Exploratory Testing Strategies: Improve your Product

Exploratory Testing Strategies: Improve your Product

Exploratory testing is a testing technique that does not rely on pre-defined test cases or scripts. Instead, testers use their knowledge of the software under test to explore, evaluate, and find bugs within it. This approach to testing is flexible, inquisitive, efficient, and requires little to no documentation.

We have already covered What is Exploratory testing, and in this article, we will build on that knowledge and explore some of the different strategies that can be used for exploratory testing. As well as, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of each strategy, including some tips for using them effectively. 

The Benefits Of Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing can be beneficial for product testing at many stages in the product development lifecycle, here's how:

Finding bugs that are exposed through real-world use

This testing technique allows testers to walk a mile in the users' shoes. Exploratory testing allows testers to interact with the software as a user would, identifying usability, functionality, or performance issues that may not be found with scripted tests.

Where the unexpected is expected

The tester can begin testing with little prior preparation, only requiring a test charter to establish the objectives. There is no need for designing or refactoring test cases. This can be a benefit, as it allows testers to be more creative and dynamic in their testing, and find bugs from a fresh viewpoint, that otherwise would have been missed. As well as get into the actual testing much faster.

Increased ability to find critical defects

Test cases can be created based on potential issues and outcomes which is why scripted testing can be limited to confirmation bias and other Psychological Factors That Affect Testing. Exploratory testers can think outside the box and find flaws that other testers might have missed because they are not limited by predetermined instructions, and have more freedom to see these errors.

“Bugs are like Schrödinger's Cat: They're both there and not there until you use them”

Exploratory Testing Strategies

It is beneficial to refresh the testing strategies used on testable products to keep testers engaged and improve the efficiency of product testing quality.

Here are some exploratory testing strategies that can be used to improve product testing quality:

Testing from different perspectives

Testing from different perspectives is beneficial because it can help testers identify a wider range of bugs and defects. When testers only test from one perspective, they may only be able to find bugs within their own bias, or without seeing the wider scope of the solutions being tested. 

By testing from the perspectives of different users, testers can uncover bugs that would not be found otherwise. Some examples of different users are:

  • A Power User: This user is well-versed in technology and has experience using similar systems or products. They know the ins and outs of the software, so they know where and when to click to have a smooth experience.
  • A Casual User: This is a user who uses technology products in a straightforward way. The user might not use all of the features but when he uses one, he would have a limited understanding of how it works. In other words, a user who is not very familiar with the product he uses, and would get stuck due to unwanted bugs.
  • A Malicious User. Malicious users are those who try to find ways to exploit software. They look for scenarios in the software that would never normally be seen by the public. They might attempt software exploits that result in data-stealing or disrupting the functionality of a product.
  • Various Users. This user type helps uncover uncommon bugs. In this case, QA testers can test software from the perspective of different users, such as users who speak a different language or users who have disabilities. This can help to uncover bugs that would not be found if the software were only tested by a single type of user. In this case, accessibility testing services can be very helpful.

Experienced testers are able to find different ways to test a product and are more likely to come up with creative and innovative ways to test software which will lessen the chance of a solution earning a place in the Hall of Fame for the Biggest Software Bugs and Tech Fails.- Experienced testers are like fine wine. They get better with age.

Traceability and analyzing gaps

An important part of exploratory testing is supporting QA Teams and making sure bugs don't get missed. One strategy that addresses this is using traceability and gap analysis. But what does this entail?

Analyzing gaps in functionality using workflows or any other graph shows the functionality of the system and creates a visual representation of the software's workflow. This is done by creating a flowchart, a mind map, or any other type of diagram that shows the different steps involved in using the software.

Once the workflow is visualized, it is easier to identify gaps in functionality. For example, if there is a step in the workflow that is not clearly defined, or if there is a step that is not possible to complete, then this is a potential gap in functionality.

By analyzing gaps in functionality, testers can identify areas of the software that need to be improved. This can help to ensure that the software is user-friendly and that it meets the needs of its users.

It is important to make sure your team is on the same page and that bugs don't fall through the cracks. Experienced testers can leverage their expertise with similar software to spot comparable defects in new software. This can be highly valuable for exploratory testing and overall product quality assurance. It's also critical to track and report all bugs so that other teams can learn from them. Exploratory testing tools can be a great help in effectively supporting traceability tasks.

Mind Mapping Your Way to Better Testing

Question: What do you call a mind map that's been used for exploratory testing?Answer: A work in progress.

Maybe the joke was cheesy but mind maps are a great way to document your testing process and ensure that you've covered all your bases. They are a helpful tool for project managers and exploratory testers alike. They can be used to plan projects, find functional gaps in software, and document testing processes. This can help ensure that testable products or solutions are of high quality.

When using mind maps for exploratory testing, two testers can work together by having one tester do the testing and the other record the findings. This makes it easier to create a testing trail and spot problems before they become bugs.

As you get better at using mind maps to find functional gaps, you'll be able to create more reliable testing scripts. This can help ensure that all aspects of the product have been tested and that potential problems are identified early on.

Edge Cases: Explore The Dark Alleys and See What You Find

Edge cases are those that occur at the boundaries of the software's functionality. They are often overlooked during testing, but they can be a major source of bugs.

When performing exploratory testing, it is critical to test edge cases. This can be accomplished by deliberately attempting to break the software by entering invalid data, using unexpected combinations of features, or attempting to access the software in ways for which it was not designed.

Testing edge cases can help to identify bugs that would not be discovered by other types of testing. It can also help ensure the software is robust and can handle unexpected inputs.

A Comparative Approach

An effective way to apply exploratory testing is by conducting comparative tests between your product and that of a competitor. By subjecting both products to identical testing scenarios, it becomes feasible to identify strengths, weaknesses, and hidden bugs, while also assessing their overall quality. 

This comparative analysis yields valuable insights into potential gaps in functionality, enabling informed decisions for product enhancement. Through systematic exploration and thoughtful comparison. Exploratory testing empowers organizations to deliver superior software solutions that not only meet but surpass customer expectations. This approach fosters continuous improvement and facilitates the development of high-quality software-based products.

To Summarize, To Improve The Quality Of A Product With Exploratory Testing, It Is Important To:

  1. Have an experienced quality assurance team. Previous experience as a tester will significantly improve the quality of testing. 
  2. Understand the user's needs and expectations. This will help testers focus their testing on the areas of the software that are most likely to be used by users.
  3. Be creative and think outside the box. Exploratory testers should not be afraid to try new things and explore the software in ways that may not be obvious.
  4. Document findings. It is important to document the findings of exploratory testing so that they can be shared with other testers and developers.
  5. Use mind maps. It can help the testers find functional gaps and improve testing strategies.
  6. Think of edge cases. Exploratory testing is like a treasure hunt. You never know what you're going to find, but it's always worth looking for edge cases.

Regardless of the use case, TestDevLab has the resources to help make your journey with exploratory testing a success. Feel free to reach out to us and one of our experts will help you find the right testing for your solution.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up for our newsletter to get regular updates and insights into our solutions and technologies: