I love bug bashes. Sounds like a party, doesn't it? And in a way, that's the idea. A bug bash is a time-boxed testing frenzy where testers are often rewarded with prizes and recognition. Some companies still keep their bug bashes to themselves, turning the whole company into an extended testing organization for a few days in an effort to flush out any bugs that evaded the test team. Others get more courageous and open the bash to their external users, simulating the power of crowd testing but under more controlled circumstances by setting specific challenge guidelines and timeframes. The idea, of course, is to get as much brain power and 'randomness' into the mix as possible but within constraints and under the oversight of your own testing organization.
What does this mean to the future of testing?
I don't see any inherent danger to the future of software testing from these types of strategies — in fact, I think it's refreshing to see the renewed vigor behind software quality that is prompting people to find more ways of finding and wrangling bugs than they have traditionally had at their disposal. In the testing world, we've always known there is a limit to the types and quantity of bugs we can find within a project's scope — often we're constrained by the availability of test environments and the limitations of project schedules. Being able to tap into the larger user pool and their real-world environments can only be a boon to the software industry, and helps to alleviate the strain on most testing organizations that are fully aware that they can't get to every bug.
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