Exploratory testing puts emphasis on simultaneous learning, design and execution and can essentially occur during every test you run, (even during one with very detailed scenarios). Simon’s speech really convinced me that his practice has great potential and inspired me to make our manual testing even more creative.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a conference, where Simon Peter Schrijver gave an excellent and inspiring speech about exploratory testing.
What is Exploratory Testing?
A tester always thinks disruptively and looks for things that might go wrong. They often explore out of sheer curiosity.
Exploratory testing focuses on three things: questioning, information, and learning. When you ask questions you collect information and learn more about the application you are testing. And, while you learn, you are eager to design more questions that will reveal even more information.
Main Core = Main Value
Exploratory testing is not about doing something and then forgetting about it. This kind of testing has plenty of underestimated value. The main core of exploratory testing is rooted in the importance of making documentations. However, before you do that, you need to have a new idea that will return various unexpected questions. And, this is the moment when you should pose a few questions yourself – go around and interview the developers, the client, and other involved parties in order to gather the information you need. You should take this time to learn as much as you can about the application, while keeping in mind how to prepare your tests.
Once you cover those steps, incorporate risk and begin to experiment. While running your tests take detailed notes, write down your steps and suggestions and attach screenshots or videos. Observe how your application works, validate, and design new questions. All of this has great value. Next, write down the scenarios in natural language so that they could also be used by your team and the client. These will prove especially useful to your colleagues as they can easily automate them. And, remember that sharing knowledge with the client and your team is really important.
Where is the Real Value?
The real value is hidden in regression testing. Different and unusual user behaviour helps us to discover what actions and which paths can be taken. Simon often uses the material gathered during exploratory testing to ensure that certain changes have not affected previous ones.
Essentially, the main aim is to show you that exploratory testing is in fact a structured process.
I was quite surprised by Simon’s and his team’s approach to regression testing. It goes as follows – after conducting basic manual and automated tests, the entire team becomes involved in regression testing. This is quite a valuable exercise as, thanks to this, the application is observed and tested from various angles and different perspectives.
How Can I Learn From Others’ Exploratory Testing?
We asked this question during the lecture and the answer was quite surprising, even to the seasoned QA experts, – “Do not teach it. Let people experiment and they will quickly grasp what exploratory testing is all about”.
So, can we be taught exploratory testing? Or, do we simply learn it through experience?