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Mr. James Bach
(Satisfice Inc)

High Accountability Exploratory Testing

Key Points

Presentation Abstract

Exploratory testing means concurrent test design and test execution. Instead of writing tests down in advance, you make them up as you go. Itís an ad hoc process. Experience shows that testers who use this approach find a lot of bugs quickly.

A problem with exploratory testing is that itís normally not as reviewable and, therefore, not as accountable as pre-planned testing. In this talk we will examine a way to get the benefits of exploratory testing while also providing high accountability for the test process. Itís called session-based test management. Basically, testing activity is focused and packaged into time boxes called sessions. The sessions have a charter, reviewable output, and each session is debriefed by a test lead. Although what happens in each session is not determined in advance, we are able to record and measure testing productivity and test coverage in retrospect. We will talk about these metrics in some detail.

In our experience, weíve found that the key to this approach is the debriefing, which is a coaching opportunity for the test lead while providing and opportunity for the tester practice explaining his test strategies.

About the Author

James Bach (http://www.satisfice.com) is founder and principal consultant of Satisfice, Inc. James cut his teeth as a programmer, tester, and SQA manager in Silicon Valley and the world of market-driven software development. He has worked at Apple, Borland, a couple of startups, and a couple of consulting companies.

Through his models of Good Enough quality, exploratory testing, and heuristic test design, he focuses on helping individual software testers cope with the pressures of life in the trenches and answer the questions "What am I doing here? What should I do now?"