Using a Combination of Scripted, Automated and Exploratory Testing for Optimum QA Coverage

Most test teams today are struggling to find better ways to handle their testing. With the advent of Agile in our software development processes, teams are perennially under pressure to provide faster releases without lowering their standards of quality. This, in turn, adds load on the in-house test teams to ensure finding more and crucial issues and to prevent defect leakage. For this reason, testers look at strategies and practices that can help them achieve their goals and add more value to the product’s quality.

In my opinion as a hands-on agile tester, there is no single silver bullet to quality, but a combination of different types and approaches to testing that can help us get closer to our quality goals. Test teams need to strategize and plan the usage of a combination of scripted tests, automated tests as well as exploratory tests for achieving an optimum coverage and best quality software.

Here is my latest article for PractiTest QA Learning Centre where I discuss the need to have a combination of scripted, automated as well as exploratory tests for an optimum QA coverage–

https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/thank-you/exploratory-testing-optimum-qa-coverage/ 

Scripted Tests

When we look at the typical test approach, it begins with test scripting and designing tests as per software functionality. These are created using requirement analysis and test design techniques and also using common sense and skills by our skilled testers. These scripted tests form the starting point of testing a new feature, change or addition in the software.

Automated Testing

In addition to running the scripted tests manually, testers also rely on automated tests. These tests are scripted using various test automation tools and test automation, i.e. ability to write these automated test scripts is, thus, a much-wanted skill nowadays for all test professionals. The ability to run some tests using automated scripts helps repeatability and saves a lot of time and effort on part of the test teams. But most importantly, by automating the drudgery away, it saves the tester from repeated manual laborious tests and frees up their time for more creative thinking and exploration around the application.

Exploratory Testing

Exploration of software is basically looking at the feature/functionality/change and overall behavior from a learning as well as a critical standpoint. Exploratory Testing is a crucial aspect of software testing, which almost every tester performs knowingly or subconsciously.

Cem Kaner coined the term Exploratory Testing in his book “Testing Computer Software” and described it as:

“Simultaneous test design, test execution and learning with an emphasis on learning”

https://www.practitest.com/qa-learningcenter/thank-you/exploratory-testing-optimum-qa-coverage/ 

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Exploratory Testing using “Tours”

My latest article for stickyminds.com “https://www.stickyminds.com/article/using-tours-structure-your-exploratory-testing” talks about using TOURS to enhance the exploratory tests you perform and add more structure and direction to them.

Here is my experience report on using Tours in my testing project-

WHAT ARE TOURS —

In testing, a tour is an exploration of a product that is organized around a theme. Tours bring structure and direction to exploration sessions, so they can be used as a fundamental tool for exploratory testing. They’re excellent for surfacing a collection of ideas that you can then further explore in depth one at a time, and they help you become more familiar with a product—leading to better testing.

I had just started working with a new product, a web-based platform that was a fairly complex system with a large number of components, each with numerous features. Going into each component and inside every feature would take too much time; I needed a quick, broad overview and some feedback points I could share as queries or defects with my team.

I realized my exploration of the application would need some structure around it. Using test sessions and predefined charters, I could explore set areas and come back with relevant observations—I had discovered tours.

Cem Kaner describes tours as an exploration of a product that is organized around a theme. Tours help bring structure and a definite direction to exploration sessions, so they can be used as a fundamental tool for exploratory testing.

Tours are excellent for surfacing a collection of ideas that you can then further explore in depth one at a time. Tours testing provides a structure to the tester on the way they go about exploring the system, so they can have a particular focus on each part and not overlook a component. The structure is combined with a theme of the tour, which provides a base for the kind of questions to ask and the type of observations that need to be made.

In the course of conducting a tour, testers can find bugs, raise questions, uncover interesting aspects and features of the software, and create models, all done on the basis of the theme of the tour being performed.

Let’s discuss some common types of tours that are useful for testers and look at some examples.

Testing Tours

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