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Exploratory Testing Explained and Experienced


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A 45 minute presentation delivered in Turku Agile Days for a mixed audience of mostly non-testers.

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Exploratory Testing Explained and Experienced

  1. 1. ExploratoryTesting –Explained and Experienced<br />Maaret Pyhäjärvi<br />Email: <> | Gsm: 040-8233777<br />"The purpose of testing is largely to force everyone to see the detailed implications of their vague daydreams." -- James Bach <br />Turku Agile Day 2011<br />(2011-03-17)<br /> Erkki Pöyhönen & Maaret Pyhäjärvi<br /> Attribution (Tekijä mainittava)<br />
  2. 2. About the Speaker: Experiences in testing and being a tester on varied basis<br />Started with testing -95: localization testing for greek version of an English software system<br />Subcontractor-side on various projects: moving from localizations to functional testing<br />Tried being in a developer role after thinking testers are not respected: the problem is not per role<br />Teaching testing at HUT, giving public presentations and courses on testing<br />Researcher in testing, consulting various organizations, teaching, being a test manager and a tester, with and without test automation<br />At F-Secure with product business 2005 – 2008 <br />Moved to insurance pension sector, first with subcontractor side, now on customer side (Ilmarinen) as test manager / test specialist. <br />Doing testing-related training on the side of a normal day-to-day job to get to meet brilliant testers in Finland. <br />TESTER AND A WALKING TESTING DICTIONARY<br />AGILE PROJECTS @ F-SECURE<br />PLAN-DRIVEN PROJECTS @ ILMARINEN<br />
  3. 3. RealizationsaboutNature of Testing<br />20<br />14<br />1639<br />5±2<br />3<br />
  4. 4. ”Testing mathematics” Extra Short Curriculum<br />20<br />14<br />1639<br />5±2<br />A kids game ”20 questions teaching something relevant about testing. With two optional strategies to the game: 1) listing questions beforehand at a time you know the least or 2) asking questions one by one learning from the answer to the question already asked. <br />Why in testing we continuously play with the foolish strategy?<br />Common advice in testing is to think the expected results beforehand – in avoidance of blindness. Testing targets the unknown problems. <br />Why do we invest a significant portion of limited project budgets actually to minimize the probability of finding the unexpectedproblems?<br /><ul><li>
  5. 5.</li></ul>The samemaynotbe the sameifyouchangeanyvariable. Testing is notaboutcoveringall of itagainst a specification, butthinkingabout ”is there a problem, is itrelevant”. <br />Human memory is limited – ”human envelope”. We need documentation as support, especially when working under pressure. Documentation is huge expense, which only passes small portion of information. Why not create the documentation at the time we understand the needs best – towards the end of project. <br />
  6. 6. Exploratory Testing:Better tests, better testers! <br />An approach to software testing<br />Emphasized freedom and responsibility of an individual in a process where continuous optimization of value of information is important<br />“Any testing process that involves simultaneous learning, test design, and execution.” – James Bach & Cem Kaner<br />Disciplined, planned and controlled testing that emphasizes continuous learning<br />Research in Finland, Itkonen et al. 2007<br />No significant difference in results for preplanned test cases and exploratory testing<br />More false alarms with test cases<br />Comparing overall effort: significantly more in test-case based testing<br />Unknown territory<br />Test-related learning<br />Design of new tests<br />Test execution<br />Result interpretation<br />5<br />
  7. 7. There’s a Difference!<br />A comment I hear often on the ET course I give:<br />”I’ve always been doing this just did not give it a name”<br />I must emphasize that:<br />I require more out of exploratory testing than just ”going where you feel like while testing”<br />Ask yourself:<br />Can you defend your choices of strategy and tactics?<br />Can you explain what you’ve done in words that don’t just explain numbers of bugs found? <br />How do you know if you’re done or not?<br />6<br />”My testing would be unsystematic ad hoc testing if I could not tell the story of my tests, remember what I’ve tested or what my strategy was, or relate that back to my mission” –James Bach<br />
  8. 8. The Scale of Tester’s Freedom<br />Role-based sandboxes<br />Vague scripts<br />Fragment test cases (scenarios)<br />Pure scripted<br />Freestyle<br />Charters<br />”To what extent am I in control of the test and from where did the idea originate?”<br />7<br />
