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What is Exploratory Testing?

In this article, I want to touch on one of the most interesting approaches to software testing, which, unfortunately, is not often used by testers in their daily work.

In my opinion, one of the great advantages of the job of a “testing engineer” is that it is in many ways a creative job that allows you to imagine yourself in the place of service and production workers dealing with various software products.

Working with a large number of programs related to different domain areas, testers often think about the following:

  • How to determine how fully tested the system is, is the maximum test coverage provided?
  • Would it be sufficient to test only scenarios based on the functional specification to ensure a high-quality system?

Performing a bunch of scenario tests day after day, we come to the fact that more and more often we begin to confirm already known information about the tested system, rather than learn a new one. The monotonous repetition of our actions leads to the loss of tension when working with a software product, you lose attention, vigilance, and sharpness of perception. As a result, the product starts to lose quality.

How to deal with this? The answer is simple – take a different approach. More “lively” and creative. For example, research.

Where do I start?

First of all, you need to imagine yourself as the end user who uses the application for the first time. To do this most effectively, you need to clearly answer the following questions:

  • What is the target group of users – who are they (accountants, marketers, bank, or insurance employees)?
  • What are the daily tasks of users? What is their purpose for using the product?
  • What are the typical tasks that an application should solve for this group of users?
  • How does the product inform the user about its capabilities? How does it “hint” them in the process?
  • Is the app easy to use? How reliable and secure is it?

The answers to these questions will help you quickly identify the range of tests you are going to do. Imagining yourself, for example, as an accountant, approach your work not from the position of a tester working on a specification, but from the point of view of an accountant who has the task of preparing a quarterly or annual report, making payments, and calculating profits. Review the answers to the questions that you have identified for yourself when studying the intended purpose of the software product. This will help you keep up.

With this approach, improvisation, backed up by experience and the right skills, can lead to exciting discoveries that allow an application to adapt to new risks.

Skillful exploratory testing can be considered one of the most important ways to test software applications. Very often they underestimate its value and refuse to carry it out, considering it “careless” and not noticing a certain consistency in research.

Progress does not stand still, and every day the set of tools and processes is replenished with new ones. However, tools and processes cannot work on their own – they require human intelligence. In other words, tools and processes only help the tester achieve the desired result in organizing quality testing.

woman with a laptop

Alex Kara
By Alex Kara on Aug 30, 2021
QA Testing Types