exploratory testing

Conference Presentations

STAREAST 2006: Testing Outside the Bachs

Simply put, exploratory testing means designing your tests as you perform them. When it's done well, it's a fantastically productive and rewarding approach to testing. However, to do it well requires training, practice, and discipline. Lecture presentations about exploratory testing are a poor substitute for seeing it and doing it. So . . . plan to bring your laptop to this session and test along with James Bach and Jon Bach as they demonstrate exploratory testing in a live testing workshop. Participate or just observe as exploratory testing is performed in real time with play-by-play and color commentary. Learn how to bring structure to this apparently unstructured testing method. See if you can find bugs that they do not find as you test "outside the Bachs"!

James Bach, Satisfice, Inc. and Jon Bach, Quardev Laboratories
Inside The Masters' Mind: Describing the Tester's Art

Exploratory testing is both a craft and a science. It requires intuition and critical thinking. Traditional scripted test cases usually require much less practice and thinking, which is perhaps why, in comparison, exploratory testing is often seen as "sloppy," "random," and "unstructured." How, then, do so many software projects routinely rely on it as an approach for finding some of its most severe bugs? If one reason is because it lets testers use their intuition and skill, then we should not only study how that intuition and skill is executed, but also how it can be cultivated and taught to others as a martial art. Indeed, that's what has been happening for many years, but only recently have there been major discoveries about how an exploratory tester works and a new effort by exploratory testing practitioners and enthusiasts to create a vocabulary.

Jon Bach, Quardev Laboratories
STARWEST 2005: Testing Outside the Bachs: A Hands-On Exploratory Testing Workshop

Simply put, exploratory testing means designing your tests as you perform them. When it's done well, it's a fantastically productive and rewarding approach to testing. However, to do it well requires training, practice, and discipline. Lecture presentations about exploratory testing are a poor substitute for seeing it and doing it. So ... plan to bring your laptop to this session and test along with James Bach and Jon Bach as they demonstrate exploratory testing in a live testing workshop. Participate or just observe as exploratory testing is performed in real time with play-by-play and color commentary. Learn how to bring structure to this apparently unstructured testing method. See if you can find bugs that they do not find as you test "outside the Bachs"!

Jon Bach, Quardev Laboratories
Inside the Explorer's Notebook

Exploratory testing is more than just thinking of clever test ideas and executing them on a whim. It's a craft, requiring practice of several classic scientific skills-one of those skills is careful documentation of observations and conjectures. But as much as testers are scientists, they are also explorers. They must document their actions and observations during testing in such a way that stakeholders can easily understand the important problems and issues that are being discovered. In this track talk, expert exploratory tester Jon Bach compares exploratory test notes from several software projects to the journals of historical adventurers, showing how a tester's
journey through unchartered software can reveal similar risks and riches. Jon will discuss three common note-taking styles, as well as good, bad, and ugly notes he has seen (and produced!) in his ten years of testing.

Jon Bach, Quardev, Inc
Measuring Ad Hoc Testing

Many testers discover most of their bugs through a free-form exploration of a product called ad hoc testing. Ad hoc testing, however, can be difficult to manage. Jonathan Bach presents his experiences in making this intuitive and unstructured process manageable by packaging it in blocks of roughly equivalent effort (called test sessions). Learn how this test session concept allows you to measure and report test effort in a way that supports the needs of management, without burdening the tester with excessive paperwork or intrusive oversight.

Jonathan Bach, Satisfice, Inc.
How to Break Software Applications: A Case Study

James Whittaker took a group of untrained (and untainted) college students, ran them through a rigorous testing boot camp, and then pointed them at an already tested, world-class software product. Their mission: test it, break it, prove it works, and then automate everything you did. The outcome: interesting bugs, cool test automation, compelling test patterns, and useful ways of testing that you might never have considered before.

James Whittaker, Florda Tech
STARWEST 2001: Exploratory Testing in Pairs

Exploratory testing involves simultaneous activities-learning about the program and the risks associated with it, planning and conducting tests, troubleshooting, and reporting results. This highly skilled work depends on the ability of the tester to stay focused and alert. Based on a successful pilot study, Cem Kaner and James Bach discuss why two testers can be more effective working together than apart. Explore the advantages of testing in pairs, including ongoing dialogue to keep both testers alert and focused, faster and more effective troubleshooting, and an excellent opportunity for a seasoned tester to train a novice.

James Bach, Satisfice, Inc. and Cem Kaner, Florida Institute of Technology
STAREAST 2001: Exploratory Testing in Pairs

Exploratory testing involves simultaneous activities-learning about the program and the risks associated with it, planning and conducting tests, troubleshooting, and reporting results. This highly skilled work depends on the ability of the tester to stay focused and alert. Based on a successful pilot study, Cem Kaner discusses why two testers can be more effective working together than apart. Explore the advantages of testing in pairs, including ongoing dialogue to keep both testers alert and focused, faster and more effective troubleshooting, and an excellent opportunity for a seasoned tester to train a novice.

Cem Kaner, Florida Institute of Technology and James Bach, Satisfice Inc.

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