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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mission of testing and what are the situations where exploratory testing can be practiced?

The goal of testing needs to be understood first before the work begins. This could be the overall mission of the test project or could be a particular functionality or scenario. The mission is achieved by asking the right questions about the product, designing tests to answer these questions and executing tests to get the answers. Quite often, the tests do not completely answer. In such cases, we need to explore. The test procedure is recorded and the result status too.

The tester also needs to have a general plan in mind, though may not be very constrained. The tester needs to have the ability to design good test strategy, execute good tests, find important problems and report them. Out of box thinking is necessary.

The time available for testing is a critical factor. Time falls short due to following reasons:
- In a project life cycles, the time and resources required in creating the test strategy, test plan and design, execution and reporting is overlooked. Exploratory testing becomes useful since the test plan, design and execution happen together.
- Time falls short when testing is essential on a short period of notice.
- Time falls short when a new feature is implemented.
- Time falls short when change request come in much later stage of the cycle when much of the testing is done.

In such situations, exploratory testing becomes very useful. A basic strategy of exploratory testing is to have a general plan of attack but also allows yourself to deviate from it in a short period of time. In a session of exploratory testing, a set of test ideas, written notes and bug reports are the results. This can be reviewed by the test lead or a test manager.
- It is very important to identify the test strategy and the scope of the test carried. It is dependent on the project approach to testing.
- The tester crafts the test by systematically exploring the product. He defines his approach, analyze the product, and evaluate the risk.
- The written notes and scripts of the tester are reviewed by the test lead or manager.

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