Monday, 8 November 2010

Testing the future - Test challenge

Darren McMillan and his team have been giving each other testing challenges. He was kind enough to share one with me. As I ate my lunch today I completed it, my questions following.

Testing the Future
Scenario :

Your good friend Dr. MacDonald has been developing a time-travelling car which he aims to use to allow a person to travel backwards or forwards in time. He states that he has tested each of the components separately and has tested the system as a whole by using two synchronised clocks (one of which is sent 1 minute into the future with the car. When the car reappeared, there was exactly 1 minute of difference between the clocks).
He states that he is now happy to use the system and wishes to be the first person to travel in time.
Task :
Dr. MacDonald has hired you at this late stage in development to consult about the level of testing he has carried out so far and if he needs to do any more.
So, the task is simply this. What questions would you ask Dr. MacDonald about the system and its testing?
Time :
Please take no longer than 30 minutes to come up with as many questions as you can.

My questions:

Is there a min/max timeframe for the travel?

Is he concerened about any of the components?

How confident is he that the clocks are correct? In good working order?

What type of clock was it? Digital? Analog? Could anything have affected the clocks?

Is there a date on the clock?

Are the clocks still working?

Could the car have actually travelled 24hrs and 1minute? Or 48hrs, etc.

What does his synchronised clock test tell him? Did the car go backward or forward?

Is that actually what he was aiming for? 1 minute time difference?

What if that's all the car can actually do? Time travel 1 minute into the future. Is it worth continuing?

Does the car take time to warm up before time travel?

There is plenty that could go wrong with a car, is he confident that every aspect of the car is in good working order? Tires? Engine? Breaks? etc.

Does the car actually move when it time travels or disappear and reappear? If it moves does it need to be at a specific speed? Specific fuel?

Specifically what components have been tested and how?

Specifically how was the system tested as a whole? Just the 1 minute test?

Did he check the car for any possible issues after it returned?

Can he confirm the car and the clock went to the same place? Is there a possibility they went separate places? How do you know?

Should he not test travelling backwards? Why did he just test going forward?

How confident is he on the whole? Would he send his mum on a trip?

What affects the travel? Weather? Weight of occupant/s? Has he tried a life size dummy? Something organic? What if he repeats the test with some fruit in the car and it supposedly was gone for a minute but the fruit is rotten on the return?

If he is happy to use the system and ready to travel why has he hired me? What is niggling at him?

Does he have any experience with time travel or cars?

Do I have any experience with time travel or cars? - Why was I hired general and why me specifically?

Why does he want to time travel?

Why a car?

Why do I only have 30mins to come up with questions?

What is he a doctor of? What if he is he a crazy vet?

How does he know the car travelled? What if the car stayed still and everything else travelled?

Has anybody else done any testing?


  1. Hi,

    It's interesting to see your answers, and soon you will be able to see all the answers from our testing team, Stuart (Darren's colleague) intends to post this challenge in a blog shortly, coming in 4 parts you should be able to see the challenge, our answers, conclusions, and a brief retrospective showing what we learned.

    hopefully you can share these answers there once we've posted.



  2. Hi Michael, cool I'm looking forward to it, always good to see what thoughts other people had.

    Cheers for posting.

  3. Excellent response Tony :-)

    I've asked my college to collate your response into his blog post when he does it.

    Thanks for taking part :-)

  4. Darren has posted his blog post with this team's questions here: