Friday, April 19, 2013
The miseducation of Exploratory Testing
I've been noticing a phenomenon lately, that is the over/misuse of the term Exploratory testing. As many testers seems to have kind of settled for the Exploratory testing paradigm and have moved to new frontiers like checking vs testing, it seems many other parties are really getting into it, and of course understanding it in different ways.
Couple of examples of this phenomena:
1. In my final days as a consultant one of our sales people, had visited a customer who had no experiences about testing, but specifically requested the sales man to give a offer on Exploratory testing
2. I just looked at the program of Agile testing days 2013, and really many of the testing related talks were labeled about Exploratory testing, although to me many seemed to talk/practice testing in generally
It's nice that the Exploratory testing is gaining momentum, but I am also a bit worried about it. The examples listed above could be supported by many others, which kind of give me the impression that ET is becoming another buzzword, (just like Agile).
I think talking&learning about Exploratory testing is a great thing, and if you are involved with testing and are not that familiar with the concept I definitely suggest to start learning about it. Reading stuff from James Bach and Michael Bolton is not a bad start at all. But whilst getting into it, I would want to remind you about a couple of things I had to learn the hard way.
1. Exploratory testing != unplanned testing
2. There is no such thing as unexploratory testing
3. Exploratory testing != good testing
If you want good testing to be done, or if you want to talk about good testing, I think there's nothing wrong in calling it by the name of Good testing. In case everybody might not still agree on what Exploratory testing means.
Just a thought.