What are you favorite testing games?

I learned Headline News from Elisabeth Hendrickson many years ago, and it has since become one of my favorite games. The idea is to dream up headlines involving your application or feature which you really do not want to ever see, the more dramatic the better. For example: Chief Executive Impeached After Faulty Security Allows Millions To Read Her Snarky Comments About World Leaders. I find playing this game to be a fun way to identify the risks and issues about which my product team cares most.

Another game I quite enjoy is Why Would Anyone Do That?, which I find to be useful in uncovering hidden assumptions I have about my product. To play this game, pick some random statement, requirement, or fact about your product. For example: The Xygon234 cell phone will be powered by a standard BLL battery cell. Now spiff on that requirement to an extreme and consider the ramifications. For example: What if the customer removes the battery while the phone is in use? What if the customer leaves the battery in its charger for two solid months ? What if the customer leaves the battery out of the phone for two solid months and thus depletes the phone's backup battery? I find discussing why someone might do "that" to be useful even if we ultimately decide that no one ever will do "that".

A third game I like to play is Hit The Widget With A Hammer. If your product involves hardware, this might involve an actual hammer. More typically, however, it involves a (programmatic or manual) loop that hammers one particular input to your program hard. This might mean clicking a button thousands of times in quick succession, blasting millions of values through a particular API, or repeatedly setting and unsetting a particular configuration value. I find areas that fall over when I hammer them often also fall over when I use them more gently.

These are a few of the games I use to help me jump start my testing. What games do you play? Let me know!

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