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Testing Tour – Lisi Hocke’s Testing Tour and creating your own adventure

January 9th, 2019


Lisi Hocke (Elisabeth) kindly came to speak at SwanseaCon in September this year, her fabulous talk was focused on sharing her stories about her Testing Tour.  She blogs at lisihocke.com.

I was really struck by such a brilliant idea, in recent times I have moved to adopt a ‘learning mindset’ and only wish I had made this leap years ago. Lisi hopes her adventures will inspire you to make your own.

Lisi, thank you for taking the time to speak with me, I really enjoyed your talk in the summer, it is such a great idea.  Perhaps I can ask a few questions about your Testing Tour to share with the testing community.

  • What is a ‘Testing Tour’?
    • My testing tour consisted of a lot of pair testing sessions with a number of other testers. I tested with people inside my company and outside as well.  The goal was to learn from each other and to do things with ‘hands-on’ testing topics that I hadn’t got around to doing on my own.
  • Where did you hear about it?
    • I had never heard of it before, it was an idea which came to me. I have been really inspired by other people in the testing community and I would really like to thank and give credit to Lisa Crispin, Sal Freudenberg and especially Maaret Pyhäjärvi who has been of great support.
  • How did you get started?
    • It happened quite easily actually. Maaret invited me to do some pair testing with her which was great.  I then put together a list of people I wanted to ask which included work colleagues and other people.  I wrote a blog to share my experience and tweeted too, from that point people kindly approached me so it grew from there.
  • How did you select a focus or subject to work on?
    • I really wanted the whole thing to be open and free but had a few ideas around exploration, automation and specialist testing areas like security etc.. As people contacted me we would use a scheduling tool to book a time and I would ask if there was something specific they would like to look at or learn, perhaps a challenge at work which they would like to try and tackle or something they already had a little exposure to but would like to practice.  Maybe they had started doing accessibility testing but had a weak spot they would like to work or maybe something like security testing which they had never tried before. I never had a problem finding a subject which we were both keen to work on.
    • A week before our tour I would check in with each person to clarify the topic and discuss what approach we would take, I am an advocate of ‘strong-style pairing’ where in order for an idea to go from one member’s head into the computer, it must go through the other person’s hands. It is a very powerful way to ensure both people are engaged, learning and contributing.
  • What advice would you give to someone starting out on this adventure from scratch?
    • I would encourage everyone to make their own idea’s up and then share what they learned, but if they would like to understand how I approached my Testing Tour then I would encourage them to read my blogs https://www.lisihocke.com/p/testing-tour.html there is quite a bit of information there which might be useful.
  • From your talk at SwanseaCon we gather your testing tour was of great benefit and good fun as well as a brilliant idea, what would you say are one of two of the positives you have taken from the experience so far?
    • For me the really important and valuable things have been overcoming the fear around coming forward and showing what you know and especially what you don’t know, this has been so valuable in many different aspects of my life.

Doing testing together makes it much easier and in many cases took less time, if you are working on your own you can get stuck, this didn’t tend to happen in this situation because the other person would normally come up with an idea to move forward.

It was great fun!

  • From a personal perspective what have you taken away from this?
    • Pushing through the fear has been enormously helpful in helping me develop as a person and it has opened me up to more ideas of scary things to do in the future, it has really given me confidence.
  • Hard copy books or digital?
    • I love to read and find hard backed books great for fun and fiction, I use a Kindle for learning and research, it makes it so easy to mark text and make notes.
  • What app you are most enjoying and finding useful at the moment?
    • I have lots of great apps for different purposes, but as I love computer games, I particularly enjoy the wealth of Steam games, having them always at my fingertips.

It was a pleasure speaking with Lisi, she is a generous spirit who wants to encourage people to grow and as she says ‘pay it forward’, she is very grateful for the support she has received from people in the testing community.


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