Exploratory Testing Is Now in Session


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The nature of exploration, coupled with the ability of testers to rapidly apply their skills and experience, make exploratory testing a widely used test approach—especially when time is short. Unfortunately, exploratory testing often is dismissed by project managers who assume that it is not reproducible, measurable, or accountable. If you have these concerns, you may find a solution in a technique called session-based test management (SBTM), developed by Jon Bach and his brother James to specifically address these issues. In SBTM, testers are assigned areas of a product to explore, and testing is time boxed in “sessions” that have mission statements called “charters” to create a meaningful and countable unit of work. Jon discusses—and you practice—the skills of exploration using the SBTM approach. He demonstrates a freely available, open source tool to help manage your exploration and prepares you to implement SBTM in your test organization.

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Exploratory Testing Is Now in Session

  1. 1. TI AM Tutorial 4/30/13 8:30AM Exploratory Testing Is Now in Session Presented by: Jon Bach eBay, Inc. Brought to you by: 340 Corporate Way, Suite 300, Orange Park, FL 32073 888-268-8770 ∙ 904-278-0524 ∙ sqeinfo@sqe.com ∙ www.sqe.com
  2. 2. Jon Bach Jon Bach works for eBay (San Jose) as a QA director for the Buyer Experience team. Formerly a manager of corporate intellect and senior test consultant at Quardev, Jon has been in testing since 1995 with experience that includes managing teams at Microsoft, HP, and LexisNexis. The co-inventor (with his brother James) of session-based test management, Jon is an award-winning speaker on test management and exploratory testing. He’s mostly known for his “half-baked” ideas about how to inspire innovation and create a learning culture for test teams. Find Jon on Facebook and Twitter @jbtestpilot. View his presentations at quardev.com/articles and his blog at jonbox.wordpress.com.
  3. 3. Exploratory Testing: Now in Session Jon Bach QE Director, eBay jobach@ebay.com STAR East 2013 eBay Inc. confidential
  4. 4. Testing is about DISCOVERY… eBay Inc. confidential
  5. 5. …finding emerging context eBay Inc. confidential
  6. 6. enhanced by conference… eBay Inc. confidential
  7. 7. ...affected by inference eBay Inc. confidential
  8. 8. …framed by reference eBay Inc. confidential
  9. 9. “The” ET Definition A style of software testing…   that emphasizes the personal freedom…     and responsibility of the individual tester…       to continually optimize the quality of his/her work…         by treating test­related learning…           test design…             test execution…               and test result interpretation…                 as  mutually supportive activities…                   that run in parallel…                     throughout the project. ­­ Cem Kaner, 2006 eBay Inc. confidential
  10. 10. The agile nature of exploration and the ability of testers to  rapidly apply their skills and experience make exploratory  testing a widely used test approach—especially when  time is short.  But exploratory testing is often dismissed by project  managers who assume that exploratory testing is not  reproducible, measurable, or accountable.  eBay Inc. confidential
  11. 11. Why this tutorial? 1) Exploratory testers want respect:  When testers explore during testing,  they find great bugs.  However, since they often don’t know how to  describe their thinking, it’s considered to be dismissed as “playing around”.    2) The documentation dilemma: Project managers may insist that all testing  be documented, but Agile does not emphasize that. So how to balance  time spent documenting with time spent testing? 3) Your work might be scrutinized: You may have to give a report someday  about something you did that was exploratory – like attending this  conference.  eBay Inc. confidential
  12. 12. A boring (Boeing) story eBay Inc. confidential
  13. 13. On October 30, 2006, Alaska Airlines flight 61, a Boeing 737­200,  N740AS, took off from runway 34 right at Seattle­Tacoma  International Airport, Seattle, Washington.  There were no injuries to the 71 passengers or 5 crewmembers and  there was no damage to the airplane.  The airplane was operating under the provisions of 14 CFR Part  121 and continued uneventfully to its destination of Juneau  International Airport, Juneau, Alaska. eBay Inc. confidential
  14. 14. The Report eBay Inc. confidential
  15. 15. Why the report? 1. The government is collecting statistics on runway incursions, which are  potentially deadly. 2. Since the pilots or ground controllers are subject to reprimand or dismissal  for this sort of thing, a legal record that it happened is necessary. 3. Ground controllers or signage may have caused the problem.  You need a record of the event, and investigation, to discover if  there is another accident waiting to happen. eBay Inc. confidential
  16. 16. Key Idea If you’re not free to think, or learn, and adapt while you test, it’s not exploration. eBay Inc. confidential
  17. 17. My missions for you 1) Discuss — and practice — a way to manage and  measure exploratory testing.  2) See some free tools that support session­based  exploration. 3) Learn why exploratory testing can be thoughtful,  structured, and measurable. 4) Have some fun.  eBay Inc. confidential
  18. 18. A structure for exploration Mission Tactics Story eBay Inc. confidential
  19. 19. Session report My session write­up from exploratory testing for  Agile2010… CHARTER ---------------------------------------------Analyze MapMaker’s View menu functionality and report on areas of potential risk.   #AREAS .LINK OS | Windows 2000 Menu | Strategy | Function Testing Strategy | Functional Analysis START ---------------------------------------------5/30/00 03:20 pm   TESTER ---------------------------------------------Jonathan Bach TASK BREAKDOWN ---------------------------------------------  #DURATION short   #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION 65   #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING 25   #SESSION SETUP 20   eBay Inc. confidential
  20. 20. Exploratory exercise Test this… eBay Inc. confidential
  21. 21. A story of my exploration eBay Inc. confidential
  22. 22. Translation Bug Investigation Test Design and Execution Session Setup eBay Inc. confidential (and Reporting)
  23. 23. How could you accurately report your testing? ? unr e ? eBay Inc. confidential ns c u hea r sed d pte ri ? na ovisatio i mp r ? ? l ?
