Workroom Productions offers a range of focused training, covering practical areas of high value that are not typically addressed in certification-based exams. Each course involves plenty of discussion and directly relevant practical exercises; participants are challenged to be both agile and rigourous, and to find ways of directly applying the skills and insights presented. Courses are taught exclusively by James Lyndsay (although other trainers use my exercises, with permission). On-site courses will be adapted to your needs - and the "Getting a Grip" course can be customised to your system.

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Shortcuts: Exploratory testing - Techniques. Exploratory Testing - Management. Experimentation and Diagnosis. Better Data: Better Testing.


Email me for more details - jdl[at] or call me now on Skype

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Public Workshops

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Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing

Download full details of the standard 2-day workshop.

An enjoyably interactive hands-on tutorial introducing delegates to a wide variety of approaches to exploratory testing – active play, systematic exploration, modelling for success and failure, questioning, attacks and exploitations. Discussions cover ways of getting the best out of time spent exploring, good and bad choices for exploration, and approaches to managing exploration and diagnosis. Some exercises are computer-based (using Workroom Productions’ custom-built “Black Box” machines in Flash), and delegates are encouraged to download exercises before the tutorial, and bring their laptops to use or share. Use this link for examples of publicly-available black box test machines. Most suitable for people with hands-on experience of testing.

Available formats: 1-day, 2-day. Max 12 participants.

Delivered all over the world, typically as in-house corporate workshops (Nokia, Oracle, Google, Adobe, GE, many more), occasionally at conferences, and as public workshops once or twice a year.

Insights into Exploratory Testing

This interactive, hands-on workshop will let you try out and share a variety of exploratory approaches. We will build models of the systems under test, and use those models to dig into unexpected behaviours and to judge problems found. Attacks and exploitations will help us uncover surprises, and we値l look at the potential risks in target technologies.

We will use systematic exploration to parse the delivered system, contrast the ways we check expectations and chase surprises, model meaning, diagnose field reports and exploit flaws.

Each approach is presented as a disciplined framework. We値l explore each framework with hands-on software exercises which allow the user to to replay and review their testing, giving direct insight and allowing participants to share and contrast their approaches. Each exercise is designed to engage testers of all abilities, followed by structured conversations to help put the frameworks to use in the real world.

Available formats: 1-day

Delivered at: EuroSTAR 2013 (full-day tutorial), corporate clients

Bulk Testing and Visualisation

Learn how (and why) to generate thousands of dull tests, and discover ways that you can illustrate and interpret their outcomes.

Sometimes, we explore a system using vast numbers of tiny tests, identifying potential problems by recognising trends and oddities in the results.

In this workshop, you値l design bulk tests, and build them using tools you already own. Applying your tests to specially-built software exercises, you値l map some of your measurements to pictures that reveal overall system behaviours. When you致e seen trends and picked out the oddities, you値l return to your collection of bulk tests to redesign and dig into surprises.

You値l work through the exercises in small groups, with guidance from the workshop leader. He値l help you find ways to design your tests to span ranges, break boundaries and iterate towards trouble. He値l show you how to use easy-access tools to visualise your test results and give you techniques to help you analyse your pictures. We値l talk about which aspects of a system respond well to this approach, and which won稚, and you値l get familiar with different visualisations, their uses and pitfalls. On the way, you値l discuss triggering, tools and the abuse and re-use of unit tests.

Available formats: 1-day, half-day variant as track / plenary / keynote (typically titled "A Nest of Tests").

Delivered at: EuroSTAR 2015 (full-day tutorial), ATD2015 (as "A Nest of Tests" half-day workshop), Testing Let's Test Breda 2015 (plenary), QA Challenge Accepted Sofia 2015 (plenary), UK SIGiST (Keynote), corporate clients

Managing Exploratory Testing

Download full details of the standard 1-day workshop

This course is designed to follow on from Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing. Using real-world examples, group exercises and discussion, this course helps decision makers to make effective use of exploratory techniques. Includes sections on integration and strategy, team issues, and management of exploratory tasks using a session-based approach. Most suitable for people who have attended "Getting a Grip", or who have worked on an exploratory testing project.

Available formats: 1-day. Max 12 participants.

Delivered at: CAST, corporate clients

An Introduction to Exploratory Testing

Designed to prepare the ground for "Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing", this introductory lecture is suitable for anyone involved in testing or coding. Participants will gain an over view of the uses and techniques of Exploratory Testing, and an understanding of the concepts that underpin the later courses. Laptops not required.

Available formats: 90-minute, half-day lecture.

