Game Development Reference
as a “pre-mortem�? identifying important issues prior to performing the test, rather than
waiting to identify them in a post-mortem after testing has already been done. As kick-
off records are collected, systemic issues can be identified and addressed in the current
test phase. Checklists, group meetings, and email are ways to communicate the lessons
learned from the kickoffs and suggest remedies to implement on the current project.
By collecting and evaluating the results of kickoffs for each project, actions can be
taken to prevent these problems in future test efforts. The preventative analysis of test
kickoff results and the cycle time impacts achieved by the initial deployment point out
the potential for improving the way hundreds of other tests will be conducted as you
use this process going forward. The across-the-board use of test kickoffs will translate
into further test execution cycle time improvements and uncover more defects, lead-
ing to better game quality.
The following behaviors, which are driven by the use of test kickoffs, can reduce the
size of the testing critical path:
Make fewer mistakes (reduce wasted effort)
The test kickoff steps are designed to ensure that testing does not begin until
the tester is equipped to test and understands the details and goals of the
testing. Among other things, this results in quicker and more accurate
measurement of results.
Reduce cyclical efforts (shortest distance between two points is a line)
As part of preparation, the tester reviews the test and requirements in their
entirety. This reduces misunderstood and improperly performed steps, resulting
in much less test effort spent on backing up and redoing test sections.
All effort results in something that will be used
The metrics show that the use of test kickoffs reduces the testing cycle time,
even when accounting for the time it takes to hold the kickoffs.
Truth telling is encouraged
The one-on-one forum of a test kickoff is less intimidating than the group
setting of a phase or release kickoff. The kickoff leader should make the tester
comfortable and remind the tester of the kickoff goals. When testers see that
their feedback results in improvements, they are more open about voicing their
opinions and ideas.
Have constructive discussions rather than unnecessary effort and debate
The test kickoff meeting gets every tester involved in process improvement.
It also gives the tester and kickoff leader shared responsibility to address the
issues raised and recorded in the meeting. Sticking to the kickoff meeting
agenda will keep the meeting focused on test-related issues.