Mittwoch, 26. Juli 2017

Pathway Exploratory Testing

Katrina Clokie has a very good section on her blog she calls “pathways”, which are curated link lists and training exercises you can use to get started with certain software testing aspects. Katrina offers these pathways for Security Testing, Mobile Testing and many other topics. You should definitively check them out.

When a colleague asked me to send him an introduction into Exploratory Testing a while ago I created a list of useful blog posts I think are helpful to get started with Exploratory Testing. His answer was something along the lines “oh my, this is a complete pathway”. I think it was not, but it was not that far off from being one.

Therefore I added some more links and thought of some exercises to evolve this into a proper pathway. In the meantime, more people asked me for information about exploratory testing so from now on I can answer with a link and an offer for a joined coffee.

Just as Katrina's pathways, this is a rabbit hole: A lot of the articles below link to other articles, which will forward you to even more sources. I hope this will be a fun ride for you.

STEP 1: What is Exploratory Testing?

The questions often begin with what Exploratory Testing actually is. And perhaps, more importantly, why would you use it in the first place? Sometimes people have some negative bias as if exploratory testing is just toying with the software and can only be an addition to test case based approaches. Sometimes people seemingly have heard great things and now want in on this cool "new" method. Here are a few articles, that describe what Exploratory Testing is and how you can use it in your project:

Exercise: If you are currently not using exploratory testing techniques, but are testing based on test cases, watch your next test execution very carefully: Are you really performing only the specified steps and checking the specified expected results or are you doing more? Are you looking “left and right”? How do you tell people what you saw when you moved away from the script? How do you remember it yourself? Do you take notes that go beyond the test steps of your test cases? Are your cases/steps answering questions about risks?

STEP 2: How do I manage my Exploratory Testing?

Session-Based Test Management is the most popular method to introduce Exploratory Testing in projects. It helps to make Exploratory Testing manageable and reportable, especially towards people outside of the testing team. Michael Bolton used the metaphor of putting the clouds, that are bursts of performed Exploratory Testing, into boxes so you can count those boxes. 

Here are some articles about and experience reports on Session-Based Test Management:
If for whatever reason you cannot make Session-Based Test Management work James Lyndsay provides a lot of other ways to manage your Exploratory Testing:

STEP 3: How do I find test charters?

A topic, that troubles a lot of people starting out with Exploratory Testing and Session-Based Test Management is generating test charters in comparison to generating test cases. Most of them are used to derive test cases from any form of specification document, which verifies that the software works “as specified", which is not necessarily “as intended”. 
But how to create missions for exploration in addition, or instead of, test cases? 

A good idea is to think about the goal you want to achieve with your respective testing mission, Simons examples for different charter types can help you with this. I listed some more models and texts, which can help you in finding test charters:
Exercise: Chose one of the above approaches and write down down three test charters for the software you are currently working on. You can use the charter template provided in the link from STEP 2.

STEP 4: How do I come up with test ideas?

Once you have your testing mission for a session down, the interesting part is having ideas of what to actually test to serve your mission. I have seen testers, who suffered from some form of writer's block when they started their first test sessions. Especially when they were not involved with designing test cases and only executed them in the scripted testing world they knew.

Fortunately, there are a lot of methods and tools out there to help you come up with test ideas. I just listed a few down there, which you will hear or read often when deeper exploring the Exploratory Testing world, or which help me specifically. If you really, really want to go deep into this topic follow the link to Erik Brickarp's text below and be blown away. 
Exercise: Remember the test charters from the last STEP? Now it is time you perform these test sessions. As a first step, you don’t need to test the whole 90 minutes as described in the linked introduction tests, start with 30 minutes if you like to.

STEP 5: I've got to the end of my session. Now what?

After one or more sessions a Debriefing has to take place. I met several people, who skipped on these and asked: "Do I really need that Debriefing?". Short answer: yes. Long answer: Although a lot of people find it tedious to add yet another meeting to their schedule, the Debriefing is still absolutely crucial. It helps to identify new test charters, spread the testing results across teams, identify holes in documentation and processes, improve the overall testing. Regular Debriefings also help the testers to develop their testing skills. All in all, Debriefings belong to the important meetings you really should attend. Here are some helpful links how you can structure a debriefing:
Exercise: A Debriefing is usually a meeting and you should not do it alone and by yourself. I still want to ask you that you take your time and reflect on the test sessions you performed during the last exercise. Write down answers to the following questions: 
What happened during testing? What did you find out? Were there things, you wanted to test but couldn’t and why couldn’t you? What is left to test in maybe another session or did you find interesting new session ideas? What were they? And what were you feeling during the session as a tester or potential user of your software? Was something annoying you or were you positively surprised?

