Exploratory testing is an impromptu QA testing technique which is used to discover unspecified yet significant defects before regression testing. In essence, rather than preparing test cases, testers just log into the application and start exploring each area randomly to find bugs. It’s all about the game of thinking. Since every tester has a different mindset, the ability to explore the application differs. Exploratory testing not only helps in identifying bugs but also gives us an idea of future test cases associated with vulnerable areas can be incorporated in regression suite.
How to Run Exploratory Tests
Exploratory tests are more productive if done manually. The reason of not using automated exploratory testing is that the already designed test scripts are static and test data is dynamic. We cannot perform unpremeditated steps through these scripts. On the other hand, we consider that manually performing the random steps is best for exploratory testing since it is totally open ended. Every tester needs to play around according to their mind-set. Apart from this freestyle exploratory testing, we have two more subsets of it – Strategy-based exploratory testing and Scenario-based exploratory testing which focus on specific functionality or user flows within the application.
Exploratory testers must interact with application in same manner as end user would be. For instance, while filling a form end user mainly users Tab key to focus next field, testers should try the emulate the users’ behavior. Exploratory testing is mainly conducted by experienced QA professionals because they had come across many issues related to that application in previous projects or organizations.
When Should We Use Exploratory Testing?
In the development cycle of an individual feature or application, exploratory testing is generally executed when a feature or application is near to its completion so that testers can gain a more accurate view of how the application will work in production. For some fast-moving teams, exploratory testing is used earlier in development phase to check for new issues and regression phase after every new piece of code is shipped.
What Are the Benefits of Exploratory Testing?
Exploratory testing is a crucial step in determining the overall quality of an application because it uncovers many unknown bugs. A major advantage of exploratory testing is that you don’t have to spend time in designing the test cases or scenarios and test data. Testers can directly dive into the application and share their feedback soon.
What are the Disadvantages of Exploratory Testing?
While exploratory testing is a well proven way to discover the new issues or defects but it’s really hard to rely only on Exploratory testing. In Agile projects, exploratory testing is advised to be done before regression testing of every release and after Product integration. One more disadvantage is that if you will never know when you have to stop the exploratory testing as there are not documented test cases. As we know exploratory testers perform random steps, replicating bugs found during exploratory testing is sometimes challenging to both testers developers. So, it would be a better idea to use screen capturing tools.
Crowd-sourcing and Exploratory Testing
There are many QA companies around which host their experienced and unique tester to test your application on staging or production environments. They will return the reports containing the defects discovered, execution screenshots and video links to respective bugs. I usually prefer crowd-sourcing for exploratory testing, because tester have vast experience in testing the application. They have good idea where an application usually fails based on their experience of testing similar application.