A bit of house keeping..

I’ve been away for a long long time! So long that I forgot about this blog and I need to start from scratch 😀

I thought of putting the list of my popular posts below so that it will be easier for anyone finding my blog to quickly go through them. So, here’s the list (in no particular order):

















Hope that helps some one! And I hope you enjoy reading them. As always, feedback would be great.

Until next time, Happy Testing!


Exploratory Testing is all about contexts and learning…

A couple of days ago, one of the members from another team pinged me on Skype and shoot this question.
Do you have a template for Exploratory testing?
I was a little surprised and asked her what she meant by an “exploratory testing template” and whether she could give an example. The response surprised me even further..
I was asking for sample exploratory test cases. Do you have a sheet of test cases to run exploratory testing?
I was a bit taken aback by her question and replied:
“Exploratory testing means there are no test cases :)”
She: One of our ex-colleagues wants to track sanity and exploratory testing in his new company. He wants some templates for this purpose
Me: You won’t do exploratory testing with a predefined set of test case templates. I’m going to hit you if you ask for sample test case templates to perform exploratory testing! (Angry Smiley). If you want to track exploratory testing, follow Session Based Test Management. I can share some links to point you there.
She: What about Sanity then?
Me: I don’t know Sanity Testing 😛 If my understanding is correct, you just check whether the app is fit for further rigorous testing.
She: What about tracking it?
Me: It would be better for him to identify the happy paths and perform them on the application he is testing. Put them in an Excel and mark Pass/Fail. I’ve never really done that so can’t comment on the effectiveness. Our <a common friend’s name> has done something like that for her project, so she would be able to provide more insight.
She now tries to send me an XLS but cancels it before I accept the file transfer.
Me: What is that Template you just tried to send? Send it again pls.
She: Nooo! You are going to hit me!
Me: No No! I want to correct you if you are doing it wrong!
She: Okay! (sends the file again)
I check the file – It is a simple XLS, with ID, Test and Pass/Fail Column.
Me: Well, that is a good template to start with – just remove the Pass/Fail column 🙂
She: Then how we will track pass/fail?
Me: You have to understand that exploratory testing or testing to be precise is not solely intended to find defects.. We are actually finding information about the product we are testing – in other words we are sort of learning about the product while doing exploratory testing. Like, what will it do when we perform this action? what if I hit enter without placing the focus on a specific button.. so on.. So it is not necessary that Pass or Fail will be there. If there are obvious failures like error pages – mark them in Red, simple 🙂
She: Okay! got it! That means we will do exploratory for learning purpose right? Then why leads asked us to do a exploratory during release time?
Me: Because they have not yet understood the term exploratory testing. if you look at the explanation I gave above – consider this:
When are we doing a new release? – when there are new features, bug fixes or the like. That means there are some new things to learn in that application. We do exploratory testing as they say and we *might* find defects. It is perfectly all right if we don’t find them as well – it could mean that the new features are implemented well and we couldn’t find any problem in the contexts we tried. However, it doesn’t mean that the product could be defect free! There might be some contexts where the product can fail as well. But the point to note is –  every exploratory testing session gives more information (learning) to you 🙂

She: Its interesting 🙂

Me: If you do not have much work now, do read the contents of the following package. Will be more clear.

<Sends her a zip file consists of SBTM PDFs and Rapid Reporter>

Me: I cant give more clearer info than this package 🙂 There is a little tool in there as well – called Rapid reporter. it will be helpful to create exploratory testing notes in CSV format. So it is easy to modify in excel. it can track time as well. Problem solved. 🙂

She: Very much solved! 🙂

SBTM, Context Free Questions and Rapid Reporter.

Hello folks, hope you are all doing well and had a cracking start to the New Year. The year started very well for
me, I had a chance to take up a project in more of a consulting way than our usual projects.

The projects I worked on last year are in a support phase now, so I could manage some free time almost every day.
It’s pretty boring sitting idle, right? So I’ve gone through some lessons on Performance Testing, read a lot of
James Bach’s and Michael Bolton’s blog posts. SBTM and Context free questions fascinated me a lot, but there were limitations of actually trying them out in our projects (that old test case running syndrome ;)). And, out of the
blue I get a chance to test one of our internal projects.

This project has been going on for a while and one of my fellow testers had the test cases prepared for it. He had
tested it as well. So here is my chance to go back to Exploratory testing and do what I like!

The first thing I did was to go through Michael Bolton’s Context free questions to help testing.  I had a thorough look at those questions and comments for the post and identified that all of them need not be asked in my scenario. So I trimmed them down to about 20 questions. This decision was made completely on a personal instinct. Here goes my trimmed list:

  1. Who is the customer/stake holder of the project?
  2. Do you know any problems that would threaten the value of this product?
  3. How much time do I have?
  4. When is the next release?
  5. When do you want the reports/information?
  6. How do you want the reports?
  7. When are you planning to launch this?
  8. Is there another application like this?
  9. What are the issues with the old application?
  10. What are the improvements in this application over the old one?
  11. Could you describe the functionality flow with a diagram?
  12. Has any one tested this?
  13. What all information are available to me?
  14. Is there some specific type of data processed by the application?
  15. What are your thoughts on this?
  16. Have you shown this to end users?
    1. What are their thoughts on this?
    2. What is their overall perception of the application?
    3. Is there any thing specific they wanted to be included?
  17. Is there any thing that I should avoid?
  18. Have you seen any error patterns?
  19. What usually is the common problem you face with these types of systems?
  20. Is there anything else I should have asked/I must be aware of?

I had a meet with the Product’s user champion and got the answers for all these questions. I was granted a week to
provide my exploratory testing report. My fellow tester had done a good job in testing this, and his bug reports and test cases were very handy to start my mission.

Exploratory testing is accountable – and I wanted to practice SBTM for this project. Since I’m sort of consulting for
this project on my free time, I was sure that the Debriefing part will be a problem as it was nearly impossible for me
to find some one to get this done. So I had to avoid the Debriefing part. But still, I worked on chartered sessions
and taking logs.

For taking logs, I used Rapid Reporter developed by Shmuel Gershon. I had used the Session Tester previously
for my exploratory testing missions. But having read a lot about Rapid Reporter through various blogs, I wanted to
give it a try. And I was really impressed with this nifty little tool (Thanks Shmuel!). I performed 6 chartered
sessions using Rapid Reporter and it was a great help in my mission. I really liked the automatic creation of that
CSV document, that was virtually hassle free 🙂 How I wish to publish one of those documents here, but I’m bound by NDAs!

So, all in all a great experience and I’m happy that I provided a worthy report to my user champion on the product.
I couldn’t continue my work on that product even thought they wanted me to 😦 A couple of other projects came up
which needed my attention. There is an offer to train a junior tester for the above product, which I’ve gladly
agreed. Hoping to pass on some good lessons. Will blog about it once I complete it.

Off Topic: It’s been a year since I started Blogging! Whoa!! 🙂 I want to thank all my readers/followers for your
encouragement, your support has been invaluable to this blog and my career as a Software Tester.

Until next time, Happy testing 🙂