Do you want to play a game?2 min read

TL/DR: Download the Refinement Playing Cards and get playing:

In a previous post – Why don’t testers ask questions any more? – I discussed some of the challenges that prevent testers from asking the right questions and suggested some solutions.

In addition to the suggestions I made in that post, I have also worked to create different tools and resources to help testers and teams to think more critically and promote discussions about software quality.

After some months trying out different things I settled upon the idea of creating a game.  The reasoning was that I was trying to motivate teams to think creatively, play around with ideas and generate discussion rather than constraining them with a rigid process.

What I have created is a deck of themed playing cards that cover a diversity of aspects of software quality.  These themes include obvious topics such as performance and scalability, as well as some less common topics such as software with integrity and monitoring and alerting.  Each card also contains some example questions, designed to prompt discussion about the given topic – “Who requires access to which assets?” (Security) and “How could the environmental impact be reduced?” (Software with integrity).

The topics and their associated questions are not intended to be a definitive list, instead they were designed to be a base set from which teams can add, discard or adapt.  As such, each card contains space for new questions to be added and the set also includes some blank cards where new topics can be added.

A rules card is included in the deck, and contains the following:

This is a card game for development teams to help define acceptance criteria, identify non-functional requirements, challenge assumptions, aid collaboration and promote team ownership of quality.

  1. Bring these cards to your refinement and planning discussions
  2. Share the cards among the team so everyone can get involved
  3. Choose a requirement to discuss
  4. Use the icons to discard any cards that are not relevant (UI, API, DB)
  5. Discuss the questions on the cards to help tease out missing requirements
  6. Refine and improve the requirements as you go
  7. Something missing? Add your own questions to the cards or use the blanks to create your own!

As described, the game is designed to support any discussion about requirements, whether that be a backlog refinement meeting, a sprint planning session or a three-amigo discussion.

So why not try them out yourselves, or even better, take my set and tailor them for your specific project or product and of course don’t forget to let me know how you get on.

Download the deck of cards here: Refinement Playing Cards

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