I found it!

PART 3 – of a short series around creative thinking and testing

Part 1 – Boosting your creative thinking 
Part 2 – Where did my creativity go?

There it was. Monday, the day before the workshop and an entire day of work meetings and fire fighting before I could put my workshop together. There would be no room for pondering any ideas during the day.  Once back home I locked myself into my small working room with a pen, a paper and a laptop. I scribbled, I tinkered with some of gadgets for my exercises, I went through my stash of stuff I use for teaching, I drew some pictures for my power point presentation and put it together.  Four hours later I was satisfied with what I had come up with and I could finally go to sleep.

Notice how I did not say that I was done. I am never done but I had a good idea of how I would proceed with my workshop.  On the morning before heading to the conference I tossed down some extra stuff in my bag in case (coloring pens, paper, puzzles etc) I would have new ideas popping up in my head for my workshop.

When I got to the venue and had a look at the room for where I would run my workshop I got the shivers. The room was set up with chairs in rows all facing a huge white board where I was expected to project my presentation. This was not setup for creativity so my first job was to change the layout of the room to create a playful space.

I believe the workshop was a success. I had a lot of fun myself, came up with an exercise on the fly and enjoyed the vibe and energy in the room.

So how did I get from a void of ideas and a loss of motivation and energy to a room full of movement, talking, drawing, laughing and test idea generating? Was it magic?

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Where did my creativity go?

PART 2 – of a short series around creative thinking and testing

Part 1 – Boosting your creative thinking

With only a few days left to the workshop and a void of ideas I was starting to get slightly worried about my abilities to come up with anything. I did have a few old ideas up my sleeve but I wanted to do something new and something different. Something I hadn’t done before. I did buy some stuff online which I thought I might have use for, like empty cards to write on and some Marvel Avengers Trading Cards. I do keep a stash of things which might be of use in workshops I design.

However I was exhausted after long working days and could not find any inspiration or energy to immerse in designing my workshop. On top of this I had a company gathering coming up which would keep my weekend busy.

Part of my process is to bounce off ideas with other people. I decided to use the Open Space we created at our gathering to facilitate a discussion on creativity and testing, particularly in how people come up with test ideas. It fit very well with my colleague Carsten’s topic on “Getting creative on demand” so we decided to combine our sessions.

My main takeaways from that discussion were the following:

  • My colleagues shared following regarding how they come up with test idea:
    • Visualizing by mapping the system
    • Using personas
    • Collaborate with a colleague
    • Using the rubber duck method – talking out load
    • Using different heuristics
  • Discussion around getting creative on demand
    • You need space and time.
    • Difficult to be creative on demand.
    • You can practice to be prepared when the demand comes up
      • One colleague shared how he keeps notes of all kind of things, fragment of conversations, ideas which come up etc.
    • Learn how you get creative – your natural mode
      • Talking
      • Writing
      • Moving
      • Focus or defocus

The discussion was interesting though I didn’t discover anything which I did not know or had experienced before, except a tip on a video on creativity by John Cleese.

When coming home from the gathering I still did not have the energy to design my workshop. Our gatherings are very intense, but in a positive way.  Instead I decided to watch the  video tip and read some blog posts on creativity. That was Sunday evening and barely two days before my workshop.

On Monday I woke with a twitch. It was crystal clear why my creativity had disappeared. Understanding this, my energy came back as well as my creativity. I was ready to design my workshop!

Part 3 – I found it!

Boosting your creative thinking

PART 1 – of a short series around creative thinking and testing.

Yesterday I facilitated a workshop on creativity at a local conference Testit in Malmö. The purpose was to share some ideas of how to boost your creative thinking and some tools of how you can improve your thinking around test ideas.

Our testing is only as good as our thinking and many times we are held back by deadlines, limited time, poor communication, knowledge and pre-defined roles and responsibilities.

I have a certain process which I go through when ever I create a workshop or an exercise. Usually I start with an idea and a purpose of what I want the participants to learn. I trust my process of where I will come up with exercises which fits the purpose. This is the part which I get the most excited about, where I let my creativity flow. I play with different ideas, tools and media. I might experiment and try my ideas on colleagues and friends. I want my workshops to be interactive, fun and experiential where my work is much more about facilitating learning and creating opportunities than traditional teaching. I want my workshops to be fun. The most difficult is to balance the fun and the learning. What I mean is even though I aim for fun and play, that can’t take away the focus on the learning.

Like many times before I trusted my own process about putting my workshop together in time for the conference. I wasn’t worried, I had some ideas pondering but nothing really tangible. I knew I would come up with something. Surprisingly that didn’t happen. I realized I kept procrastinating my preparation and the day for the conference just kept coming closer and closer. I could not even force myself into designing my workshop.

My creativity was gone! What happened?!

To be continued…

Part 2 – Where did my creativity go?

Mnemonics and Heuristics

“A heuristic, is any approach to problem solving, learning, or discovery that employs a practical method not guaranteed to be optimal or perfect, but sufficient for the immediate goals.” Wikipedia

“A mnemonic device is a mind memory and/or learning aid. Mnemonics rely on associations between easy-to-remember constructs which can be related back to the data that is to be remembered.” Wikipedia.

Remember that all heuristics are fallible.

These are the mnemonics and heuristics I use the most:

RCRCRC

Regression Testing Heuristics by Karen N. Johnson
Recent, Core, Risk, Configuration, Repaired, Chronic

SFDIPOT (San Francisco Depot)

Test Strategy Heuristics by James Bach and Michael Bolton
Structure, Function, Data, Integrations, Platform, Operations, Time

CRUSSPIC STMPL Quality Characteristics Heuristics by James Bach

Capability, Reliability, Usability, Security, Scalability, Performance, Installability, Compatibility, Supportability, Testability, Maintainability, Portability, Localizability

A variation to these heuristics can be found here. I like the added Charisma-heuristic http://thetesteye.com/blog/2010/11/software-quality-characteristics-1-0/

FEW HICCUPS

Test Oracles by Michael Bolton

Familiarity, Explainability, World,  History, Image, Comparable Product, Claims, User Expectations, Product, Purpose, Standards and Statutes,

RIMGEA

Bug Advocacy Mnemonic by Cem Kaner

Replicate it, Isolate it, Maximize it, Generalize it, Externalize it, And Say it Clearly and Dispassionately

MOCHA

For asking questions in e.g an interview – by Maria Kedemo

Meta, Open, Closed, Hypothetical, Audit

 

 

Here are some more which you might find useful