT 12,any diwali special on Session 12 :-)
Dhanasekar S

Cem Kaner said...

I am flattered that you would spend an entire hour trying to work through a 6 minute lecture of mine. But if you're going to spend a session on one of the BBST series, you might want to coordinate with me so that I can be available during your session to answer questions and (if you want) participate in arguments about the content.

You might also find the later lectures more interesting. Consider this example. I'm not sure if this would fit well enough with your structure, but imagine a 3-session series:
(a) specification-based testing
(b) test/familiarize yourself with MindManager (a concept mapping tool, available for free trial use for 14 or 21 days), perhaps in contrast with one of the free tools
(c) grab a specification of some product, use the concept mapping tool to analyze the specification into Bach's heuristic test strategy model. This is a useful strategy for developing a specification-based checklist for testing and for exposing holes and contradictions in the specification.