My Thoughts on Exploratory Testing (a.k.a. Steve discovers SBTM)

The group I manage make regular use of Exploratory Testing. We even took training, way back in the day (well a few years back anyway), we know about our test charters, we know where to start and where to stop, we understand it’s place in our strategy. It forms a corner stone of this strategy, which we have to enable quality within our projects. Yet to some of us there seemed to be something missing.

As a tester it’s great. We make a thing about exploratory test sessions. There’s coffee and if you are lucky then there is cake too. You turn up, you pick your area and you fill in your charter. Start the clock and go; testing begins. Stop the clock and testing stops, bugs are added to our database and charters are filled in. Coffee is drunk and cakes are eaten and we go home…..

…..leaving a large pile of pieces of paper which are subsequently bundled in a drawer and forgotten. You might argue this is ok, after all “the bugs got raised didn’t they?” This is of course true but as the Test Manager then I miss the ability to learn from the experience, to review the metrics and to understand how to make the next sessions even better.

So recently I discovered Session Based Test Management, James Bach’s take on ET. I know, late to the party again, by about 10 years, but I work for a large multinational telecoms vendor and change doesn’t come easy to us (awful excuse of course). But thankfully we’ve now found SBTM. I love it, you get the metrics you need, the visibility and the control that allow ET to really come to life. We’re focusing on it more now than ever before.

(One tip if you do take SBTM and James Bach’s tools – also use Session Creator; it just makes things so much easier for the testers.

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