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Exploratory Testing is all about contexts and learning… (Testing My Way)

On March 27, 2013, in Syndicated, by Association for Software Testing
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A couple of days ago, one of the members from another team pinged me on Skype and shoot this question.
Do you have a template for Exploratory testing?
I was a little surprised and asked her what she meant by an “exploratory testing template” and whether she could give an example. The response surprised me even further..
I was asking for sample exploratory test cases. Do you have a sheet of test cases to run exploratory testing?
I was a bit taken aback by her question and replied:
“Exploratory testing means there are no test cases :)”
She: One of our ex-colleagues wants to track sanity and exploratory testing in his new company. He wants some templates for this purpose
Me: You won’t do exploratory testing with a predefined set of test case templates. I’m going to hit you if you ask for sample test case templates to perform exploratory testing! (Angry Smiley). If you want to track exploratory testing, follow Session Based Test Management. I can share some links to point you there.
She: What about Sanity then?
Me: I don’t know Sanity Testing 😛 If my understanding is correct, you just check whether the app is fit for further rigorous testing.
She: What about tracking it?
Me: It would be better for him to identify the happy paths and perform them on the application he is testing. Put them in an Excel and mark Pass/Fail. I’ve never really done that so can’t comment on the effectiveness. Our <a common friend’s name> has done something like that for her project, so she would be able to provide more insight.
She now tries to send me an XLS but cancels it before I accept the file transfer.
Me: What is that Template you just tried to send? Send it again pls.
She: Nooo! You are going to hit me!
Me: No No! I want to correct you if you are doing it wrong!
She: Okay! (sends the file again)
I check the file – It is a simple XLS, with ID, Test and Pass/Fail Column.
Me: Well, that is a good template to start with – just remove the Pass/Fail column 🙂
She: Then how we will track pass/fail?
Me: You have to understand that exploratory testing or testing to be precise is not solely intended to find defects.. We are actually finding information about the product we are testing – in other words we are sort of learning about the product while doing exploratory testing. Like, what will it do when we perform this action? what if I hit enter without placing the focus on a specific button.. so on.. So it is not necessary that Pass or Fail will be there. If there are obvious failures like error pages – mark them in Red, simple 🙂
She: Okay! got it! That means we will do exploratory for learning purpose right? Then why leads asked us to do a exploratory during release time?
Me: Because they have not yet understood the term exploratory testing. if you look at the explanation I gave above – consider this:
When are we doing a new release? – when there are new features, bug fixes or the like. That means there are some new things to learn in that application. We do exploratory testing as they say and we *might* find defects. It is perfectly all right if we don’t find them as well – it could mean that the new features are implemented well and we couldn’t find any problem in the contexts we tried. However, it doesn’t mean that the product could be defect free! There might be some contexts where the product can fail as well. But the point to note is –  every exploratory testing session gives more information (learning) to you 🙂

She: Its interesting 🙂

Me: If you do not have much work now, do read the contents of the following package. Will be more clear.

<Sends her a zip file consists of SBTM PDFs and Rapid Reporter>

Me: I cant give more clearer info than this package 🙂 There is a little tool in there as well – called Rapid reporter. it will be helpful to create exploratory testing notes in CSV format. So it is easy to modify in excel. it can track time as well. Problem solved. 🙂

She: Very much solved! 🙂

 

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