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The 5 Exploratory Testing Techniques to Master

Here is our list of the 5 Best Exploratory Testing Techniques that can help you nurture the skills you need to master Exploratory Testing.

The 5 Exploratory Testing Techniques to Master Blog

Exploratory testing is one of the types of testing that will highly benefit from the QA’s or tester’s experience, expertise, instinct, and intuition. Unlike many other types of testing, there will be no scripted and defined steps one would have to follow. The implication here is that the person performing the tests will either make or break the results as they will be flying blind without any guidelines to adhere to. So if you are a QA professional looking to make a mark, then we recommend you to master these exploratory testing techniques we have listed in this blog. It will help you become better equipped to perform effective exploratory testing. We will start out with the basic techniques and then explore the more high-level techniques as well.

To be clear, exploratory testing may not need a prescribed method, but it definitely will require a goal or objective based on which we can use our own skills to get the job done. We will not be creating a fully defined script, but we should create charters. Charters are guiding statements that will help us avoid any kind of confusion. For example, the charters will be used to define aspects like what function has to be tested, who it has to be tested by, and what type of approach has to be used. If you are fairly new to exploratory testing, you could read our quick guide about it.

User Stories

User stories also known as user scenarios can be termed as a description of a user’s workflow when using one of the application’s functions. To put it in simple words, it’s putting yourself in the shoes of the end-user to think of the possible steps the user would have to go through to use the intended feature. The more and more you familiarize yourself with creating such user stories, the better your critical thinking will become and help you in assessing the diverse workflows of various users.

You also have to make sure not to mix app functionalities with the user’s needs. For example, if you are testing an app that can be used to sell used products, you should test it from the perspective of a person listing the product and from the perspective of a person trying to buy that product. Make sure you don’t mix both perspectives just because the app’s features allow you to. Stay focused on each user’s story and not deviate away.

Test New Waters

Testing with the same type of approach you would use doing regression testing will not help you perform good exploratory testing. You would have already tested if the expected results are achieved in a logical way. So make sure you explore new unorthodox ways of doing the same process. By doing so, you will go beyond just confirming the functions. For example, let’s assume yourself to be a user who is trying to book a flight ticket in a hurry. In the heat of the moment, such a user could make a lot of mistakes a regular user may not. So those possibilities could be explored to unearth new bugs.

But it is also crucial to not indulge in highly unlikely scenarios and waste your time. This is where your experience and expertise will come into play. You should be able to assess where possible flaws could be when testing the application. But how can you do that? Let’s find out in our next Exploratory Testing Technique

Mind Maps

Visually represented data will always help you analyze your options better to take better decisions, or even understand the process more easily. So when you use mind maps during exploratory testing, you will be able to identify functionality gaps. Though you will not be able to reap the full benefits overnight, you will be on the right path towards growth. Once you become well worse at using mind maps to find functionality gaps, you would have the potential of identifying issues even before they become bugs. As a leading manual QA testing services provider, we always try to incorporate mind maps and visual aids wherever possible to make our testing more organized and effective.

Improve Your Integration Testing Skills

One skill that will come in very handy when you expand your coverage with exploratory testing is your integration testing skill. Let’s say you are testing an application that maintains inventory and you have used your mind map to find out that there might be an error with the price adjustment in existing stock. So you would have to see if that impacts your billing or just the valuation of the stock. Since you would have to test both the inventory functionality and billing functionality, it can be understood that integration testing is very important.

An End-to-End Approach

You should go beyond just the front-end and bring the back-end processes into the picture as well. There might be third-party integrations that are key to certain functionalities. In that case, check how and where the application saves the data to its database and calls it whenever necessary. APIs are widely used for data feed purposes and since data feeds happen at fixed intervals, target those times and check them for failures. Though this approach requires a lot of knowledge, it is something that you can’t simply afford to miss. So you should enhance your understanding of how an application works by making analyzing it from its core.

Conclusion

Exploratory testing without any doubt does require time for one to master. As one of the best manual testing companies, we believe that these exploratory testing techniques can boost the rate of growth. You shouldn’t just be focused on obtaining experience, you should be focused on learning as much as possible during that time to get a deeper understanding of the entire process. So you have to be on top of your game to prevail as an exploratory tester over time.

