August 18, 2017

The End Game Strategy

BY :     August 18, 2017

As a kid, I was completely hooked to my NES (Nintendo Entertainment System, yes I am that old!). My first game was Super Mario Bros. I enjoyed the flow of going through the levels. An end boss would wait to be slain after some levels. Each end boss needs a specific strategy. The game finale has the big end boss. Defeating him requires the combination of all previous strategies. Hence the existence of the ‘End Game’ (by the way, the term ‘End Game’ is historically more associated with chess).

Figure: Bowser; the end boss of Super Mario Bros.

Figure: Bowser; the end boss of Super Mario Bros.

Let’s play games

Are you stuck with a problem or taking your work home? Play a video game to break the pattern. Some research shows that playing video games can even improve your eyesight.

Play some analog games to step away from the screen. Interact with friends. Try to see how you do that and what strategies you use there. They are useful in works situations.

A game of Zombicide (look it up: zombies and survivors) requires you to work as a team. Each player controls a survivor with specific skills. Combine them to beat the game. The reason why you should have a big chainsaw to break open a door and look for valuables.

After playing Zombicide you can recognize and combine team member skills. You are better at reasoning and you have fun!

What levels do you play?

As said there are small and big end bosses. They each require their own strategy to tackle. In product development, lots of levels can be found. For example:

  • A test level: The final test activities before a release
  • A sprint level: Finishing a sprint together
  • A task level: Finalize that last tasks on your Kanban board
  • A bug level: Defeating the strange bug found in the field

With my test background, I like looking at the test aspect of things. Detailed examples of test levels can be:

  • Testing pieces of code,
  • unit tests,
  • full system tests of complex hardware or
  • an automatic GUI test

You need good end game strategies to find all the relevant bugs, have confidence before release or to reach planned coverage. Different skills are needed to execute all these test activities. In that sense end game strategy and test, the strategy is closely related.

Combine end game strategies

Use your game skills to team up and gather the skills needed to complete different levels. Eventually, you come to the end of a project, the final sprint or that big release that requires everything you practiced in the previous levels. Combine your small end game strategies to compete in a big end game and be victorious. It will be much more fun to look at a test strategy this way, opposed to thick test plans. It also fits much better with iterative ways of working and how we develop our skills as engineers to be able to create great products.

Drop me a line when you want to play a game of Zombicide to discover your end game strategy. Let the games begin!

Tom Van de Ven


Tom van de Ven is active in the field of High Tech testing for 15 years. As a High Tech test expert he is a frequently asked sparring partner for Sogeti High Tech customers with regard to starting/professionalizing test projects. Besides a multitude of test assignments (eg. in the field of healthcare, semiconductors, agriculture and automotive) he is an active member of the Sogeti High Tech Test Competence Centre and a speaker for High Tech seminars. Tom uses his experience in a role as a coach for (starting) High Tech test engineers and is constantly looking for improvements in High Tech test methodologies. He is the author of the book that combines Internet of Things and TMap: IoTMap!!!. He also teaches and develops several testing courses in the embedded and high tech domain. If not teaching, testing a tunnel or promoting “Quick Tech Testing” you can find him setting up a high tech test automation framework for the odd customer.

More on Tom Van de Ven.

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    *Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group