Exploratory Testing - A Quick Guide


Exploratory testing is Simultaneous exploration, design and execution. That means a tester is not referring to any pre-designed test cases during exploratory testing. There are two aims in exploratory testing:

A - To learn about the system under test - Exploration.

B - To apply existing knowledge about the system under test to find bugs - Design and Execution.

Other characteristics of Exploratory Testing are:

  • It is an interactive test process
  • Using information gained while testing to design new and better tests
  • Formal, which means it is different from error-guessing and ad-hoc testing
  • Testers have skills to listen, read, think and report rigorously and effectively

When is Exploratory Testing Applicable?

Exploratory Testing is most applicable when:

  • There is little or no specification is available
  • Investigating a particular defect
  • Investigating a particular risk – to evaluate the need for scripted tests
  • There is no time to specify and script tests
  • We want to diversify testing

How to Prepare for Exploratory Testing?

For preparing and executing exploratory tests, test charters are used with items like:

  • What will be tested (scope)
  • What will not be tested (out of scope)
  • Why (questions to be answered)
  • How (brainstorm)
  • Expected problems
  • Reference

How to Report Results of Exploratory Testing?

For describing the results of the exploratory tests, session sheets are used:

  • Test coverage outline
  • Name of the tester who performed the exploratory testing session
  • Test execution log
  • Defects found
  • Quality indicator (number of major defects per hour)
  • New risks encountered
  • Issues, questions, anomalies

There will also be a debriefing at the end of the session for discussing priority of defects, risks mitigated, etc.