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Exploratory testing's "intelligent" creativity

I first became interested in exploratory testing while reading James Whittaker’s book on testing and testing “tours.” Reiterated by “buccaneer tester” James Bach, I learned that exploratory is more than just “unscripted” testing; it’s unscripted testing done intelligently. The tester’s experience and knowledge of the application and business allows for a deeper, more creative level of testing.

Recently, contributor Chris McMahon penned two tips about his experiences with exploratory testing.

In The link between automated UI tests and exploratory testing, McMahon explored the relationship between automated user interface (UI) tests and exploratory testing (ET). In it, he gave this observation:

“It is a common mistake on agile teams to view UI test automation and ET as entirely separate activities. In fact, each activity should inform the other. In particular, an automated UI test that fails should always be a sign that some ET is required.”

In Exploratory vs. planned testing: Which yields better results?, McMahon describes a project in which he worked side-by-side a co-worker, testing the application using the two different approaches, using metrics to help determine which method resulted in the higher-quality outcome.  Take a look at his findings. You may be surprised by what he learned.

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