  24. 24.   One Solution:  The “Session” 1) 2) 3) eBay Inc. confidential Time Box Reviewable Result Debriefing
  25. 25. Time Box: focused effort, fixed duration Short: 60 minutes (+Normal: 90 minutes (+15) Long: 120 minutes (+15) 15) – Brief enough: • for accurate reporting • to allow flexible scheduling • to allow course correction – Long enough: • to get solid testing done • for efficient debriefings eBay Inc. confidential
  26. 26. The deliverable: a session report • Charter – #AREAS  Metrics – – – – – CHARTER ---------------------------------------------Analyze MapMaker’s View menu functionality and report on areas of potential risk.   #AREAS OS | Windows 2000 Menu | et-jsb-010417-c.sesView Strategy | Function Testing Strategy | Functional Analysis  Sample START ---------------------------------------------5/30/00 03:20 pm   TESTER ---------------------------------------------Jonathan Bach   TASK BREAKDOWN ---------------------------------------------  #DURATION short   #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION 65   #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING 25   #SESSION SETUP 20   #DURATION #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION #SESSION SETUP #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING #CHARTER / OPPORTUNITY eBay Inc. confidential • Notes  Bugs – #BUG  Issues – #ISSUE
  27. 27. Debriefing: a talk with the lead The tester answers questions Session metrics are checked Charter may be adjusted Session may be extended  New sessions may be chartered eBay Inc. confidential
  28. 28. Anticipating Scrutiny Agenda: “PROOF” Past Results Obstacles Outlook Feelings Past: What kinds of things did you do? Results: What were your findings? Obstacles: What slowed your mission? Outlook: Where do we go from here? Feelings: How are you feeling about what happened? eBay Inc. confidential
  29. 29. Are you accountable? How did you spend your time? What did you find? Did you need some help / tools? Do you think there’s more to do here? Was this mission reasonable? Agenda: “PROOF” Past Results Obstacles Outlook Feelings eBay Inc. confidential
  30. 30. The real message What’s being asked What they may be thinking What was your mission? Remind me what I told you to do. Why did you do that? How did it go? Were you careful or reckless? What should I be worried about? How far did you get?  Are we closer to shipping? Can you help me know our status? Need anything? Can I speed this along? Do you need more of my time? When will you be done? eBay Inc. confidential Will I get my bonus? I have a new task for you…
  31. 31. eBay sample CHARTER ----------------------------------------------Analyze MapMaker’s View menu functionality and report on areas of potential risk.   #AREAS L INK Menu | et-jsb-010417-c.sesView Strategy | Function Testing Strategy | Functional Analysis START ----------------------------------------------5/30/00 03:20 pm   TESTER ----------------------------------------------Jonathan Bach   TASK BREAKDOWN ----------------------------------------------  #DURATION short   #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION 65   #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING 25   #SESSION SETUP 20"C:Documents and SettingsjobachDesktopLive Siteisrat_sessionsSession_Listing_Promo.txt"   eBay Inc. confidential
  32. 32. Exercise: An “exploration and analysis” session eBay Inc. confidential
  33. 33. When to use SBTM Getting support: “We have thousands of test cases and a huge regression  suite, but some of our best bugs come from ad hoc testing. Why is that?”  Improving skill: “How she finds those great bugs without test cases, I’ll never  know.  I guess some people are just natural explorers ­­ you either have it or  you don’t ­­ and I just don’t have her knack for it.” Earning trust and autonomy:  “The triage team needs more information  about these 3 bugs, can you give me that by the end of the day?” eBay Inc. confidential
  34. 34. Are you accountable? How did you spend your time? What did you find? Did you need some help / tools? Do you think there’s more to do here? Was this mission reasonable? eBay Inc. confidential
  35. 35. Mission brainstorm As a London Underground rider, I want to enter my ticket into the kiosk, Because I want to go to Heathrow. What are the possible outcomes?  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/uk/transport­london/section­6.html eBay Inc. confidential
  36. 36. London Underground Are these all of the possible states?  http://www.faqs.org/faqs/uk/transport­london/section­6.html eBay Inc. confidential
  37. 37. Sources of charters • Documentation / Specifications • Web forums • Previous products • Team members • Competing products • Your expertise • Help files • Manuals eBay Inc. confidential
