Just like its name suggests, exploratory testing is a form of testing that emphasises on the tester’s freedom to explore & investigate a software product. Exploratory testing gives software testers the freedom to design & execute the tests while exploring the product.
What Is Exploratory Testing
Exploratory is described as simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution. Here, test cases are not created in advance. The test design & execution is done simultaneously or at the same time. The tester uses the data gathered from the execution of his first set of tests to conduct the next set of tests.
This form of testing is highly useful in cases where test cases to be run cannot be determined in advance, a scenario that often arises in the early stage of product development when the app is not stable & prone to changes.
When To Do Exploratory Testing
Exploratory testing is useful in all cases where testing scenarios cannot be determined in advance like the following cases:
- When you have to provide rapid feedback on product quality in a short span of time.
- When the product is in early development stage when the system is not stable.
- When you want to explore the scope & variations of a defect that is found.
- When scripted tests are not detecting many errors.
- When the requirements for the project are vague & it is difficult to determine test cases to be run.
Significance of Exploratory Testing In Improving Software Quality
Manual exploratory testing can be used for early stage products before their release and it can also be used to overcome the limitations of existing scripted tests. Exploratory testing is a cognitively structured approach that is effective in finding bugs. Testers have the freedom to investigate even the smallest aspect of an app, enabling QA teams to uncover issues that were missed during the scripted tests. Exploratory testing thus enables product improvement in the following ways:
1) Better Analysis of Product
Exploratory testing gives testers the freedom to execute more test cases and cover different testing scenarios. Creativity is encouraged and testers are likely to find more realistic bugs from an end user perspective. By collecting different data & analysing different aspects of the software, they can provide new insights to developers to improve the technology and minimise the business risks.
2) Quick Feedback
As different tasks are executed simultaneously, this form of testing saves time & enables quick feedback to developers for product improvement. There is no need to create test documents or designs to execute the test cycles. The shorter feedback loop implies that the management can identify business risks faster and fix high priority issues in time.
3) Find Critical Bugs
Exploratory testing enables management to find the most crucial bugs in a short span of time. Chances of finding new bugs with the same scripted tests are lesser. With exploratory testing, testers can explore new scenarios where programs are most likely to fail.
4) Effective for Testing Dynamic Products
Exploratory testing involves investigation of the entire software architecture. Testers don’t have to follow any series of scripted tests or rules before moving to a new feature. They can explore different test environments, which speeds up the process of bug detection. Testers can hence carefully observe & analyse the product behaviour.
5) Improve Efficiency of Scripted Tests
With exploratory testing, it is possible to improve existing test designs & create better test scripts. It acts as an additional check to ascertain the accuracy of scripted tests. Inputs & data collected from exploratory testing can be used to improve existing tests & diversify testing.
The most effective testing strategy combines the power of exploratory & automation testing. With exploratory testing, skilled testers who understand the business goals & technology can focus their time & effort in exploring various aspects of the software just like a real user. New ideas & insights presented through exploratory test cycles thus plays a crucial role in making the software better for the end users.
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