Sunday, 13 February 2011

WT53 - What am I bid for this tester ?

Saturday morning and I fired up my laptop whilst watching Soccer AM and noticed a tweet from @weekendtesting that WT53 was about to start with @jbtestpilot aka Jon Bach.

Couldn't turn down the chance for some testing with the QA director of Ebay so I joined the session and had a blast.

Jon had set the session up to be 4 mini-missions all of which involved using the Ebay site.

First mission I attempted was to find the search term that gave the greatest number of results. First thought was to try wildcards but no, the site insisted on a couple of characters before any wildcards. So what letters would start or be used in the most words. Maybe 'mo' to match 'mobiles', 'motors', 'mothers'...

I started to learn how the site worked, typing one letter and the dropdown would start to offer suggestions so I tried different letters and tried to work out if the categories offered might lead to lots of hits.

'ca*' gave me 18 million results which for a while was one of the top results, 'co*' gave 21 million. With more time maybe a quick automated script to loop round valid 2 char combinations...

Second mission was to find the most expensive item. Could have been very simple if the search by price option didn't insist on having a category. Other people in the session had heard of a yacht being sold by Roman Abramovich for 168 million. This was no longer on there so did not count.

How to find the most expensive item currently on there ? I thought of items that are usually expensive - diamonds, yachts, cars. Some of these led to items on sale for 21 million and also a surprise. I was thinking of physical items but there were domain names for sale for 21 million. That was a good testing lesson.

Then I thought about houses and real estate, sure enough there were some on there, firstly a villa in Spain for 28 million and then a 5 star hotel on Sicily for 38 million.

One mission I did not attempt was to find the most bizarre item for sale. I didn't attempt it for 2 reasons:

1) One mans perversion is another mans pleasure so what I might consider bizarre might seem mainstream to another

2) Once I started looking then I knew I'd get sucked in and be there all day

Fourth mission was to do a Ebay whack and find a search term that only returned 1 result. Initially I thought this was easy - find an item and type in it's entire description. Jon told me that it had to be 2 words only. It still wasn't too difficult, find a search term that didn't return many results and use the results from that.

For example when searching for hotels doing my 'most expensive' search there were results returned for hotel souvenirs. So using a search such as "69 sheraton" gave me 1 result back and an Ebay whack.

Afterwards it was the debrief. Jon explained that the theory behind this and it was Open Book Testing and he was using it to get new testers up to speed quickly. Shrini and I both thought it would also be a useful addition to tester interviews.

As you can tell by reading this blog, it really is a useful guide into the thinking process that is going on when someone is trying to run some tests.

More details of the Open Book Testing approach can be found in this paper by Jon here

It was a fun session, I now seem to be getting a small addiction to surfing Ebay to find what is on there and it was yet another success for Weekend Testing

1 comment:

eYoK said...
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