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Exploratory testing is one of the types of testing that will highly benefit from the QA’s or tester’s experience, expertise, instinct, and intuition. Unlike many other types of testing, there will be no scripted and defined steps one would have to follow. The implication here is that the person performing the tests will either make or break the results as they will be flying blind without any guidelines to adhere to. So if you are a QA professional looking to make a mark, then we recommend you to master these exploratory testing techniques we have listed in this blog. It will help you become better equipped to perform effective exploratory testing. We will start out with the basic techniques and then explore the more high-level techniques as well.

To be clear, exploratory testing may not need a prescribed method, but it definitely will require a goal or objective based on which we can use our own skills to get the job done. We will not be creating a fully defined script, but we should create charters. Charters are guiding statements that will help us avoid any kind of confusion. For example, the charters will be used to define aspects like what function has to be tested, who it has to be tested by, and what type of approach has to be used. If you are fairly new to exploratory testing, you could read our quick guide about it.

User Stories

User stories also known as user scenarios can be termed as a description of a user’s workflow when using one of the application’s functions. To put it in simple words, it’s putting yourself in the shoes of the end-user to think of the possible steps the user would have to go through to use the intended feature. The more and more you familiarize yourself with creating such user stories, the better your critical thinking will become and help you in assessing the diverse workflows of various users.

You also have to make sure not to mix app functionalities with the user’s needs. For example, if you are testing an app that can be used to sell used products, you should test it from the perspective of a person listing the product and from the perspective of a person trying to buy that product. Make sure you don’t mix both perspectives just because the app’s features allow you to. Stay focused on each user’s story and not deviate away.

Test New Waters

Testing with the same type of approach you would use doing regression testing will not help you perform good exploratory testing. You would have already tested if the expected results are achieved in a logical way. So make sure you explore new unorthodox ways of doing the same process. By doing so, you will go beyond just confirming the functions. For example, let’s assume yourself to be a user who is trying to book a flight ticket in a hurry. In the heat of the moment, such a user could make a lot of mistakes a regular user may not. So those possibilities could be explored to unearth new bugs.

But it is also crucial to not indulge in highly unlikely scenarios and waste your time. This is where your experience and expertise will come into play. You should be able to assess where possible flaws could be when testing the application. But how can you do that? Let’s find out in our next Exploratory Testing Technique

Mind Maps

Visually represented data will always help you analyze your options better to take better decisions, or even understand the process more easily. So when you use mind maps during exploratory testing, you will be able to identify functionality gaps. Though you will not be able to reap the full benefits overnight, you will be on the right path towards growth. Once you become well worse at using mind maps to find functionality gaps, you would have the potential of identifying issues even before they become bugs. As a leading manual QA testing services provider, we always try to incorporate mind maps and visual aids wherever possible to make our testing more organized and effective.

Improve Your Integration Testing Skills

One skill that will come in very handy when you expand your coverage with exploratory testing is your integration testing skill. Let’s say you are testing an application that maintains inventory and you have used your mind map to find out that there might be an error with the price adjustment in existing stock. So you would have to see if that impacts your billing or just the valuation of the stock. Since you would have to test both the inventory functionality and billing functionality, it can be understood that integration testing is very important.

An End-to-End Approach

You should go beyond just the front-end and bring the back-end processes into the picture as well. There might be third-party integrations that are key to certain functionalities. In that case, check how and where the application saves the data to its database and calls it whenever necessary. APIs are widely used for data feed purposes and since data feeds happen at fixed intervals, target those times and check them for failures. Though this approach requires a lot of knowledge, it is something that you can’t simply afford to miss. So you should enhance your understanding of how an application works by making analyzing it from its core.

Conclusion

Exploratory testing without any doubt does require time for one to master. As one of the best manual testing companies, we believe that these exploratory testing techniques can boost the rate of growth. You shouldn’t just be focused on obtaining experience, you should be focused on learning as much as possible during that time to get a deeper understanding of the entire process. So you have to be on top of your game to prevail as an exploratory tester over time.