When it comes to testing your software, there are many methods you could employ. Exploratory testing allows for the spontaneous discovery of bugs or glitches in a way that helps to inform further design and analysis.
But, not all testers are right for the task. We’ve identified the top traits to look for in the best exploratory testers, but first let’s learn a little bit about what makes this type of testing so unique.
What is Exploratory Testing?
Exploratory testing is exactly as the name implies—it’s an approach to testing that highlights engagement of the tester and their discernment to follow certain paths along the testing process. Because they can choose what to focus on and how they evaluate the product, these testers often explore areas that have potential for problems or areas they think should be monitored more closely.
This testing approach places greater emphasis on testers’ technical experience, creativity, intelligence, and intuition. Exploratory testers don’t have to document their steps ahead of time, giving them the chance to include what they learn, as they learn it, into the next test. The unscripted nature of exploratory testing grants a more holistic approach to testing design, execution, and analysis.
Identifying the Best Exploratory Testers
Even though this type of testing allows for a more relaxed approach, that doesn’t mean just anyone should take your software for a spin. When it comes to selecting people to perform exploratory testing, here are some attributes to look out for:
- Inquisitive — Exploratory testing doesn’t have a script or format that it follows, so the ideal testers are curious and interested in the subject matter. They need a natural inclination to learn more while checking various aspects of the software, website, or application and investigating its many layers.
- Observant — Curiosity isn’t enough on its own. Exploratory testers should be inquisitive, but they also need to take note of any oddities and document them. Exceptional exploratory testers are the ones who observe settings, environmental factors, and internal mindsets.
- Flexible — The best exploratory testers are capable of rolling with the punches. If an investigation into a specific area of the software reveals an error, they need to be able to improvise new tests that look for related problems and issues. An exploratory tester who can run impromptu, additional tests can also recognize the full scope of a bug—or at least circumscribe the impact of it—which makes remediation much easier for the developer.
- Holistic — Exploratory testing should take anything into consideration that might influence the testing, and this should be meticulously recorded. A range of factors could impact the testing, including WiFi versus cellular, signal strength, battery level, as well as ambient noise. The best exploratory testers embrace the need for follow up investigation and consider all the avenues that should be examined.
- Communication — Intellect and curiosity only go so far without effective communication skills. The responsibility for explaining the ideas behind a certain test, the circumstances around it and the outcome falls on the tester. A tester could be great at finding defects, but if they can’t communicate their findings to developers, this gets lost in translation. The best testers know what is best conveyed with words, screenshots, or video; this discernment is crucial. They are able to take other points of view into account—like developers, QA professionals and product managers—and generate vital information to help those individuals complete their work.
- Focused — Exploratory testers know the aim of their work is not comprehensive, covering every possible scenario. Their primary focus is to find bugs, defects and issues that wouldn’t be discovered through typical screening. Simultaneously, while they are looking at edge cases and isolated parts of the system that diverge from the normal usage pattern, they must also zero in on the areas that are less likely to be well-tested.
By looking for these six traits in your exploratory testers, you’ll be sure to get the results you need to make your product a success. Interested to learn more about different areas of testing? Check out our website.