First Liverpool STC – done & dusted


The complete write can be found here. This post is focussed on what I took from the meetup & how I can learn from it.
So my first attempt at a geek night is complete, but as for how it went I’m not sure I have an answer. 8 people showed up, so that’s a good start!The idea behind the night was the see one, do one, teach one concept – I’ve Learnt about exploratory testing, I’m trying to practice it & now its time to try & explain it to others!


The purpose of the dojo was to highlight the fact that software development teams don’t need full & complete documentation in order commence testing. I tried to prove this by giving a high level overview of exploratory testing (as I understand it), the use of heuristics & how we could apply heuristics to test the Delorean time machine.

I shoehorned some testing techniques/criteria from other heuristics into my own heuristic, created especially for the purposes of the dojo – the MARTY heuristic:
  • Maintainability
  • Automation
  • Risk
  • Time & Date
  • Your Brain (thanks to Joe Strazzere for the prompt reply on the STC request!

Key takeaways for me were:
  • Arranging a geek night is hard & time consuming
  • Not having a ‘big name’ attending means the night isn’t going to sell itself
  • People who did attend actually wanted to be there so provided great input
  • I need to know my material better – help overcome my nerves.
  • I need to stop saying “errm”
  • I need to send a link to the write up to all the people who didn’t attend so they can see what the night was about – might entice them to the next one!

For me, the night was a success. The group were great at providing input into the dojo & I hope that was a reflection on my preparation & delivery of the presentation.

After laying down the challenge, I only needed to give a few more pointers to get the dojo flowing. One or two brave members put their ideas forward, setting the expected standard, & after that everyone knew where they stood & how to proceed.

Discussion around the post-its after ideas dried up was good & people could see where I was coming from. Certainly the ideas fitted with the heuristic I had knocked up.

Hopefully the overview I have given them on exploratory testing is enough to enable to them to investigate it further & hopefully look to implement it where applicable.

What would I do differently? I think I have my head around the big picture enough of exploratory testing to do it myself, but I struggled to go that bit further & help others understand it. I need to work on this. 

I need to be able to fluently talk about the topic without notes. The annoying thing is, although I know the topic, my thoughts are not logical enough to talk about the topic yet. They would come out as a confusing diatribe!

Not associating any blame, but having a family does make preparing for an event (albeit software & running) trickier. The girls haven’t been well this week, so sleep has been patchy & its all contributed to me being slightly less focussed than I could have been. This said – I wouldn’t change this week, & if it came to it I would have been happy to cancel the meetup if I didn’t feel I was up to it.

So, all in all, attempt  #1 wasn’t so bad – I can only improve! I’ve been approached to do the same dojo again, so I can take some valuable lessons learned and make it better!

I really hope the others enjoyed it as much as I did.

Slides form the night can be found here.
Here are the videos of the night – I’d really appreciate some feedback on the delivery & content of the presentation as well as my understanding of exploratory testing

Introduction & dojo set up



Dojo in progress – some of the ideas generated by the group (apologies for the ratio – i’ll sort it when I get more time)



UPDATE – feedback from an attendee! (Massive Thanks!)
  • Even though I thought I was keeping it high level, I was still using jargon & buzzwords – need to stop that!
  • I need to relax – slow down on my delivery & be prepared to accept questions mid presentation – need to be more confident about my topic!
  • Be clearer on what expected goal of the session is – identify what I expect the attendees to do
  • Don’t make assumptions – I assumed that people would be familiar with the concept of writing down notes on post-its. Luckily this attendee was familiar with Sharpies & post-its so was able to get the ball rolling!