  9. 9. Two Sides of Exploratory Testing<br />For the tester<br />For the manager<br />Value<br />Fun<br />Freedom<br />Controllability<br />Flexibility<br />Reliability<br />Professionalism<br />Visibility<br />Respect<br />8<br />
  10. 10. Framework of Management<br />Vision (“Sandbox”)<br />Current Charter<br />Other Charters<br />Details<br />Coaching<br />Quality Report<br />Perception of quality and coverage<br />Debriefing<br />Charter backlog of the future testing<br />”A day’s work”<br />Past<br />Results<br />Obstacles<br />Outlook<br />Feelings<br />Next in importance!<br />Test Manager<br />Metrics summary<br />#<br />?<br />x<br />Out of budget<br />#, ?, x, +<br />20:20:60<br />Session sheets of the past testing<br />Bug Reports<br />Idea of exploration<br />Tester<br />9<br />
  11. 11. The Pieces in Management Framework<br />A disciplined tester replanning on various levels<br />Session with charter that provides a report<br />Classification of information created as metrics<br />Prioritizing of what test idea comes next<br />Supporting reporting by debriefing<br />Supporting skills development by coaching<br />Creating a combined judgement of quality by quality reporting<br />10<br />
  12. 12. Testautomation / tools in ET<br />Anyform of acquiringquality-relatedinformationfits into exploratorytesting<br />It’snotmanual, it’sbrain-engaged – and for makingthathappen, youneed to besmart with automation and tools! <br />Example: youmightnot at firstknowwhatyou’relooking for...<br />Search "<ns1:Koodi>" (443 hits in 169 files) in VE<br />  Y:ELLULAPATestausKokonaiseläketurvan-oteAnsaintatiedot-VEHaeAnsaintatiedot-VE__ 20110307 14-22-15.xml (4 hits) <br />                Line 1313:                <ns1:Koodi>YL130I</ns1:Koodi><br />                Line 1317:                <ns1:Koodi>LAPA_172_011</ns1:Koodi><br />                Line 1321:                <ns1:Koodi>67</ns1:Koodi><br />                Line 1324:                <ns1:Koodi>67</ns1:Koodi><br /> A lot of textcutawayfromhere…<br />
  13. 13. Potentially Useful Tools for Exploratory Testing<br />SnapzPro<br /><br />HyperSnap <br /><br />TestExplorer <br /><br />BBTestAssistant <br /><br />Spector <br /><br />Cygwin <br /><br />UnixUtils <br /><br />Regular Expressions<br /><br />Process Monitor<br /><br />Process Explorer<br /><br />Holodeck<br /><br />perlclip <br /><br />DataGraph<br /><br />Vermont High Test <br /><br />Firebug <br /><br />iMacros <br /><br />JMeter <br /><br />VirtualPC<br /><br />VMWare <br /><br />Parallels <br /><br />
  14. 14. TestIdeas / Quick-and-Dirty<br />Download the full 2-page CheatSheet with ideasfromElisabeth Hendrickson, James Lyndsay, and Dale Emery on <br />
  15. 15. (Exploratory) Testing Dynamics Source: Adapted from James Bach, Jon Bach, Michael Bolton. Exploratory Testing Dynamics. v.2.2. 2009<br />”…skills that comprise professional and cost effective exploration of technology. Each is distinctly observable and learnable, and each is necessary to exploratory work.”<br />”Exploratory testing spirals upward toward a complete and professional set of test artifacts”<br />”A set of<br />considerations designed to help you test robustly or evaluate someone else’s testing.”<br />” To develop ideas or search a complex space quickly yet thoroughly, not only must you look at the<br />world from many points of view and perform many kinds of activities”<br />
  16. 16. Exploration SkillsSource: Adapted from James Bach, Jon Bach, Michael Bolton. Exploratory Testing Dynamics. v.2.2. 2009<br />Done<br />To Do<br />Issues<br />Coverage<br />All sources available <br />Best use of time – effective and efficient work<br />Making models<br />Tool support – creative solutions<br />Risk-based testing – scientific approach<br />Keeping one’s eyes open<br />
  17. 17. To EndThis With: ExploratoryTestingStrenghts and BlindSpots<br />Strengths<br />Value-focused: stakeholders, risks, good-enoughquality and knowledge of quality<br />Leverageseachtester’sstrengths<br />Makestestersbettercontinuously<br />Enablesadapting to changes and surprises<br />Revealsinformationthatwasnotavailablewithoutlearningwhileusing the system<br />Avoidnon-valuableduplicativework in testingthroughfocus on results<br />Highbugfindingrates<br />BlindSpots<br />Requirescalendartime for learning with the software: the lessweknow, the morewe’relikely to miss<br />Limited byeachtester’sweaknessesifnotmitigatedbyoverlappingassignmentsbased on individual’scompetencies<br />Skilled and disciplinedwork – canbelearned with mentoring, nottransferredthroughdocumentation<br />
  18. 18. WHY do testers look both ways when crossing a one-way street?<br />It may be one-way on this corner, two ways on that corner.<br />You may only *think* it's a one-way street.<br />Someone might be backing up<br />Ears don't warn you when a bicycle is coming the wrong way.<br />They realize people can be fooled by preconceptions. <br />When helping someone, you've extra duty to seek improbables.<br />Source: Various tweets by testers in 2010. <br />