Embrace Exploratory Testing, and Keep Your Talent

What happens when you are stuck with the same repetitive tasks day in and day out? I’m guessing that this would lead to boredom and the frustration would lead seek to find fulfillment where you could use your brain rather than your motor skills. When I graduated college, I went to work at a summer job in a manufacturing plant where I did the same few things every day. I filled boxes with widgets, stapled notebooks together, and then would move them to be picked up for. Although I was grateful for the job, I dreaded going to work because I knew I would continue to do the same repetitive task day after day.

If you aren’t careful, your testing team will feel the same way.

When testers are tasked with creating the same test case template, executing the same run, or mining for the same test data on a daily and weekly basis, we become bored. Back in the old waterfall days, my favorite time testing was during User Acceptance Testing (UAT) because the end users embraced Exploratory Testing without even knowing it. End users never followed a script, or felt constrained to repeat tasks over and over again. Since they were the subject matter experts (SME), they simply needed to map out or chart what they were going to cover then seek out to accomplish this goal for software validation.

Exploratory testing allows users to become the SMEs that you want them to be rather than simply following a script. And while scripted testing has value, as James Bach notes, “…exploratory testers take the view that writing down test scripts and following them tends to disrupt the intellectual processes that make testers able to find important problems quickly.” This type of testing empowers them to be the tester you need them to be: autonomous, creative, and investigative.

Additional Benefits:

-Detect 11% more bugs pre-release that would normally add $1,000s to production costs if not detected. (Source: Defect Detection Efficiency: Test Case Based vs. Exploratory Testing)

-Provide rapid feedback to stakeholders on newly released products by employing the rapid software testing approach. More feedback leads to better software before release occurs.

-Increase code coverage by dedicating charters and sessions to applications area that have yet to be explored.

-Increase stakeholder testing that is traditionally done through ad hoc validation.

For more on how QASymphony can help in your exploratory testing, check out qTest Explorer and watch a webinar that we discuss this exciting topic.

Ryan Yackel is a Senior Product Specialist for QASymphony, striving to ensure the continued success of existing and prospective members of the qTest community. As a former barista, his love of specialty coffee knows no bounds. Feel free to drop him a line at ryanyackel@qasymphony.com

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