Exploratory Testing – Exploring the Depths

Exploratory Testing

What is Exploratory Testing?

Most of the time, software testing methods are where you design a test case and later execute it. However, in exploratory testing, you can do designing and execution simultaneously. Exploratory testing gives individual testers the freedom to think and learn to run important tests with adequate responsibility.

Exploratory testing relies on the guidance given by the individual testers. The testers dive deep to understand the defects which are not easily covered in different tests. 

You can compare exploratory testing with the traditional method of scrip testing, where detailed test cases are designed first. Then you can execute the tests according to the requirements. The efficiency of the system increases subsequently while carrying out an exploratory test. This is because both the tasks of test case are done at the same time.

History of Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing was earlier known as ‘Ad-Hoc’ testing. Then, software testing expert Cem Kaner gave the terminology ‘Exploratory Testing’. The idea was to keep running new tests based on intuition and trust the instincts. 

 In recent years, the practice of doing exploratory testing by businesses has gathered prominent momentum. Both QA managers and testers use ‘Exploratory Testing’ as a part of their coverage strategy for comprehensive testing. 

How to do Exploratory Testing?

The steps in exploratory testing are known as the SBTM Cycle (Session Based Test Management Cycle).

1. Classification or Creation of a Bug Taxonomy

●  Grouping of the common faults and errors through past projects.

●  Identifying the source of those faults or errors.

●  Eventually, design relevant tests for the application.

2. Test Charter

●  Through test charter, the following things should come up:

1. Everything that needs to be tested

2. Methods to successfully test

3. What needs further checking

●  The ideas for starting the tests are key for exploratory testing.

●  Test charter is a crucial decider for the efficiency of the use of the system by the user.

3. Time Box

●  This is a specific method, including two testers running together for at least an hour and a half.

●  No interruptions should occur within those 90 minutes mandatorily.

●  You can make a maximum extension or reduction of 45 minutes.

●  This is an interactive method for users to analyse live problems and devise their solutions.

4. Review Results

●  Identification of the errors.

●  Proper knowledge from the tests.

●  Determining the complete coverage area.

5. Debriefing

●  Grouping of the final results.

●   Comparison of those outputs with the test charter.

●  Check for the requirement of excess tests.

Pros and Cons

●  Pros

1. This is a valuable method when supporting documents are partially or not available at all.

2. It helps to detect minor bugs through a thorough investigation process.

3. Helps the user to be more productive through interactive test cases.

4. This method goes down to the slightest bit of the application for detection.

5. With a lot of coverage area, it includes various scenarios and test cases.

6. Produces tons of new ideas during test execution.

●  Cons

1. Need adequate skills to carry out.

2. Domain knowledge is vital for the tester to run tests.

3. Not at all suitable for long hours of test execution.


●  Mastering the application.

●  Replicating the various point failures can be difficult.

●  Selecting the tools to use can be confusing.

●  It is difficult to select the best test cases for execution.

●  With the lack of comparable test results, reporting them can be very challenging.

●  Recording all events during execution can be challenging.

●  Getting to know the right time to stop while exploratory testing can be complex due to definite test cases.

Why Use Exploratory Testing?

Most of the following methods for software testing follow a well-defined structure that has detailed test cases that need to be followed under the process of test execution. This testing takes a lot of time as every step is done one after the other. The initial process includes designing test cases; then, these cases need to be executed, the problems need to be checked.

Finally, compile the output results for future reporting and use. On the contrary, this method takes the minimum time to conduct. Exploratory tests are easy to conduct where the designing and execution of these test cases are done simultaneously. Thus compiling to huge processes saves a lot of time and effort.

Again, outputs are quicker than other methods, which in turn saves more time. Compiling them may need some time, but you can adjust it. Hence, using exploratory tests is important yet easy for saving time and let alone it being an interactive method.

When Should you Use Exploratory Testing?

This testing method is suitable when someone needs to learn the working procedure of a software or an application in a short time. It is helpful when software needs to dispatch rapid feedback with the best quality. Many software cycles require quick iteration cycles, and exploratory testing is the best option in that case. It helps test every bit of an application without missing the point, something constructive for critical software tests.


Hence for quick and accurate outputs, exploratory tests are essential and the most suitable method of testing software. Businesses across different genres have been making use of exploratory testing to reap the multiple benefits it offers.

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