  38. 38. High-level sources Test Plan Evaluation Model http://www.satisfice.com/tools/tpe­model.pdf Test Planning Checklist http://www.satisfice.com/tools/build­the­plan.pdf Heuristic Test Strategy Model http://www.satisfice.com/tools/satisfice­tsm­4p.pdf eBay Inc. confidential
  39. 39. Key Idea Exploratory testing is a combination of Imagination and Discovery eBay Inc. confidential
  40. 40. How to Discover with Your Imagination CIDTESTDSFDPOTCRUSSPICSTMPLFDSFSCURA Customers Information Developer relations Team Equipment & tools Schedule Test Items Deliverables eBay Inc. confidential Structure Function Data Platform Operations Time Capability Reliability Usability Security Scalability Performance Installability Compatibility Supportability Testability Maintainability Portability Localizability Function testing Domain testing Stress testing Flow testing Scenario testing Claims testing User testing Risk testing Automatic testing
  41. 41. Charters • General charters may be necessary at first: • “Analyze the Insert Picture function” • Specific charters provide better focus, but take more effort to design: • “Test clip art insertion. Focus on stress and flow  techniques, and make sure to insert into a variety of  documents. We’re concerned about resource leaks or  anything else that might degrade performance over time.”  eBay Inc. confidential
  42. 42. Some sample session charters • Installation:  When installed, does Triangle! put any files in the wrong places?  Does it leave any files  for the uninstall? Check the registry keys, use InCtrl to see what changes are made. Installation is new,  so we want to be sure it’s clean. • Boundary testing:  We got word from customer support that there are run­time errors when using  integers over 32000 but no one can repro it.  Best recon is on Win XP Pro with Office 2003 running in  the background.  Sam K. in CSS says you can use his machine, and he also has customer specs. • Ship drill:  Start Triangle! right out of the box.  For example, is the readme ready to go?  We’re waiting  from word on Legal as to the License Agreement, but that shouldn’t hold you up.  Also make sure you hit  Vista and see what issues arise there. • Claims testing: Triangle is meant for first graders, but we plan to ship a version to General Dynamics in  a few months.  Try some usability profiles or personas to see what functions become more or less risky.   Also, discover the algorithm by which Triangle! reports its results.  Is it way off from what a user would  expect.  Does it cause the user to lower their confidence? eBay Inc. confidential
  43. 43. Open-Book Charters for eBay • What item for sale is nearest to you location? Submitted the most and sold the least? What item appears most with no bids? What are the most recent items posted for any given category? Which category has the most items? Which search strings create null queries? What are 3 examples of broad queries vs 3 examples of ambiguous queries? What queries create invalid results? How do you find "sold" items? What is the most common item? What is the most bizarre item? What is the most expensive item? Is it possible to restrict results to one category without the categories field? Which seller has listed the most items which have not sold? What search string takes the longest to return results? Is there a search that works differently on different browsers? What was the highest bid for an item in support of any charity? Find an item that the seller has no business selling! Find an item you find only on eBay, not Amazon. What item could you find that had the most bids? How many eBay stores are there? What is the oldest object (not item) for sale on ebay? Are results different if you are logged in? Try a search on ebay.com and then try the same on on your mobile.  What are the 3 major differences? What item has the greatest difference between the highest and second highest bids? What user has bid the most but won the least? What item has been on eBay the longest?  Is there a way to tell the age of the item ID? Who has sold the most items? Is there a way to find the most commonly misspelled item? What item can be found in the most categories? eBay Inc. confidential
