"I don't just play games all day trying to break things!"

Hi again, Nina here!

Recently we completed a move from Hack n Plan to Jira. Anyone who has used Jira before knows it can be a bit of a beast to wrangle! On previous projects I used Jira, and felt confident enough to lead the team through this change. In addition to moving to Jira, I hoped to move my test cases into Xray, a plugin for Jira. All this meant learning a lot of new skills (and a lot of Googling)!

Before the move, I began reading “Modern Game Testing: A Pragmatic Guide to Test Planning and Strategy” by Chris Howell. It’s a fantastically informative book.  A lot of what I know about testing, I wasn’t really taught. Chris’s book gave me words to put to the things I was doing and taught me other ways of testing - primarily about test input reduction. Test input reduction allows me to test less, but with the same confidence - and time is super important for such a small team! One other area I identified as taking a lot of my time was how my tests were organised. On past projects I used documents but it got messy quickly. Coming into Beyond These Stars I decided to use spreadsheets. These were great to begin with. As the game grew, my list of tests did too - and sometimes things double upped. Another issue with my old method was if I were to re-test something I would remove old data. Finally, it all just took so much time!

Moving to Jira, I worked with our Producer, Sarah, to set up the project. I set up workflows and  screens and all sorts of different things. I gave the team a crash course on Jira, and wrote a document to help them with some basics. I had never done these things before, but with time and Google, we got there. Moving tickets from Hack n Plan we did manually - there are ways to import between the two but I wanted to ensure tickets were set up appropriately and it gave me an opportunity to filter out any fixed or no longer occurring issues. 

After the move, I got to work on setting up Xray. I’ve never worked with Xray before, so it was super intimidating! I knew what some things were, like the Test Repository and Test Plans, but I wasn’t sure what the rest of it quite was! 

Xray also has something called “Cucumber”.  I think  these messages between Sam and I can sum it up! Confused? So am I! Maybe one day I’ll write you a blog telling you about Cucumber and Gherkin - but today isn’t that day.

I got to work on test analysis, or at least I tried. My brain thought of everything in the game - a city builder is not a simple game! Unsure where to start, Sam’s words rang in my head “If it's your job to eat a frog, it's best to do it first thing in the morning. And If it's your job to eat two frogs, it's best to eat the biggest one first.”  (Eat The Frog method). Everything felt like a frog. Eventually I picked a place and began. 

Being a test team of myself and Anna (when she’s not busy of course!), I can’t spend too much time planning - I need to execute the plans too! After all, that’s what my move to Xray is for - saving time. One thing I really like about Xray is being able to see where things are failing. This helps find patterns:

Finally, just a small sample of the amount of things that get caught in development: 

In conclusion, and in contrast to a common perception of QA, I don't just sit playing the game all day trying to break things randomly! Every sprint I’m working to refine my tests, taking what I learnt from Chris and applying them in different scenarios. It’s been a lot of fun, but reminds me just how much there is to QA - and how much more I have to learn.