Why Exploratory testing is important especially for SMEs!
The current software industry trend is inclined towards test automation and artificial intelligence; it is true to an extent still we can’t ignore the importance of Exploratory testing. It is well accepted across the industry that nothing can replace the intelligence of a human tester and consequences of irrational user behaviour.
As the name suggests, this is what it does. A human interaction with the software to find out possible defects in the major flows. It doesn’t require analysis of the requirements and designing of the test scenarios. In fact according to the industry experts, exploratory testing should be done by those testers who don’t have a previous exposure of the application. Moreover they shouldn’t be concerned of documents rather focus on the overall look, feel and behaviour of the application.
According to Cem Kaner(Testing guru) it is , “A style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester to continually optimize the quality of his/her work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project.”
Though this testing seems to be ad-hoc but it is not unstructured ; based upon the intiution of the tester and the results he/she gets while performing the task. ET is not a formal approach and it focusses upon maximum execution rather than preparation. It takes minimal time to get maximum defects so that the developers can start defect removals as soon as they get the report. However , Exploratory testing can be implemented along with other types of testing that will benefit the product eventually as it would save time and effort.
The types of exploratory testing
Though the exploratory testing is just Black-Box testing, however there are different approaches to perform ET.
Session-Based ET dedicates a time-restricted session where the tester executes testing uninterrupted and manages the reports/metrices. No matter what type of testing we acquire, generating reports is very important .
Pair-Based ET is when two testers perform testing together while sharing the same PC. The benefit of this approach is that testing has two different testers’ views as both of them communicates their thoughts on the application and paths simultaneously.
Benefits of Exploratory testing
1.) Generating the scenarios on-the go
As it promotes thinking on-the go , sometimes uncover major defects which otherwise would hard to predict. The tester doesn’t go by pre-defined instructions so he/she can explore the various paths and hop around the application.
2.) Learning and Execution
It saves lot of time as there are no separate knowledge transfer sessions given to the testers . That’s the main reason why many small entrepreneur love this testing. Also, when the tester learns by himself while execution , it opens new paths to explore for him.
As the tester is not proceeding based on instructions, there is lot of flexibility for him to move. He has to rely on the imagination to execute testing. Moreover, the test execution phase doesn’t have to wait for the testcases to be ready.
4.) Non-dependence on Automation tools
As the most important entry criteria for the ET is a Human Tester interaction, that’s the whole idea behind it so there is no need for the expensive Automation tools and skills. However it is always suggested that if possible, the team should introduce Automation at the right time for the project.
It should be performed by the experienced testers as it is run by the tester’s understanding. Usually, the beginning phase is the best time to perform this type of testing as you want to find maximum defects in the that phase. However, it is ideal for the situations when you have limited time. It is also said that it is a boon for SMEs as they have low budget for testing and shortage of time.
Conclusion : Exploratory testing involves continuous learning to evolve constantly but the results would be great.
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