Software Testing Bowl 2018 - Highlights & Lessons Learned

October 29th, 2018 by inflectra

Inflectra's inaugural Software Testing Bowl is now in the past and we are taking a moment to share the highlights and reflect on the lessons learned from the event.

But first, let's recap the event:

As you recall, the #TestBowl was a team competition for software testers from all over the USA. The event was hosted by STPCon Fall 2018 at Sheraton Pentagon Hotel in Arlington, VA. 

On October 23, Team Inflectra started Software Testing Bowl shortly after STPCon's Meet and Greet and Happy Hour, at approx. 6pm. When doors closed, we had approx. 25 testers competing in 6 teams.

After 2 hours of intense testing of a desktop application called GoodFynd, the following scores have been recorded:

  1. Team Fluttershy - 113 points.
  2. Team Spike - 85 points.
  3. Team Rarity - 76 points.
  4. Team Mulan - 57 points.
  5. Team TeamAwesome - 36 points.
  6. Team TwilightSparkle - 0 points.

(Scores are coming in as bugs are tallied. Adam Sandman MC-ing the Test Bowl 2018.)



The top two teams were announced winners.

The 1st Prize winner was Team Fluttershy:  

The 2nd Prize winner was Team Spike:

  • Taylor Funk
  • Indira Kalvakolanu
  • Gabe Marwel


The Software Testing Bowl 2018 Award Ceremony took place on Oct 25 at STPCon and was attended by 3 winners from the winning teams. Here is an uncut video of the award ceremony:


  1. Make It Fun - also funny, even ridiculously over the top. To achieve this effect, we used a fog machine, laser lights, dance music, silly names for teams and cute games. We also  gave the hotel personnel a scare when our fog machine's "smoke" tickled the olfactory systems of the nearby hotel guests and sent their imaginations into an overdrive. Things got resolved quickly and painlessly thanks to the professionalism of the staff at Sheraton Pentagon Hotel. 
  2. Make It Tasty - and make sure you choose foods that smell delicious. We had a hot panini station set up and you bet testers were lining up to get their share. Having a hosted bar did not distract the event participants from doing their best in the competition. 
  3. Make It Easy - We warmed the crowed up with True/False icebreakers that had Washington, DC and its history as a theme.

(True/False Icebreaker - Test Bowl by Inflectra, Sheraton Pentagon Hotel, Arlington VA, 2018)

Lessons Learned

  1. Make It Part Of A Bigger Thing - In July 2018, we made a conscious decision to use the upcoming STPCon as the location for the Test Bowl 2018. Co-locating the two events, integrating the messaging and cross-promoting all activities have been key to making this Software Testing Bowl a success. It also added a fun aspect to otherwise highly structured and professionally-inclined sessions for which STPCon is famous. A giant THANK YOU! to the team behind STPCon for partnering with us on this awesome event!
  2. Secure Your Software Under Test Well In Advance - We have relearned this lesson from our earlier, similar events (we hosted three Social Testing events in 2018). Going into the Test Bowl, we made sure everything was in place; we created a dedicated developer section on the official Test Bowl website that outlined the value proposition for app developers; we set up a dedicated social media campaign to announce the effort (and to collect software/applications to be tested); we reached out to US-based meet-up groups and Inflectra's customers and partners. Despite all this, the response was underwhelming. We did secure enough interest to choose a suitable application in the end (Thank You GoodFynd for letting us test your app and for active participation in the event!), but there is a need for a more robust strategy of engaging with app developers if we are to continue using third-party applications for our Test Bowls in the future.  (GoodFynd staff presenting their app tot he testers - Test Bowl, Oct 23, 2018)
  3. Make It Simple - Since the Test Bowl was a team competition, we settled for a fun little team building game in which team members were to ask each other questions to be matched with their teams. The game proved to be little more complicated than expected, and we had to simplify it on the go. We ended up pairing people up based on where they set, but the take-away is this - if your game has a set of rules that require concentration and comprehension, these are better done towards the middle of the event after the crowd has had a chance to settle down a little. 
  4. Keep It Fun With Unexpected Mid-Way Prizes - We prepared 10 easy questions for the testers and 10 prizes to go with those questions. Every fifteen minutes, the Spiratest scoreboard would come up, the current scores and intermediate winner(s) would be announced, questions would be asked and random prizes would be given. This kept the group alert and happy. Here is a photo of Simon giving out random prizes to winners. 
  5. Keep The Lights Burning Bright - apart from the light making it easy to take instagram-worthy photos, it also helps keep participants alert! 

We would like to congratulate all winners and participants of Inflectra's first ever Software Testing Bowl!

We enjoyed putting together this event and are planning on hosting another Test Bowl in the Spring of 2019 in San-Francisco, CA.

So watch this space and sign up for the Test Bowl newsletter here



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