Risk Mitigation Using Exploratory and Technical Testing

“Risk Keeps Testing In Business’” – Alan Richardson

We were thrilled to have Alan Richardson, author of the popular books “Dear Evil Tester”, “Java for Testers” and “Selenium Simplified” join us for a webinar titled ‘Risk Mitigation Using Exploratory and Technical Testing’. We had a great turnout and will highlight some of the key take aways from the webinar in this blog post.

But first, here is the link to the on-demand webinar and check out the slide share below:


Risks Can Be Based Off Of Beliefs 

In testing, people often believe that some things will go wrong more than others. Because those beliefs are limited and the range of risks are not, we need to somehow go beyond our beliefs and look at tools and processes for accomplishing that. This helps mitigate risk. If we limit testing by our beliefs, our options are limited by our model or view of the world. Alan explained that testers must go further and better than that –  asking questions like ‘what else?’ ‘What else’ can be answered through exploratory and technical testing.

One way to define risk

Everything we do has risk, it’s everywhere. But before we can start working towards improved risk mitigation in software testing, it’s important to establish a common definition and understanding of what risk is within their organization or for the specific project.  

So what is risk? Alan explains that the common sense definition and approach of risk is simply “something that might go wrong”, but people mostly get hung up on the probability part of defining risk. If you want a simple risk identification process; fear everything. This mantra is not the most sophisticated view of risk, but it’s the easiest one.

With every risk comes an opportunity in testing

Alan calls it a secondary gain – secondary or unrecognized benefits. Alan provided a few hypothetical scenarios of secondary gain listed below:

  • Risk keeps us in business
  • Process risk justifies our ‘standard’
  • Not enough time means we never have to finish
  • Not enough time means we don’t have to learn
  • Secondary Gain is a massive risk to change
    • Identify secondary gain
    • change your attitude to it

Keep Learning

At the end of the day, Alan explained that ‘You don’t have to know everything. There are a lot of ways to manage risk using exploratory and technical testing but the great thing is, if you learn in small chunks, apply what you learn during your testing, then you will keep learning and keeping your knowledge up to date.’

Watch the on-demand webinar to learn how risk leads to exploratory testing and get insight into building a technical testing model.

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