How to perform an exploratory test
While there is a great deal of creativity and customization involved in exploratory testing, the process of performing an exploratory test is actually quite structured. Typically, two testers are assigned to perform exploratory tests based on their experience and knowledge. They should be given a clear mission at the start of the test, and they must take thorough notes of their methods, issues, and questions raised throughout the process.
The five phases of an exploratory test include:
- Classification. Testers should categorize the types of issues that are most often found in previous projects, look for the root cause of these problems, identify the risk, and develop ideas for testing the application.
- Charter. When creating a test charter, testers should determine what should be tested and how best to test it. The charter should also document the starting point for testing and outline how users will interact with the application.
- Timeboxing. By setting fixed time periods during which certain activity should be accomplished, testers can ensure that the process remains efficient. Typically, two testers will work together uninterrupted for a period of 90 minutes or more.
- Review. At the end of the testing period, testers can review defects found, what they have learned from the test, and determine what portion of the software was covered through the testing process.
- Debrief. In the final phase, testers will compile the results, create a report, and compare it to the charter.