Test Away – Through My Eyes
It all started with a casual discussion over the snacks post The Test Tribe meeting. Few tribals including me were discussing how cool it would be to plan an outing for the Test Tribe Members.
The day was not far. I realized “Dreams do become reality” when this one of a kind flagship event of “TestAway” was announced as a part of The Test Tribe one-year celebrations with the community reaching around 1500 members in such a short span. The destination of the
This was an invite-only program where only selected 15 passionate testers were to be invited
I did have double thoughts when I came to know it was not for free and we had to shell out from our pockets. Seeing the amazing lineup of topics and activities of TestAway helped me erase the concerns of money over the only chance to rediscover myself as a tester.
Finally, the names of the attendees were out. I felt happy to be on the list. I thanked God for this very chance and took an oath to make the most of this opportunity.
TestAway came in a nice way and at the right time to me. The beauty of community, learning
Day One – Bring it On
Thursday, 7th March 2019 – The day had finally arrived. Set with all the packing, I caught my flight to Goa – the land of beaches, sun, cool breeze and coconut trees.
Waited for fellow attendees to join me at Dabolim Airport and the fire lit instantly. In no time we were discussing Testing over some quick bites. That’s when I realized I am here for serious learning.
Sandeep Garg the Master of Note making, Rahul Singh the Gamer Boy, Arokya Samy the entrepreneur, Sharath Kumaraswamy the Aerospace Drone Guy, Arjun BM the Micro-Community Builder joined me on the journey to our Test Away destination “Ziva Villa” by Villa De Goa a private luxury villa in the Candolim, North Goa.
The Test Away Flag flew high on top of our villa and I knew our organizer’s Mahesh Chikane, Founder The Test Tribe and Niraj Yadav, Event Manager for TestAway had made sure all arrangements were in place before our arrival.
As soon as rest of the testers reached the venue, introductory conversations erupted. We felt like one family, one team there on a common mission to create an impact in the testing world. Ajay Balamurugadas, Wizard of Testing took center stage in leading the war cry – How is the Josh? So loud was the “Josh” I am sure must have reached 3 villas far away 😛
Collecting our swags, we freshened and headed for lunch. Resetting ourselves we jumped on to our first interesting activity “Gamifying Testing”. It was an interesting game based on the principle of minute observation and test of memory.
Though the rules were pretty simple
This was followed by another interesting game wherein we had to guess which Product or Company a person might be thinking by asking only five specific questions. This was difficult where none of the teams were able to crack out completely. But we surely enjoyed every bit of it and improved on asking intelligent questions round after round to eventually crack the strategy.
After this amazing fun activity we sat down for a Tester’s Roundtable where we discussed on the “State of Testing – What wrong we have done and how we can Improve”. The roundup was concluded with pain areas identified and solution on how to overcome them.
Now, this didn’t end here. We were introduced to a superb strategy game called the “Mafia” – modeling a conflict between two groups – the mafia and the villager. At the start of the game, each player is secretly assigned a role affiliated with one of these teams. The game has two alternating phases: one, during which the mafia may covertly “murder” a villager, and two, in which surviving players debate the identities of the mafia and vote to eliminate a suspect.
The game continues until all the mafia have been eliminated or until the mafia outnumbers the villagers. So addicted where we to this game that this has lived in our hearts even after TestAway. We did pledge to play this game sometime when we meet again.
Day Two – I want More
Friday, 8th March 2019 – With all excitement we kicked off our day with Aqua Zumba. Disha Reddy was fabulous in making us move our hips in the Swimming pool. It was nice fun to have all the guys splash and jump in the pool for
After a yummy breakfast, we went on to attend a workshop on “How to Test anything faster and better” by our testing Guru Ajay. Ajay enlightened us on techniques of how to set the right strategy and mission. Tips on how to make your brain an idea generator and a thinker rather than a storage device.
He encouraged us to get out of our comfort zone, do things differently, take every opportunity as it comes. He ended his session with a beautiful quote saying, “Testing is a goal for life, is a way of life”.
Breathe Testing. Enjoy Testing. Life is Short.
Ajay also introduced us to two great games.
Second, Ultimate tic-tac-toe a board game composed of nine tic-tac-toe boards arranged in a 3-by-3 grid. Players take turns playing in the smaller tic-tac-toe boards until one of them wins in the larger tic-tac-toe board. Compared to the traditional tic-tac-toe, strategy required in this game is conceptually more difficult and challenging.
We then went to play War of Cards with a superbly crafted deck of Test Sphere that gets testers thinking and talking about their testing. Testers brainstorm, coach, share knowledge and experiences on the concepts mentioned on a card randomly pulled out. The Team which gives the best explanation wins.
Siquerim beach walk
After Tea, we headed straight to the Coco and Sinquerim beach to enjoy the cool breeze, waves and sand. A walk I will cherish all my life making our bond of friendship even stronger. With a bunch of crazy clicks and our war cry shout, we headed back to our villa.
Post dinner, we continued to play our favorite “Mafia” game and later on testers utilized the rest of the evening for 1:1 mentoring and discussing great Testing ideas.
Day 3 – Just Can’t Get Enough
Saturday, 9th March 2019 – All charged for a bright new day we headed to Chapora Fort also called as the “Dil Chahta Hai” Fort on our bikes. Riding through the lanes of Goa, passing by colorful vintage Goani houses it was all nostalgiac stuff. We sat down and just soaked in the view and place for an hour before returning safe and sound to our villa.
Today we had another workshop on Storytelling (Less Talk more exercise again by Ajay). We discussed on how to write effective testing stories and open our mind to think of NLQ –NEXT LOGICAL QUESTION and be ready with the answers for it.
Another workshop was on “Design Thinking” by Sandeep where he threw light on the solution based approach of solving problems. His insights gave a new meaning on tackling complex problems by understanding human needs, reframing the problem in
Each one of us then went on to present their own Audience curated story. Which resulted in coining Manjunath Batti as the “This Guy”, Savita Patil narrating a fairy tale love story and Trina Acharya stunned with the outcome of it all.
Evening was time to be merry. We headed for candle light dinner to Mama Cecelia’s Beach Café – a shack on the Candolim Beach front and had good laughs over lighter talks and jokes that evening. Sharath stole the evening that day with his standup comedy. We all just couldn’t stop laughing. The day ended with our ritual a game of “Mafia”.
Day 4 – Saying Goodbyes are Hard
Sunday, 10th March 2019 – After a nice breakfast. We wrapped up the TestAway Learning Experience with Mahesh and Niraj gifting us certificates and memento to take home with us.
I literally felt nostalgic writing the final testimonial and deep within my heart wished to have the next TestAway soon. As I complete this I will miss those conversations, the fun, the learning, the Mafia which Priyabrata Das, tried to capture in his photography. Silent Girl Anita Gujrati was no more silent, the spark of knowledge had ignited not just her but us all. I certainly admit “These
Associate Engineering Manager | Cornerstone OnDemand