In my office we have several test team. Recently our organization decided to keep competitions between test teams. I look forward for the ideas to improve ourselves and compete among us to show up our skills.

Each of our testing team consists of :

  • a security tester,
  • a programmer (skilled in Python, Ruby),
  • a manual tester

As per @dzieciou comments the objectives of competition were :

  • To improve team spirit between us

  • To improve our technical skill set(programming,analytical skills)

  • The skills to improvise our self as tester skills(to improve our skills as automated tester)

I would like to hear ideas for competitions which would help us shine and compete each other.

  • What is the goal of the competition? What problem the competition will address? Learn new ideas of testing? Share skills within team and across teams? Motivate people? Improve team spirit?
    – dzieciou
    Jan 22 '13 at 7:07
  • @dzieciou the competition would address all the issues which you have been mentioned above Jan 22 '13 at 7:10
  • What skills those competitions have to improve? My impression is that the question focus more on the solution rather than investigate what is the real problem in the teams. I.e., it might be wrong to solve this problem, especially if the problem is unclear.
    – dzieciou
    Jan 22 '13 at 13:14

Have you considered less competitive approaches to achieve your goals?

Your teams may learn practical skills using deliberate techniques. I'm not sure how that increases morale (or team spirit), though.

Note that for a deliberate technique to be effective, it must be:

  • demanding
  • targeted at improving specific areas of performance (so you must exactly know what you want to improve),
  • clear, so you know when the goal is achieved,
  • provide continuous feedback on performance, so people can learn from others how they can improve their technique.
  • 2
    Agreed. Competition helps in some cultures; in others, it harms. Competition can motivate employees to work at defeating each other rather than defeating competitors -- or even better, defeating problems.
    – user246
    Jan 22 '13 at 18:40

Take care as it can lead to whatever metrics you are using being gamed and people concentrate on winning rather than the desired outcome...


One option is to have a Hackathon day between the different test teams. Hackathons come in many flavours and have different meanings to different people, so your test teams will need to figure out what does it mean to them? Ideally at the end of the Hackathon day, the different test teams should present (and share) their hackathon idea(s) to the other test teams. You can have prizes for the best idea.


The competition will not yield the results you are looking for. If you want to use it to increase bug count, you will get more bugs (and more "not a real bug" resolutions), for example. My previous experiences with in-house team competitions is that they are counter-productive and if the organization is smart, they are discontinued after a month or two when it is obvious the quality of the team is degraded to meet the artificial competition goals.

  • What about making an hour or two of competition to design test cases and find bugs in an app. Competing would not be part of everyday work, but a single event, after which participants could share with their strategies and reflect on them?
    – dzieciou
    Jan 22 '13 at 13:09
  • Competition can mean one team wins, others lose which might not lead to the effects the original poster wants Jan 22 '13 at 14:19
  • introducing a timed competition will just exacerbate the issue, imo. If you have 1 hour to find as many bugs as possible, you're going to get a lot of not real bugs so people see their numbers go up. I'm sure there are instances where competitions can be a positive thing, I have never experienced that scenario myself.
    – squeemish
    Jan 22 '13 at 15:48
  • 1
    I participated in the CodeRetreat when pairs of programmers "competed" in solving a task in six turns. Each turn each participant was solving the same task but with a different peer. Only few pairs have solved the task completely but no one was complaining about that. The benefit was everyone has learned various ways of approaching the same problem. In case of OP, to avoid hostile attitude between teams I would mix people coming different teams and would give tasks not directly related to ongoing work.
    – dzieciou
    Jan 22 '13 at 18:11
  • 1
    @dzieciou I have not. I was never the one implementing the contest in my office, just observing and watching the fallout and trying to clean up the pieces. I would like to mention that we had a $ reward, so that most definitely helped ruin the contest
    – squeemish
    Jan 22 '13 at 19:57

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