What Is Exploratory Testing — Tentamen Software Testing Blog

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Exploratory testing is a hot topic among testers. But what is exploratory testing? Let’s explore what James Bach said on this topic in his archive article What Is Exploratory Testing?. This is a part of the Exploratory Testing Pathway. Many thanks to Marcel who sublimed this great resource on his blog, That’s the buffet table.

Exploring For Article About Exploratory Testing

In 2017, I bookmarked the following URL from James blog: “http://www.satisfice.com/articles/what_is_et.shtml” and made my reading notes. When I enter this URL today, I was redirected to “https://www.satisfice.com/exploratory-testing.” So I used the Wayback Machine to find out the version from the time when I did the bookmark.


Exploratory testing is contrasted with scripted testing. Looking at it from the angle of scripted testing, exploratory testing is a fun and powerful approach to testing and is more potent than scripted testing. In some situations, it could be more productive than scripted testing. The testing approach is product investigation under tight constraints. What evidence we have for these claims?

Exploratory testing is a scientific method in real-time, concurrent product exploration, test design, and execution.

The next test is influenced by the results of the previous one. Each new test should be better than the previous one. Better means that the test provides valuable information about the product. Scripted testing is predefined. Spectrum and details of testing procedures are rehearsed (defined). In exploratory testing, the tester decides about the range and features in real-time. Exploratory testing is tacit, which part of the product to test and which testing strategies to use are understood or implied without being stated. Good exploratory software tester writes testing ideas as notes and uses them in the next test cycles.

The biggest critique of exploratory testing is that it is not organized. It is usually compared with ad-hoc testing. Ad-hoc testing is not planned, organized, and rehearsed. Exploratory testing is held because it consists of specific tasks, objectives, and deliverables. One particular mission is to make testing notes about found issues, ideas, opportunities, facts, and notes on how the testing activity was done.

Exploratory Tester Attributes

Here are preconditions for a good exploratory tester:

  • testing skill

Originally published at https://blog.tentamen.eu on July 11, 2020.

Written by

Founder of Tentamen, software testing agency.

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