Delivered at: Adobe, Nokia and others

Exploratory Testing Seminar

A one-day introduction to Exploratory Testing, particularly suitable for mixed / larger groups. Participants will gain a clear understanding of the strategy and techniques of ET through lectures, exercises, demonstrations and discussions. Suitable for anyone with an interest in Exploratory Testing. Laptops not required, but participants with machines available can follow the demonstrations and continue to explore after the end of the day.

Format: 1-day lecture.

Stay Sharp: Keeping Testers Interested

This workshop uses a linked collection of exercises and games to help you understand how to maintain your engagement with what (and why) you're testing.

We'll start with exercises that expose the differences in working style between engaged and bored testers, and will build a collection of ways that we've kept ourselves interested. We'll have a look at incentives for cognitive work, and try out ways to introduce competition and game-playing into testing then play games around resourcefulness and innovation for testers. We'll discuss and experiment with a range of changes that can introduce novelty and diversity to our test focus and test approach, and look into the differences between dealing with a swift dull task, and maintaining interest into testing work over months or years. We'll use stories to spice up regression testing, and tools to crunch down bulk testing. We'll examine the role of feedback in learning, and the role of discovery and exploration in testing and how team learning fits with individual engagement. We'll play with the way that empowerment and responsibility can be the foundation of engagement, and look at how observation and test design are enhanced by empathy and role-play. We'll look out for the chilling effects of zealotry and the dulling qualities of micro-management.

Format: 1-day workshop, best for varied groups.

How to diagnose bugs

Good testers need to be able to go beyond simply logging a problem. To give value to their stakeholders and integrate with their development teams, testers need to be able to investigate the problems that they find. Diagnostic skills will help a tester to isolate genuine problems from a rash of symptoms, to work out what lies behind field reports, and to communicate her bugs effectively by describing plausible models.

In this hands-on workshop, we will use a succession of practical exercises based on real problems including truncation, bottlenecks, boundaries and emergent behaviours. Participants will select test conditions to isolate and emphasise a bug, analyse data to reveal connections and populations, and work with logs and events to arrive at sequences that reveal potential cause and effect. At the end of the workshop, participants will have an improved understanding of the techniques and principles of diagnosis that can be applied to issues found in their own systems. Please note: available laptops will help participants get the most out of this session.

This workshop shares some diagnostic exercises with "Experimentation and Diagnosis". Elements can be incorporated into "Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing"

Available formats: 90-minute, half-day workshop. Works well at conferences and with disparate groups.

Delivered at Let's Test, corporate clients

Older courses

These courses have not been delivered for a couple of years, and no public classes are expected. Please get in touch if you would like to know more or to bring these on-site in your organisation.

The Test Strategist's Toolkit

A strategy helps you decide what to plan, and how to plan it. Testing is hampered by reactiveness and rapidly-obsolete plans - but responds well to a strategic approach. This course looks at the strengths and advantages of a clear test strategy, the role of the test strategist, and the strategic value of testing. Topics covered include standards and templates, cost and value of various test techniques, pitfalls and strengths of typical strategic drivers, communication, information, and dealing with change. Workshops are discussion led, tutorials are exercise-based and can be tailored to your organisation's existing approach. Course can be effectively paired-up with 'Test Managers: Chameleons of the Project World' and 'Putting Theory into Practice: Test Manager' (below).

Available formats: Workshop: 90-120 minutes. Tutorial: half-day, 1-day.

Better Data, Better Testing

Information lies at the heart of IT - this course allows you to take control of your test data and allow it to help, rather than hinder, your testing. Exercises cover data-related test techniques, test data organisation and manipulation. Download the course abstract as a .pdf

Available formats: 90-120 minute workshop, half-day, 1-day course. Max 12 people.

Deliverd at EuroSTAR (full-day tutorial), QualityWeek (full-day tutorial)

Experimentation and Diagnosis

Good test design shares many of the same characteristics as good experimental design. This one-day workshop draws on the principles of experimentation from Physics, Biology and Statistics and applies them to software testing. In class, we design and execute a variety of test suites to explore and illustrate typical methods.

This workshop shares some diagnostic exercises with "How to Diagnose Bugs". Elements can be incorporated into "Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing"

Please note: participants will get the most out of this session if they have access to a laptop.

Available formats: one-day workshop. Abstract here.

Delivered at STAREast, EuroSTAR, corporate clients

Putting Theory into Practice: Test Manager

QBIT course: James plays Devil's advocate to Geoff Quentin. Enjoyable and informative. PTP:TM - more details.

Available formats: 2-day course.

Making the most of what you've got (From a Sow's Ear to a Silk Purse)

The test team has a greater influence on the success of testing than any single process, tool or technique. Yet, under-resourced and over-stretched, it can be a source of weakness. This paper outlines some effective techniques to help get the best out of your team, without increasing your budget or finding fewer bugs, and covers:

Available formats: 120-minute, half-day workshop.

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