Speed is the biggest requisite for the success of any software product. While releasing new software versions to clients, quick & effective testing feedback is crucial for a successful launch. Undetected bugs can cost the business a lot in terms of reputation & brand value.
Exploratory testing is highly beneficial in finding critical bugs in a short span of time. Unlike documented test cases, exploratory testing does not rely on pre-set test designs or rules. Testers with sound knowledge of the business goals, end users and the technology explore the application. By browsing through & using the application like a real user, testers are more likely to find issues that customers might face. Often the most crucial bugs in the system are found by testers when they play around the software just like an end user in the real world.
This white paper covers everything you need to know about exploratory testing including top tips & benefits:
Merits Of Exploratory Testing
The following are the key benefits of exploratory testing:
1) Better Utilisation Of Tester Talent
Exploratory testing allows QA teams to explore & investigate the different faucets of an app. Testers can demonstrate their personal skills & experience by identifying opportunities for improvements in the software.
2) No Preparation Required
In exploratory testing, tests are designed and executed at the same time. There is no need to create test cases or scripts for executing the tests.
3) Quick Feedback
As different tasks are executed simultaneously, this form of testing saves time & enables quick feedback to developers for product improvement.
Challenges In Exploratory Testing
Although exploratory testing has many advantages, it is not suitable for every scenario and it comes with its own challenges in execution. The key challenges are as follows:
- It is a highly skilled activity that requires access to experienced software testers for planning & execution of the test cycles.
- It requires careful documentation for reproducing & fixing the bugs found.
- It is not effective in all scenarios especially in case of a large project where coverage is the focus.
The challenge of getting the best talent in software testing can be met by relying on crowd testing platforms. Skilled crowd testers with expertise in requisite domains can successfully plan & execute exploratory test cycles for clients. Execution of an effective exploratory testing skill requires a good testing strategy.
Best Practises In Exploratory Testing
Exploratory testing involves investigation of the software beyond the normal requirements. To get the most out of exploratory test cycles, here are some Top Tips For Exploratory Testing:
1) Understand The App & The Business Goals
Although exploratory testing gives complete freedom to testers to test any aspect of the app, it is time-consuming & ineffective to try & cover everything in one shot. Understanding the technology, the business requirement & the purpose of the app will help in identification of key areas that needs to be tested. Factor in the development goals, the life span of the app, any laws that govern the app & the end user expectations arising from using previous versions of the app or similar software products. By understanding the app & focusing on the business goals, QA teams can optimize exploratory test cycles to identify bugs in features that matter the most.
2) Don’t Script The Tests
The aim of exploratory testing is to find defects that are not detected through other forms of testing, by exploring the product. The objective is to find unknown bugs that are missed out by detailed test scripts. Real users don’t have a scripted document while randomly using a feature in the app.
Try new approaches like a real user to test scenarios that are different from the standard scripted expectations. For this form of investigation, it is more effective to plan the tests & explore various aspects of the app without creating scripts in advance. If you do need a few notes to plan your tests & update the stakeholders, you can use one-liners instead of detailed test cases. These are short test cases in a single line that state the purpose of the test. Plan & list out your ideas, instead of creating scripts for executing the tests.
3) Select The Right Testing Technique That Meets Your Goals
Choose a testing technique that makes it easy for the tester to execute the tests & the stakeholders to interpret the results. Factor in the availability of time, testing tools & resources for execution of the test cycles.
4) Empower Developers In Fixing Issues
A short feedback loop during the exploratory test cycles will empower developers with the quick feedback they need to fix the bugs that are found. A collaborative environment that enables testers to work closely with developers will help in sharing test results and information faster. This in turn would help the development team to fix issues and improve product quality easily.
5) Document Findings Clearly
It is crucial to document the findings of exploratory testing in a clear & concise manner. This enables developers to reproduce & rectify the bugs found. Note down the purpose of testing, the way the test was executed & the details on issues found. Tracking the purpose and findings of the tests will help in easy identification of business risks, if any.
6) Use Exploratory Testing Along With Automated Tests
While automated tests are scripted to verify the accuracy of expected behaviours or patterns in the software, exploratory testing helps in finding critical issues, undetected in scripted tests that could potentially break the software. A testing strategy that encompasses both automated testing & exploratory testing can help in achieving both adequate coverage & also in gaining end user insights on product quality. If defects are found in exploratory, steps can be added to automate & prevent the issue from occurring again.
7) Make Performance & Non- Functional Testing Exploratory
Performance & non-functionality testing can also be made exploratory. Testers can check if the app is responsive enough on slow devices used by end-users. Further, the exploratory method can be used for non-functional tests including for compatibility testing, security testing, usability testing, reliability testing , compliance testing & localization testing. Checks can be made to ensure that the app is secure, user friendly, translatable and works well on multiple device & browser configurations.
8) Know The Distinction Between Exploratory Testing & User Acceptance Testing
Avoid confusing user acceptance testing & exploratory testing. While both forms of testing focus on finding bugs, they are distinct. User acceptance tests are high level tests conducted to verify if specific user requirements are met. You can use exploratory testing in user acceptance testing.
With effective exploratory testing, product managers can know what their product is capable of & where it lags behind. Exploratory testing is highly effective for finding critical bugs in a short span of time and is ideal in an agile environment for releasing high quality software products.
Crowdsourced exploratory testing powered by 99tests, helps Teligenz develop smart apps faster
Learn how crowdsourced exploratory and functional testing powered by 99tests, helped Teligenz in developing smart apps in a cost-effective and time-saving manner. Mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our software testing services for mobile and web apps.