Exploratory Testing Work Course

Course Description

Testing activities account for a significant portion of costs we invest into software development, and testing is done by all people participating in development, including specialised testers. The skill of delivering the right information effectively and efficiently through testing is the core of this course: exploratory testing frames the thinking about the system, and engulfs the idea of creating artefacts to support testing.

In this work course, we will work on building the good habits of skilled exploratory testing, layer by layer through creating a shared learning experience. We will work on different types of testing tasks as a group: from analysing a user interface to analysing an individual feature; from relying on requirements documentation to free associations; from focusing on coverage to focusing on understanding problems; from the user interface to peeking at the code.

You get to experience exploratory testing hands-on and learn by doing: we plan testing, tests and run our tests, and report bugs. We learn testing skills through testing in a group format. Our test target is an open-source editor tool that is easy to learn. We start with limited and defined functionalities and learn essential thinking skills and approaches to managing one’s own testing work & scope. The course is set up for a maximum of 16 participants and you don’t need your own laptops.

Join in to experience how exploratory testing is different from traditional testing, and collect practical ideas to amplify your testing. With exploratory testing, we make best possible use of our limited time with intelligent testing that delivers results!


Opening of the Day: Learning Goals and Introducing the System Under Test

The Brief Basics to Exploratory Testing: Better tests and better testers!

  • Testing Mathematics: Need for Intelligent Manual Testing
  • Oracles and the Garden Metaphor
  • Flavours of test activity: intake, survey, analysis, setup, deep coverage, closure

Session 1: Exploratory Testing Core – Finding bugs & information

  • Finding bugs with freeform testing
  • ** PRACTICE: Learn by doing **
  • Retrospective: what have we learned?

Session 2: Difference Between Exploratory Testing and Ad Hoc Testing

  • Self-management, continuous test planning & design, and sticking to a charter
  • ** PRACTICE: Learn by doing **
  • Retrospective: what have we learned?

Session 3: Documentation in Exploring

  • Using requirements and code
  • Generating bug reports, notes & checklists
  • ** PRACTICE: Learn by doing **
  • Retrospective: what have we learned?

Session 4: Techniques for learning and effectiveness

  • Test Heuristics for multi-dimensional idea generation
  • ** PRACTICE: Learn by doing **
  • Retrospective: what have we learned?

End of day discussion: From Today’s Experiences into a Model

  • Framework for doing and managing Exploratory Testing
  • Lessons Learned and Next Steps

Course Instructor: Maaret Pyhäjärvi

Maaret Pyhäjärvi is a software professional with testing emphasis. She identifies as an empirical technologist, a tester and a programmer, a catalyst for improvement and a speaker. Her day job is working with a software product development team as a hands-on testing specialist with a focus on exploratory testing. In addition to being a tester and a teacher, she is a serial volunteer for different non-profits driving forward the state of software development. She was recently awarded as Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person 2016. She blogs regularly at http://visible-quality.blogspot.fi and is the author of two LeanPub books.

Course Length

This is a one day course

Next Course

If you'd like to see this class in your town/city, or internally at your company please direct questions and enquiries to hello@ministryoftesting.com