Archive for the ‘Weekend Testing’ Category

Transpection Explored

6 December, 2010



I had a great learning experience last night.  Those of you who were at the European Weekend Testers session or who have read my write-up of the session (here) will know that I attempted a technique called Transpection which I had read about previously at

I was not very happy with my attempt: it just did not feel right.  One of the great things about Weekend Testing sessions is that you can try new things in an environment where it does not really matter and everything becomes part of the learning process.

I decided to solicit the help and advice of James Bach to see where I went wrong and understand what I should have been doing so contacted him on Skype.  He readily agreed to help me and demonstrate Transpection for me.  I am publishing the full transcript of that Skype session (see link above) at James’ suggestion because we think it will be of help to other testers.

I have only lightly edited the transcript to put some of the statements into paragraphs to aid readability but the content is all there for you to see.  You will see my own learning process through this and hopefully, for those that want to know more about the technique, understand this really useful aid better.  You will even see where I mistakenly thought James was trying to bring proceedings to a close!

I would like to thank James for his time yesterday evening and for supporting me in this quest.

Feel free to make comments or ask me any questions…


European Weekend Testing – 4 December 2010

4 December, 2010

Due to various commitments over recent months I have not been as regular an attendee at the Weekend Testing sessions as I would have liked.  However the session this afternoon was a great one to come back on.

Our mission was to devise a ‘cheat sheet’ to be used by Helpdesk staff to help them improve the quality of their defect reports.  A lot of questions were asked to clarify what the problems were at the moment, what sort of environments the Helpdesk staff had available to them, whether there were any language issues to be considered, etc.

Ajay Balamurugadas ( and suggested working on this in teams and I had the pleasure of working with him during the course of the afternoon.  We quickly got down to drafting our cheat sheet, starting off by each typing our ideas for what should go into the sheet using a brilliant tool which I had not seen before,, which allowed us to both work on the same document and see what each of us was doing in realtime.

Ajay asked me to note down the sort of information that I would ask for if he called me for technical support.  My answers spurred us both on and we became much more productive in thinking up the things that would need to go onto the cheat sheet.  Similarly I asked Ajay about how he deals with severity.  In some ways our conversation reminded me of James Bach and Michael Bolton’s work on Transpection ( which is a technique I am trying to master.  I really need more practice…

We categorised and smartened up the cheat sheet and Ajay prepared it all as a PDF that we could share with the other weekend testers.

Following this we had the de-briefing session which, as always, was as informative – if not more so – than the actual mission itself.  I find I learn so much from hearing about how others have tackled problems and finding out how they have put their knowledge of the testing craft to good use.   We had all taken slightly different approaches depending on how we each viewed the audience and what they were trying to do.  Ajay and I had focussed on the Helpdesk staff writing bug reports but others had concentrated on helping the Helpdesk staff get the right information out of the customer in the first place.

The whole session was really enjoyable.  “Thank you” to Anna Baik for facilitating the session and to all the contributors for their help during the afternoon.  I look forward to joining future sessions as time and circumstances permit.