Adding exploratory testing for optimum QA coverage

PractiTest

With Agile and DevOps development practices, the pressure to provide faster releases without lowering their standards of quality has been sped up. This, in turn, has had several ripple effects on software testing practices as well.

The most obvious of these ripples is the blurring of boundaries between ‘developers’ and ‘testers’ from separate and, at times, opposing teams – to a joint force on a heterogeneous team, with a similar goal of releasing quality products.

The increased implementation of test automation, as a supportive method for Agile, has also contributed to the blurriness mentioned. Testers are ‘forced’ to write or at least understand Code better, while developers are asked to take an active part in the testing processes of their code.

Keeping up with pace and demands is a struggle for everyone involved. Searching for testing strategies and ‘best practices’ that can help the team achieve their QA goals and add more value to the product’s quality is a continuous effort.

Foreseeing this trend, PractiTest – a leading SaaS test management tool – has continuously made the effort to develop its test management platform to accommodate the various types of testing used in today’s software development market, understanding that there is no single solution for software quality.

A combination, however, of different testing types and approaches can help us meet those quality goals. All the while, being able to manage the testing efforts in one management hub for maximum QA coverage and control.

So what should we mix into our agile testing strategy for maximum coverage?

Scripted Tests

The basic scripted testing, which is a step-by-step approach to testing a specific piece of functionality, relies on testers’ common sense as well as skill. While it is meticulous and often a thorough type of testing, it has its shortcomings in regards to Agile development.

Mainly, that it takes more time, something that Agile workflows cannot always afford. In addition, while scripted testing offers great coverage for planned requirements, it is lacking in coverage for the unplanned and unexpected.

PractiTest offers some efficiency shortcut features, to help cut down on the time needed to plan, create, run and report issues for scripted testing, such as bulk edits, step parameters, test permutations and more – as well as some of the best-in-market integrations with leading bug trackers, such as Jira, Pivotal Tracker, Redmine, and more.

You can check it out and learn more here.

Automated Testing

Another type of testing to use in order to keep up with market demands is automated tests. The use of automated testing or scripting has increased greatly over the past five years and for good reason.

Automating some of the previously scripted testing tasks has sped up the QA process. These tests can also be scripted using various test automation tools and the ability to write such tests has become a much-needed skill for testing professionals.

By automating the repeated manual tests, it frees up time for testers to conduct more creative thinking and exploratory testing.

PractiTest offers several built-in integrations with automation tools as well as a versatile API to allow it’s users to streamline their automation into the test management platform. Thus, providing a clear view of all the various testing types and efforts.

While these PractiTest features may solve the time and efficiency elements required for scripted and automated testing, they do not check the box for covering the unplanned or unexpected. That is why they have also added the option to run exploratory and session based testing in their QA management tool.

Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing is more intuitive based and requires testers to be professional and responsible to continually optimise their work, with minimum planning and maximum execution, and it is not heavily documented or scripted. But that is not to say that it cannot be documented to some level and become an integrated type of testing to provide excellent QA coverage.

Session based-testing

Some test managers or project managers are wary of exploratory tests because of lack of ways to manage or gather evidence of work performed or achieved by testers. This is where session based test management comes in. Session based test management aims to combine accountability and exploratory testing to provide rapid defect discovery, creative on-the-fly test design, management control, and metrics reporting.

Exploratory testing in PractiTest

Exploratory tests in PractiTest allow you to define charters & guide points for your exploratory test sessions, document annotations as you are running your tests, report and link bugs directly from your runs, and finally to review your exploratory test sessions with colleagues in order to gather feedback.

A test set can contain all types of tests at once: automated, manual and exploratory. This ability allows to combine various tests and to improve QA coverage and traceability.

How to combine exploratory practices into your testing routine?

For small or novice teams, the optimal way to incorporate exploratory testing would be by setting an allocated time slot for such an activity with a certain feature, component, functionality, or behaviour in mind as your focus (session based testing).

More mature teams, or those in need for a more standardised way of creating, assigning and fulfilling these test charters, would be with test management tools such as PractiTest.

Conclusion

If you are looking to give your QA coverage that extra advantage, add exploratory tests to the mix of scripted and automated tests to push up your software quality!

And if you are looking for better and easier management solution around QA exploration, exploratory test tools (like PractiTest) can help and support you further in your quality endeavours.

 

 

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