The Qualitative & Intangible Benefits of Exploratory Testing – White Board Friday

Happy White Board Friday! Today we will be talking about the qualitative & intangible benefits of Exploratory Testing.

Hey, everyone. Welcome to Whiteboard Friday. Today we are going to be talking about: Why even bother with exploratory testing? There are two main benefits of exploratory testing. One is on the qualitative side and the other is the intangibles, which I’m actually really excited to talk about later on in this presentation.

On the qualitative side, you’ll see that one of the things we notice is that when you actually go through and design a test case traditionally, and execute a test case, it takes up to seven times longer for you to actually fulfill that whole life cycle. If you think about it, with the traditional test case design, you’re adding steps, expected results, descriptions, pre-conditions, all of these things add to the time it takes you to actually go about testing that. With exploratory testing, you’re not getting into all that granularity. So you’re really a bunch of time.

The other thing with exploratory testing is it solves that issue where you are trying to find more defects before you actually push those out into production. Everyone wants to find all the defects they can before they push their release out into production.  We’ve seen that studies show that exploratory testing…Actually, you can discover about 11% more defects doing an exploratory testing method because what you’re really doing is you’re increasing the code coverage that goes around that pre-released software. Usually, what we are doing is that, through exploratory testing, we’re creating sessions and charters, things like that that are outside of just traditional automated testing to really expand the scope of the application we haven’t explored before.

On the intangible side, we see that one of the main reasons to do exploratory testing is to keep your top talent. James Bach, a great thought leader in the space, he kind of said this, the fact that when traditional test cases and scripting that you are walking and going down. What usually happens is that you put on blinders and you’re self-directed in this one location to where all the intellectual processes that you would normally do to figure would where defects are, where the application has gone wrong, that usually is not utilized in a traditional test case setup and also execution of that. So with exploratory testing, what you are doing is, you are able to expand your mind. You’re able to use that intellectual property that you have inside of your own body to then find defects, test out the application. As we all know, we don’t want our testers just to be robots. We want them to be thinking and also adding value to the company that’s beyond just checking off things.

The second thing on the intangible side is the rapid feedback that exploratory testing does. Everyone wants to know from the product owner to the end user to the stakeholder. They want to know right away what feedback you have for them before you release that product into production. If there are any changes that need to occur, they want to know right away. Exploratory helps with that by having those debrief sessions and having that rapid feedback as soon as the testing has been completed.

Lastly, we see all these smiling faces down here. This is really referring back to the stakeholder testing that you’re going to be involved with. All stakeholder testing is primarily done through exploratory testing. Even if they don’t really actually go through a certain exploratory session or charter, what they are really doing is validating what is actually being delivered to them. The best way they do that is using their subject matter expertise and actually going in the application and incorporating some exploratory testing. As we all know, the more exploratory testing you get your stakeholder to do, the more feedback they are going to give you before the release happens, and you will be able to incorporate that before it gets over to production. So these are two benefits, both qualitative and intangible. Thank you for stopping by one Whiteboard Friday, and we’ll see you next time.

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