STEP 6: Are there tools, that can help me?

The most obvious tools for an Explorer is that of a classical Explorer: A notebook and a pen to write down what she finds during exploration. Still a lot of people ask about software tools.
There are tools, that help with Session-Based Test Management, for example by aggregating the session metadata in the TASK BREAKDOWN section. Since taking notes is a crucial part during a test session I choose a note-taking tool, Evernote, for my projects. This solution works best for me at the moment, especially with the Mac Client App.

I want to emphasise one tool in particular and that is TestBuddy: TestBuddy is still under development and is being designed specifically for Exploratory Testing and note taking by people, who really love this style of testing. The prototypes I saw look very promising. The link below will bring you to a “waiting list”. Please get in contact with the folks at Qeek, they are eagerly waiting for your feedback and insights. 

STEP 7: How do I document my testing?

In an environment that heavily uses scripted testing and test cases, testers usually document their testing by ticking off the steps of a test case as either "passed" or "failed". A test session in Session-Based Test Management does not work that way instead it reflects much more how a detective, a journalist or scientists take notes during an investigation or experiment. A lot of testers switching to Session-Based Test Management are quite surprised at the amount of writing they have to do during test execution and they struggle in finding the right balance.
My personal belief is that you do not write more documentation than you do when using test cases because those have to be written, too. Test cases tend to be heavily documented, a lot of people just don’t connect this to their test execution since they wrote them weeks before not close to or even during testing as they do with a test session. 
Another thing I want to add is that in test case based approaches testers often don’t correctly document their actual testing, for example by ticking all test steps in a test case because they “kind of did this” although they skipped several steps due to routine. They often don’t write down strange things (not bugs!) outside of the current test case scope and things get lost.

It's important to find a healthy balance when it comes to documenting your sessions. Here is a list of ideas or experience reports and don’t worry: Even experienced testers constantly question the way they take note as the last three links prove.
Exercise: Alan's 10 experiments in the last link are a great way to get started. How about giving it a go?

STEP 8: Will Exploratory Testing pass an audit?

I often hear people writing Exploratory Testing off as a just playing with the software, a non-structured testing approach, that does not survive the scrutiny of an audit. This is not true at all. Testers have been using Exploratory Testing techniques in heavily restricted environments. Here are a few links, which can help you to report your Exploratory Testing beyond a single session and to make it audit-prone:
Exercise: Try to come up with a low tech testing dashboard for your application and discuss it with your team members.

Books & Resources 

In addition to all these blog posts, pdfs or online articles there some books and a series of videos about Exploratory Testing, which I recommend to you:

52 Kommentare:

  1. Der Kommentar wurde von einem Blog-Administrator entfernt.

  2. Der Kommentar wurde von einem Blog-Administrator entfernt.

  3. Hi Marcel!

    Excellent set of resources. I found that there is wrong link for:

    A Key for Test Session Note Taking During Software Testing


    Here is correct one:

  4. Great post! I am actually getting ready to across this information, is very helpful for me. Lunch in Blaine

  5. Nice post.

    Hi, Great.. Tutorial is just awesome..It is really helpful for a newbie like me.. I am a regular follower of your blog. Really very informative post you shared here. Kindly keep blogging.

    Security testing services

  6. Needed to compose one simple thing yet thanks for the suggestions that you are contributed here. Would like to read this blog regularly to get more updates regarding Software Testing Company in India and Software Testing Services

  7. Great Article. Kindly share more article on testing.

    Automation Testing Service

  8. Migration of data center could become a serious issue due to its risky nature.

  9. Good Post with valuable content. Thanks for Sharing. Looking forward to reading more such articles on your blog. Cheers!
    We provide best-in-class software testing services. Our website is

  10. I was very interested in the article , it’s quite inspiring I should admit. I like visiting your site since I always come across interesting articles like this one. Keep sharing! Regards. Read more about

    Selenium Training in Chennai | Certification | Online Courses

    selenium training in chennai

    selenium training in chennai

    selenium online training in chennai

    selenium training in bangalore

    selenium training in hyderabad

    selenium training in coimbatore

    selenium online training

  11. Awesome, I’m really thankful to you for this amazing blog. Visit Ogen Infosystem for creative website designing and development services in Delhi, India.
    Best Website Designing Company in Delhi

  12. software testing company in India
    Thanks for sharing such a nice post about Pathway Exploratory Testing.
    very interesting and informative post.
    please keep sharing.

