I wrote about how I came away recently from a Rapid Software Testing class with a pair of rubber balls - my so-called "testing balls", here.
In that post I also stated that these are probably worth more than a certificate that says I "can test". But I was also careful to say that it's the story that I can tell related to them that makes them more valuable than a certificate. Why?
The balls are just a "hook", a way to get me to tell my story to someone.
That story would state the problem I was given, how I approached it, some of the obstacles I met along the way, what I was thinking about those obstacles, strategies to get the information I needed, reporting back the status as I saw it with my reasoning - with this cycle repeating a few times.
The story would then continue about the de-brief of the activity from James Bach, what I could identify as improvement areas or alternative tactics, what could be confirmed as "good" or "appropriate" tactics with a summary of the lesson.
So, those balls have just allowed me to demonstrate testing - on the spot! Way cooler than a certificate for me!
When I tell that story to colleagues they can see testing in action, they can question about different aspects, thoughts and ideas. That's testing thinking and feedback on the spot (in your face, so to speak...) It draws people in, it engages and it allows discussion.
That beats comparing results on a multiple choice test any day for me.
So, at the end of a long-and-winding road, that's why I was so happy with the testing balls. They're not a "pseudo-certificate" but a hook for me to demonstrate testing "live".
Got any other good hooks, stories out there?