Black Ops Testing Workshop – Out of the Shadows

On Friday, I attended the rather fantastic Black Ops Testing workshop run by Alan Richardson, James Lyndsey, Steve GreenTony Bruce.

Like any respective course attendee, I feel I should write about my experience, but without giving too much away…


The first thing I liked about the course was the diverse view of testing the four instructors give to a testing challenge.

I was curious to see how the workshop would be balanced between the four instructors – for me, it worked really well. A lightening talk from each helped us understand their perspective. This in turn helped us recognise who we could relate to & who would be able to help us fill in our knowledge gaps. As the workshop progressed, the instructors mingled with the group, throwing their ideas in to the pot to give us another avenues to explore.

The majority of the day was spent testing (brilliant!). Each session of testing introduced a new focus on how to test the app. These sessions included an introduction to the app, testing below the UI, testing as a user & finally some specific challenges to get us to explore in those dark corners we’d missed in the previous sessions.

Each session was followed up with a debrief where each group shared what they had learned. This was really interesting (& sometimes painful) as the other groups described ideas & techniques which I completely missed. The relatively fast feedback between each session really helped to chunk my learning, as opposed to potentially more diluted feedback at the end of the day.

I really enjoyed myself – largely because of the amount & type of testing we could get our teeth into, but also because of the environment the instructors had created; It was definitely a safe place to fail & learn from those failures.

Would I recommend this workshop to another Tester? Hell Yeah! The years of accumulated knowledge, not just from the instructors, but also the attendees all lead to a fantastically rich & safe learning environment. It’s great to be around so much knowledge & wisdom to help you realise how much you don’t know.

Of course I need to mention the venue – Skills Matter are experienced in hosting courses & this was no exception. Plenty of coffee & sugary treats alongside some delicious sausage muffins & baguettes kept us going through the day.

To all the instructors & attendees – thank you for such a great day & keep up the great work!