  44. 44. The session report • Charter – #AREAS  Metrics – – – – – CHARTER ---------------------------------------------Analyze MapMaker’s View menu functionality and report on areas of potential risk.   #AREAS OS | Windows 2000 Menu | et-jsb-010417-c.sesView Strategy | Function Testing Strategy | Functional Analysis  Sample START ---------------------------------------------5/30/00 03:20 pm   TESTER ---------------------------------------------Jonathan Bach   TASK BREAKDOWN ---------------------------------------------  #DURATION short   #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION 65   #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING 25   #SESSION SETUP 20   #DURATION #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION #SESSION SETUP #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING #CHARTER / OPPORTUNITY eBay Inc. confidential • Notes  Bugs – #BUG  Issues – #ISSUE
  45. 45. Notes from a recent conference eBay Inc. confidential
  46. 46. Styles I’ve seen 1)  Novel Narrative 2) Flight Data Recorder 3) ESPN Highlight eBay Inc. confidential
  47. 47. Clark’s notes… Captain Clark, River Dubois opposite the mouth of the Missouri River,  13 May 1804   “I dispatched an express this morning to Captain Lewis at St. Louis.  All our provisions, goods, and equipage on board of a boat of 22 oars  [party], a large pirogue of 71 oars [in which 8 French], a second  pirogue of 6 oars [soldiers], complete with sails, &c. Men completed  with powder cartridges and 100 balls each, all in health and readiness  to set out. Boats and everything complete, with the necessary stores  of provisions and such articles of merchandise as we thought  ourselves authorized to procure­though not as much as I think  necessary for the multitude of Indians through which we must pass  on our road across the continent.”    eBay Inc. confidential
  48. 48. What to write while exploring Historical Explorer Tester • (To the degree you think they are relevant to stakeholders) drawings of flora / fauna • descriptions of indigenous people • landmarks Conjectures • (Inferences based on experiences. After I test, I think I know something) • Observations • • • • Project information • (Independent of observer) • • • • eBay Inc. confidential • • what is this thing? where should we go today? how do we get there? new orders from HQ? are those people hostile? • mission supplies and staff latitude / longitude death and disease supply status • feature model text from log files text from dialogs test ideas • questions • product and project issues • concerns • risks • • • • charter test actions config info build details tools used
  49. 49. Scrutiny: what happened here? “(Orderly Book) Camp Mouth of the Kansies June 29, 1804 Ordered ­­­ A Court Martiall will Set this day at 11 oClock... for the trial of John  Collins and Hugh Hall... John Collins Charged "with getting drunk on his post this Morning out of whiskey  put under his charge as a Sentinal, and for suffering Hugh Hall to draw whiskey out  of the Said Barrel intended for the party." ...The commanding Officers approve of the Sentence of the Court and orders that  Punishment take place at half past three this evening, at which time the party will  Parrade for inspection.”  June 29, 1804 William Clark eBay Inc. confidential
  50. 50. Jon Bach, 2001 Sample test notes from actual exploratory testing : et­jsb­010416­a.ses et­jsb­010416­b.ses (for Issues) et­jsb­010416­c.ses (a map for more ideas) et­jsb­010417­a.ses (Claims Testing) et­jsb­010417­b.ses (for Bugs) et­jsb­010417­c.ses (for referenced notes) et­jsb­010418­c.ses (more Claims) eBay Inc. confidential
  51. 51. How much detail is enough? 1) Sufficient benefits 2) No critical problems  3) Benefits outweigh problems 4) All things being equal, further documentation (or time, effort, testing,  editing, etc.) is more harmful than helpful All 4 conditions must be met to know when you’re done,  (From brother James’ Rapid Software Testing course)     But ask: “good enough for who, what and when?” eBay Inc. confidential
  52. 52. Metrics and Mechanics Gathering empirical data about the object of your study; collecting different  kinds of data, or data about different aspects of the object. Designing  experiments and establishing lab procedures.  eBay Inc. confidential
  53. 53. The session report • Charter – #AREAS  Metrics – – – – – CHARTER ---------------------------------------------Analyze MapMaker’s View menu functionality and report on areas of potential risk.   #AREAS OS | Windows 2000 Menu | et-jsb-010417-c.sesView Strategy | Function Testing Strategy | Functional Analysis  Sample START ---------------------------------------------5/30/00 03:20 pm   TESTER ---------------------------------------------Jonathan Bach   TASK BREAKDOWN ---------------------------------------------  #DURATION short   #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION 65   #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING 25   #SESSION SETUP 20   #DURATION #TEST DESIGN AND EXECUTION #SESSION SETUP #BUG INVESTIGATION AND REPORTING #CHARTER / OPPORTUNITY eBay Inc. confidential • Notes  Bugs – #BUG  Issues – #ISSUE
