Photo by Ana Municio / Unsplash

Questions, Questions

Outlines Nov 18, 2021
this is an abstract for a half-day conference tutorial. If it feels unfinished, that's because it is. I've submitted it to a conference, and I'll polish it here. I'll add it to GitHub, too, so that I (and you) can track changes,

This interactive workshop will help you ask the right testing questions, of the right people, at the right time.

We will identify questions that have been useful to participants.

From those questions, we will recognise types of questions, the contexts in which you might use them, and the people you might ask.

We will look more closely at types which catch the attention of the group. Examples could include:

  • questions which give you context for new work
  • questions which confirm (or refute) an existing model
  • questions which reveal underlying values and fears
  • questions you should should be able to answer, as a tester

We will look into ways to adjust questions for more specificity, or to allow greater freedom in the answer, to help the person being questioned, or to act as links in a chain. We'll look at ways we can use questions poorly: oaded and leading questions, questions designed to trick or trip, questions which go over the same ground, and other antipatterns.

Finally, we will spend time on when to stop asking, how to process information, and what and who to ask next (especially if the "who" is the system under test).

The presenter will share their lists of questions, built over several years consulting, and the purposes and audiences that the lists fit.


Use at work

  • use the patterns described to bring structure and depth to their own questions
  • see their typical approaches, and improve
  • use the techniques to obtain more useful information, more swiftly and more willingly

Takeaways

  • Ask more purposeful and focussed questions
  • See the patterns, gaps and opportunities in one's own questions
  • Know how to stop, and what to do next.
Next steps for James – more examples, more content, less repetition

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