Exploratory testing in Agile: Top benefits you should know
Creating new software is often challenging. There are tons of tasks you need to complete, starting from creating the concept to go with it “live”. The technology, the main functions, the advantages for users, and the interface are among the core features you should pay attention to before starting the development process.
Testing the software at all the main stages of its development is also among the obligatory steps of creating any application. However, having control over the automatiс software testing is no longer enough for effective management. What else will you need? The truth is that learning, exploring, and performing different types of software manual testing should also be done constantly. This is the right place, where the testing is being combined with the Agile environment.
Exploratory software testing in Agile: basic facts
Exploratory testing is an inevitable part of the Agile since it makes QA Engineers keep up the fast pace of product development. Agile is all about shorter testing and development cycles, frequent testing and continuous integration. To put it short, in Agile, the application is released with the help of small iterations. Each software comes through lots of preliminary releases, where each release is fully inspected by the developers and testing team. Each release is usually tested with the help of the regression tests to make sure it has not regressed.
Exploratory testing is an effective combination of learning, investigating, and execution of tests. Not automated tests, but a professional manual QA takes the leading role in this process. In other words, exploratory testing is a perfect addition to the standard test automation. Unlike regression cases, this kind of application testing is usually performed for checking new features and tools in each release.
Why one can’t rely on automated testing alone?
Automated tests are important and are great for testing specific aspects of functionality, but they can’t always address the complexity of finding potential problems related to usability, reliability, performance, compatibility and other quality criteria.
An automated test check only checks what is been programmed to check. In reality, all automated checks in a test process can be marked as “pass”, but there could be major flaws or bugs undetected. The reason for this is because the automated scripts were not coded to “look” for those failures.
From our experience, the majority of the bugs seem to be found by “accident” (exploring the app) because in each session we test in a different way and not just follow a given path (like automation).
Further, automated tests don’t typically cover test scenarios past common use such as extreme use or for testing complex applications with external dependencies.
Automated testing follows specific scripts, but real testing requires domain knowledge, a focused, unbiased mind and willingness to learn the product. To properly test a digital product, to understand the user’s way of using the product, a human intelligence is always required.
The advantages of exploratory testing in Agile
Find hidden bugs. With automated tests, many bugs and errors might be missed. The fact is that automated tests perform only pre-defined instructions and often fail to find errors beyond these cases. With exploratory testing, even the most hidden bugs can be uncovered because they offer a deeper and broader view of your software. This type of software testing is not only about checking each function and option, but it is also about exploring the whole app from a different viewpoint. The testers are exploring the app and thinking like a consumer, and that way they can find bugs that customers may face. Although exploratory tests can’t completely substitute automated ones, they can help you to make your software more usable and top-notch.
Fast decision-making. The Agile methodology requires making both decisions and changes as fast as possible. Exploratory testing allows collecting feedback about the bugs and errors from different professionals. This way, the team is able to polish the release in a much shorter lead time. Moreover, it can work in a more dynamic way, boost communication between the experts in different areas, and meet the strict deadlines of Agile. Keeping in mind the goals and main purposes of certain software, the team gains an opportunity to switch between different experimental conditions and have the most precise control of the application.
Easy optimization. Application development is usually a complex field, where exploratory testing is focused on improving the product’s quality and optimizing the process of the development. With this type of software testing, you can assign special testing tasks to each team member. This approach will allow you to get a more broad picture of the weak points and bugs in your software and will be able to optimize your applications on the fly. Optimizing a piece of code is surely easier than changing the whole app.
Better communication. Agile focuses on open and free channels of communication and continuous feedback. With exploratory testing, getting feedback and establishing effective communication between all members of the team becomes possible. Moreover, with a strong team spirit, the process of software development usually comes more smoothly and easily. Exploratory testing also allows QA engineers and other team members to be creative and offer innovative solutions for each release.
Faster test cycles. One of the most common myths of the quality assurance process is that exploratory testing can significantly slow down software development. However, this is not true. The truth is that this type of testing doesn’t require any preparation and approval of test cases. Furthermore, you will not need to spend time creating any test documentation. Tester only need to know the purpose of testing and then he/she can start experimenting with it. The QA team can make decisions and change the strategies within the shortest terms.
Diverse approach to testing. When it comes to exploratory testing, the higher the number of professionals it performs, the better. This type of application testing might involve designers, developers, product managers, content creators, and support specialists to check the software from different stands. Or even better, using the services of an external crowdsourced testing company that can offer thousands of global, professional QA experts with devices, in any required geography, to help with the process of exploratory testing. This way, different people will be able to check the app from various perspectives and make the process of testing more precise, significantly reducing the risks of critical errors. Exploratory testing guarantees superior quality of the final release of your product.
In case you are looking for professional QAs for performing exploratory testing, Ubertesters is always here to help. We have a wide number of experts in different IT niches, in different geographies, with different devices, OSs and carriers, so you will definitely enjoy obtaining pro assistance and meet all your testing goals. By the way, we also offer an effective QA management platform, designed to find even the minor bugs in your software. With Ubertesters, you can make the whole process of testing fast and effective.
Don’t hesitate to get expert help and contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.