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The Project Scavenger Hunt
By Joe DeMeyer

Near the middle of my last project, I met with my project manager and iteration manager to discuss the addition of new team members. We were adding both developers and testers and, as you might expect, it was important they learn about the project, the application, and meet everyone in a short amount of time.

We reviewed the documentation we had for training and thought about a training schedule. Then, I recalled something I did on another team. I suggested a project scavenger hunt might reduce the training time and help new team members engage the project and team members faster.

The Project Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt is a popular party game where participants are separated into teams and given a list of items to find or “scavenge”. The items might be a paper sack, a paper clip, an empty soda can, and the like. The object of the hunt is to locate as many items as possible in a fixed time period. The team that brought back the most items won.

The primary intent is to have a new team member engage the team in learning about the project. I craft my scavenger hunt questions so they must introduce themselves and ask for information. I encourage new testing team members to talk to people – testing is a very social activity! A list of categories includes:

  • Location of Information
  • Names of Team Members
  • Names of Stakeholders
  • Project Purpose
  • Product Details
  • Product Use
  • Legacy Product Information
  • Project Metadata (status of a specific product or defect)
  • Product or Project Processes

Here are some examples:

  • Who is the Test Lead? How long have they worked at this company?
  • What is the business value of this project?
  • The payment transaction accepts: A. Cash B. Visa C. IOUs (a little humor is welcome!)
  • What is the state of Defect 123?

A little creativity and imagination can generate up to 20 questions.

To round out the scavenger hunt, I include activities the help the new team member engage the product or set up their work environment:

  • Exercise a Product
  • Install Software

Some examples:

  • Make a Payment Using a Credit Card in the Payment Transaction
  • Install XMind and Map the Payment Transaction

Test It!

For a fun alternative to lecturing or reading on-boarding material, I invite you to try a Project Scavenger Hunt. After you create one, test it with your existing team!

Joe DeMeyer is a tester at Progressive Insurance. You can read more from Joe on his blog.

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