exploratory testing

Articles

Two paths going through the woods Taking the Negativity out of Negative Testing

Everyone on the software team has the same goal of delivering the best product they can, so letting testers discover bugs is always good—the more bugs found, the better! But misconceptions often lead to testers getting the bad rap of "breaking" the software. It's a tester's job to think like a user. Developers and stakeholders might call that negative testing, but the result is a better product, and that’s all positive. Let's change the way we talk about testing.

Jessica Lavoie's picture Jessica Lavoie
Squares in organized rows next to scattered squares The Difference between Structured and Unstructured Exploratory Testing

There are a lot of misunderstandings about exploratory testing. In some organizations exploratory testing is done unprofessionally and in an unstructured way—there's no preparation, no test strategy, and no test design or coverage techniques. This leads to blinds spots in the testing, as well as regression issues. Here's how one company made its exploratory testing more structured.

Flag that says "Explore," photo by Andrew Neel Using Tours to Structure Your Exploratory Testing

In testing, a tour is an exploration of a product that is organized around a theme. Tours bring structure and direction to exploration sessions, so they can be used as a fundamental tool for exploratory testing. They're excellent for surfacing a collection of ideas that you can then further explore in depth one at a time, and they help you become more familiar with a product—leading to better testing.

Nishi Grover Garg's picture Nishi Grover Garg
Icon showing one end to another Endgame Testing: Exploring Your Agile Product End to End

The main goal of endgame testing is to test the system end to end from the user's perspective. This should ensure continuity between components developed by different teams, continuity in user experience, and successful integration of new features. Endgame testing will often identify gaps that are difficult to discover inside agile teams, including flows across the product.

Doron Bar's picture Doron Bar

Better Software Magazine Articles

How Much Is Enough?—Exploring Exploratory Software Testing

Exploratory testers design and execute tests in the moment, starting with an open mission and investigating new ideas as they arise. But how do we know when to stop? The first step is to recognize that we can't know when we're done, because any approach to answering the stopping question is necessarily heuristic.

Michael Bolton's picture Michael Bolton
The Truth About Exploratory Testing

Forget what you thought you knew about exploratory testing. Dion Johnson is disturbed by its exploitation by those who wish to escape accountability and forgo up-front planning, but says that exploratory testing and scripted testing can work together to enhance quality practices.

Dion Johnson's picture Dion Johnson
Behind the Screens

Web services can't be tested through manual means, can they? With the right tools they can. Find out how a solid background in exploratory testing and Ruby's scripting language can make it possible.

Brian Marick
Inside the Mind of an Exploratory Tester

Among the hardest things to explain is something that everyone already knows. We all know how to listen, how to read, how to think, and how to tell anecdotes about the events in our lives. As adults, we do these things every day. Yet the level possessed by the average person of any of these skills may not be adequate for certain special situations.Exploratory tester James Bach describes eight key skills that expert explorers possess, and how you can develop them too.

James Bach's picture James Bach

Interviews

Bart Knaack discusses the Test Lab at STARWEST 2015 The Test Lab: STARWEST 2015 Interview with Bart Knaack and Wade Wachs
Video

In this interview, TechWell speaks with Bart Knaack, test advisor at Professional Testing, and his partner at the Test Lab, Wade Wachs. Bart gave a keynote at STARWEST titled "The Survival Guide for Testers and Test Managers."

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Exploratory Testing in an Agile World: An Interview with Matt Barcomb

Matt Barcomb works at LeanDog where he is passionate about building collaborative cross-functional teams and finding ways to make the business-software universe a better place to work, play, and do business. Heather Shanholtzer talked to Matt about exploratory testing in an agile project.

Heather Shanholtzer's picture Heather Shanholtzer

Conference Presentations

The Many Flavors of Exploratory Testing

The concept of exploratory testing is evolving, and different interpretations and variations are emerging and maturing. These range from the pure and original thoughts of James Bach, later expanded to session-based exploratory testing by Jon Bach, to testing tours described by James Whittaker, to the many different ways test teams across the world have chosen to interpret exploratory testing in their own contexts. Though it appears to be simple, exploratory testing can be difficult to introduce into a traditional organization where testers are familiar only with executing scripted test cases and where the concept of exploration and creative testing may be somewhat foreign. At the same time, organizations need to address the challenges of traceability and reporting, moving from traditional ways to a more exploratory approach.

Gitte Ottosen, Sogeti Denmark
Leverage Your Test Automation ROI with Creative Solutions

Typical automated tests perform repetitive tasks quickly and accurately. However, with some creativity, you can leverage automation to dramatically increase its ROI. Doug Hoffman demonstrates how to employ test automation for testing activities that are impossible with manual testing.

Doug Hoffman, Software Quality Methods, LLC
Testing Lessons Learned from the Great Detectives

What the great detectives have taught me about testing.

Robert Sabourin, AmiBug.com
Chartering the Course: Guiding Exploratory Testing

Charters help you guide and focus exploratory testing. Well-formed charters help testers find defects that matter and provide vital information to stakeholders about the quality and state of the software under test. Rob Sabourin shares his experiences defining different exploratory testing charters for a diverse group of test projects. For example, reconnaissance charters focus on discovering application features, functions, and capabilities; failure mode charters explore what happens to applications when something goes wrong. In addition, you can base charters on what systems do for users, what users do with systems, or simply the requirements, design, or code. Rob reviews key elements of a well-formed testing charter-its mission, purpose, focus, understanding, and scope. Learn how to evolve a test idea into an exploratory charter using examples from systems testing, Scrum story testing, and developer unit testing.

Robert Sabourin, AmiBug.com

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