  54. 54. What to measure Bug Investigation Test Design and Execution Session Setup eBay Inc. confidential (and Reporting)
  55. 55. Reporting the metrics • Test, Bug, and Setup are orthogonal categories, but all we’re only tracking interruptions to testing • Nearest 5% or 10% is good enough • If activities are done simultaneously, report the highest precedence activity: T, B, then S eBay Inc. confidential
  56. 56. TBS Report eBay Inc. confidential
  57. 57. Sample project HTML status report eBay Inc. confidential
  58. 58. Tools 1) Scan Tool  (James & Jon Bach) 2) Session Tester (Jonathan Kohl) 3) Rapid Reporter (Shmuel Gershon) eBay Inc. confidential
  59. 59. Diagnosing productivity T est 28% • Do these proportions make sense? • How do they change over time? Bug 4% • Is the reporting protocol being  followed? No n ­S e s s io n 61% S e tu p 6% O p p o rtu n ity 1% 3 0 0 .0 2 5 0 .0 2 0 0 .0 1 5 0 .0 1 0 0 .0 5 0 .0 0eBay Inc. confidential .0 5 /2 6 6 /9 6 /2 3 7 /7 7 /2 1 8 /4 8 /1 8
  60. 60. Estimating a Test Cycle 1. How many perfect sessions (100% on-charter testing) does it take to do a cycle? (let’s say 40) 2. How many sessions can the team (of 4 testers) do per day? (let’s say 3 per day, per tester = 12) 3. How productive are the sessions? (let’s say 66% is on-charter test design and execution) 4. Estimate: 40 / (12 * .66) = 5 days 5. We base the estimate on the data we’ve collected. When any conditions or assumptions eBay Inc. confidential
  61. 61. Testing is like looking for words… ??? (10 minutes) eBay Inc. confidential
  62. 62. Debriefing Mission A: What happened during the session? Mission B: How many words did you find? Mission C: What obstacles did you face? Mission D: Do you think you found all the words? All groups: How did you feel about your mission? Agenda: “PROOF” Past Results Obstacles Outlook Feelings eBay Inc. confidential
  63. 63. 3 Key Ideas Awareness Guidance Evaluation eBay Inc. confidential
  64. 64. Awareness •  Where do charters come from?  What are the domains? •  How to pay attention to the questions you have, second by second •  Questioning as a way to learn product modeling and test planning •  Paired testing sessions: teach collaboration and test technique •  Team­wide debriefing: teaches testers what test managers expect •  Testers can write charters for each other eBay Inc. confidential
  65. 65. Guidance •  Types of charters – using several types of questions to demonstrate  different paths or contexts through a product •  Helps explain critical thinking when a charter is vague or has several  approaches •  Using personas can help frame your strategy •  Acquainting testers with both an intellectual “workspace” where certain  answers are expected, and a “playspace” where initiative, creativity, and  exploration is encouraged •  Sessions as a way to orient testers with a piece of software used in class eBay Inc. confidential
  66. 66. Evaluation •  How do you approach the charters?    •  What paths did you take? •  What energy do you bring to the charter? •  What kinds of abilities emerged? •  What resourcefulness is demonstrated (i.e. what kinds of literal resources are  being consulted)? •  Are your notes and narratives sufficient to convey answer(s)? eBay Inc. confidential
  67. 67. More info • ET Dynamics: http://www.satisfice.com/articles/et­dynamics.pdf • Test Heuristics and Planning http://www.satisfice.com • Context­Driven Software Testing http://groups.yahoo.com/group/software­testing • Center for Software Testing Education and Research http://www.testingeducation.org/BBST • Books related to Exploratory Testing skills and tactics http://www.testingreflections.com/node/view/3190 • Scenario testing examples http://www.testingeducation.org/a/scenario2.pdf eBay Inc. confidential
  68. 68. More info • SBTM article – www.quardev.com • Scan tool  ­­ www.quardev.com • James Lindsay ­­ http://www.workroom­ productions.com/papers/STAREast_AiSBT_slides.pdf • More about Exploratory Testing – http://www.satisfice.com/articles.shtml eBay Inc. confidential
  69. 69. Next steps? 1) Tell the “tactics” story:  Practice using terminology for the skills used  during exploration.  It has helped managers understand the sapience and  discipline of exploration. 2) Try a three­week SBTM pilot: Frame your explorations in sessions (time­ boxed effort with a report) and see how your stakeholders react. 3) Use PROOF to anticipate scrutiny: Testing ourselves is just as important  as testing software.  It has won testers more credibility, autonomy, and  respect. eBay Inc. confidential