A Bug Bash By Any Other Name...

In my last blog, I set the scene for this blog post. The TLDR is I was going to be running my first bug bash with a new team and I’d never run one before.

Is It Really a Bug Bash?

Throughout the conversations we’d had so far, one thing constantly jumped out to me. We were calling it a bug bash but the goal of it wasn’t really to find bugs. Was it?

I decided to put the question to the test team.

Hugh suggested “If you call it a bug bash then I would say it is. If you call it something else then it would/could have wider goals.”

Rob followed up with “The goal is to learn and gain a common understanding of what we’re delivering. Part of it is getting to know the feature. Ideally we shouldn’t find many bugs.”

A Bug Bash By Any Other Name

So, what should we call it instead?

I really liked the idea of calling it a treasure hunt. It felt like a much less aggressive term than “bash” but I was worried that people wouldn’t take it/me seriously if I called it that and I was already nervous about hosting one so that was off the table (for now).

Hugh said that the team had been calling them exploratory testing sessions recently. This felt like a good fit because the goal was to explore and uncover information. If this was a term that people outside of engineering had grown familiar with, they may be more likely to join which would be amazing.

Proposing a Name Change

In the second pairing session I had with Luisa, I proposed the name change. I suggested that if the goal wasn’t to find bugs and people joined the session with “bugs” in the title and found no bugs, they may feel like they didn’t help us achieve our goal and not want to attend again.

The great thing about my new team is that they’re willing to experiment (they have a session once every two weeks to try experiments! More on that later) and so, the name of the session was changed from bug bash to “exploratory testing session”. Amazingly, as soon as that change happened, 2 people who had RSVP’d no changed to a yes!

Was it a coincidence? Was it the name change? I think I’ll have to try treasure hunt the next time to see!

In an effort to keep my blogs shorter, I’ve split this story into 3 parts. Read part 1 and part 3.