  13. I use to read the blogs on daily bases, but today i found your blog quite interesting and unique, providing the great information and helpful to all. Keep it up and waiting for your latest updates thanks. We offers multiple services in digital marketing, some of our services are:
    Digital marketing Company
    SMM Services
    PPC Services in Delhi
    Website Design & Development Packages
    Web Development Packages
    Web Development Package
    Social Media Management Packages
    Social Media Management Services

  14. software testing company in India
    software testing company in Hyderabad
    Nice and amazing blog.
    Thanks for sharing such an amazing blog with us.
    please keep sharing.

  15. I think this is the best article today. Thanks for taking your own time to discuss this topic, I feel happy about that curiosity has increased to learn more about this topic. Keep sharing your information regularly for my future reference.Excellent blog admin. This is what I have looked. Check out the following links for QA services
    Test automation software
    Best automated testing software
    Mobile app testing services

  16. I think this is the best article today. Thanks for taking your own time to discuss this topic, I feel happy about that curiosity has increased to learn more about this topic. Keep sharing your information regularly for my future reference.Excellent blog admin. This is what I have looked. Check out the following links for QA services
    Test automation software
    Best automated testing software
    Mobile app testing services

  17. Thank you for sharing superb information. I am hoping the same best effort from you in the future as well. This is really a nice and informative, containing all information and also has a great impact on the new technology. Excellent blog admin. This is what I have looked. Check out the following links for Software Testing

  18. We are used to the fact that we know only religious and public holidays and celebrate only them.Iamlinkfeeder Iamlinkfeeder Iamlinkfeeder


  19. Nice post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely useful info particularly the ultimate section 🙂 I take care of such information a lot. I was seeking this certain information for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.
    Impact of coronavirus on education in India Essay

  20. igrs telangana portal is the all type services provide in telangana state

  21. One of the best articles is this. I am looking for this article for a long time. At last, I found this on your website. Many many thanks for sharing your content.
    Bangla Calendar 2022
    Cool and beautiful stylish name


  22. Teacup Poodles are an adorable, friendly and loving dog. Their small size means they can adapt to any environment and they don't teacup poodle for salehave a lot of care needs.hairless cats for sale Ensure that you give them the right amount of food,exercise them every day and play games with them and they will love you forever!

  23. Sir apki website par original content diya jata ha muje apke dyra di gyi jankari bhout acchi lagi agar ap moje yh bta ske ki agla airtical kab ayega your very very knowledge full airtical thanks sir:
    short story in hindi motivational

  24. Nice post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specially Self Storage care for such info a lot.
    Self Storage in Long Island City
    Self Storage in Forest Hills

  25. I am very happy when this blog post read because blog post written in good manner and write on good topic. Thanks for sharing valuable information…
    NIFT Coaching Center Delhi
    nift preparation institute in delhi
    NIFT situation test

  26. This paragraph presents clear idea designed for the new people of blogging, that truly how to do blogging and site-building.


  27. Avez-vous un problème de spam sur ce blog? Je suis également blogueuse et je voulais connaître votre situation; beaucoup d'entre nous ont mis au point de belles méthodes et nous cherchons à échanger des techniques avec d'autres, n'hésitez pas à me envoyer un courriel si vous êtes intéressés.

  28. Top Notch article, it is particularly valuable! I unobtrusively began in this, and I'm transforming into more familiar close by inside the focal point of it better! Delights, articulation war more and hauling continuing extraordinary! Memory Card Data Recovery Software With Crack

  29. May this Independence Day bring unity and prosperity to Pakistan. May the stories of bravery of our heroes be recalled and may we join hands to make our country ...Independence Day Pakistan Quotes

  30. This blog is really helpful for the public .easily understand,
    Thanks for published,hoping to see more high quality article like this.

  31. Read Complete Full Stack Developer Course in Chennai from Top Companies? Experience a unique integrated development course in Chennai with Infycle Technologies. They have also added many technical courses with more than 100 classes to create opportunities to join multinational companies with good salaries. For any other questions, please call us at 7504633633 or 7502633633.

  32. I really appreciate your valuable efforts and it was very helpful for me. Thank you so much...!
    Spousal Support Calculator
    Spousal Support Virginia


  33. Very innovative post! This post is very interesting and thanks for sharing it with us...
    Divorce in Virginia with Child
    Divorce Attorney in Fairfax

  34. Awesome information! Likewise fantastic blog here, it is really useful for me. Keep doing...!
    lawyer for bankruptcy near me
    bankruptcy lawyers near me now