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Testing Puzzles 2.0

Testing Puzzles are games that highlight a particular aspect of software testing - skills, biases, context awareness, etc. They can be physical objects, logic puzzles or an application with unintended and interesting behaviors that are solved in specific circumstances and usually with a facilitator to guide and answer questions. As testing is usually about problem solving then puzzles are a great tool of preparing testers for situations to come in real life. But puzzles can be frustrating to solve, feel like gimmicks - a way for facilitator to boost their ego, feeling superior as they know the solution.

This tutorial will be a combination of (small) group discussion and hands on puzzle solving / facilitation / observing with role reversal.  First, we'll take a hard look at some the puzzles we know, discuss their benefits and common pitfalls and thus create a map for finding good ones for different testing situations. Then breaking into smaller groups we'll facilitate, solve and observe different types of puzzles and as a group analyze common patterns. With the help of good notes from observers we'll collate a list of suggestions for shaping the experience of puzzle solving into a creative endeavour rather than a frustrating one. So in the end we should have a solid understanding of what kind of things can we teach with puzzles and how to go about it. 

Key takeaways:

  • Discovery of some ways to make learning fun and engaging
  • Practice facilitation of puzzles and some tips&tricks for it
  • Practice observing testers for giving good feedback 
  • New puzzles to use for teaching testers


Preconditions: have good understanding of testing and some experience in coaching testers - from new colleagues to full classroom.