Digital Transformation Today

Exploratory Testing in Agile Development and Scrum

Have you heard about Exploratory Testing? If not, please visit my previous blog, where I have explained the method in detail. Now, let’s dive deeper and see how it can be implemented. Most of us are moving into Agile implementation, and in this blog, you will learn how Scrum goes perfectly hand-in-hand with Exploratory Testing.

Exploratory Testing marks an important activity while practicing Agile methodologies of software development. In an Agile development sprint, the software is developed and released in multiple versions every few weeks. This means that the time to develop and test software is restricted and needs to be done on a tighter timeline. Thus, to conform to the small iterations of Agile; Exploratory Testing is chosen which complements automation testing to enhance the software with each version release.

While automation testing takes care of the regression testing, Exploratory Testing mainly tests the newly introduced features for the updated version. It ensures robust functionality, a better user experience, constant learning and implementing with each version and informing the team about possible issues that might occur.

Now, how do we use Exploratory Testing in the Agile development sprint?

The most important part of the sprint is allocating points/effort for a task. When testing in the sprint, one must allocate capacity for Exploratory Testing as is done for other types of testing. In fact, all testing is exploratory to a certain extent.

There are more considerations to understand the scope of the feature:

  1. What has been built?
  2. What is the change?
  3. Note-taking observations
  4. Interactions with the prototype
  5. Discussions with developers and other likewise involved parties

With all of this considered, one approach that can be followed to estimate is to ask …

How Much to Test?

Plan to finish the tests within a time frame. After the initial two to three testing sessions, compare the notes with the feature map or the product coverage outline and highlight if the estimate seems to be off by a large margin.

It is sometimes very surprising that we plan the most when we know the least about the product/project.

So, how do I allocate points then?

  1. List out the testable elements into the product coverage outline.
  2. Then, categorize them depending on their complexity and size.
  3. Estimate the time needed.
  4. Add in buffer time for retesting, bug verification, etc.
Advantages of Exploratory Testing in Agile
  • Value-focused
  • Leverages each testers’ strengths
  • Makes testers better continuously
  • Rapid feedback on the product/app
  • New idea generation
  • Tests on multiple scenarios
  • Enables adapting to the changes and surprises
  • Reveals information that was not available without learning while using the system
  • High bug-finding rates
  • Helps with time management
  • Catches batch errors and bugs early in the process
  • Gives effective test cases and scenarios
  • Enhances understanding of the product
  • Helps in rapid change requirements
  • Compatible with small durations of development sprints

It is vital for management to be aware of the importance of Exploratory Testing and what value it brings to the table. There are quite a few tools that can be used for Exploratory Testing, and one must bear in mind that we might not know what we are looking out for initially.

With the growing pressure of digital disruption, enterprises can find themselves facing the need for speed and change. DevOps has emerged to enable this change and help speed up time to market and cross-team collaboration. As a result, DevOps has transformed how we test and our daily testing routines.

Many in the industry believe that Exploratory Testing is the future of manual testing. Exploratory Testing opportunities cannot be ignored irrespective of what model we use. It doesn’t matter if it takes up one or two sprints – what is important here is to undergo the continuous cycle of learning and revisiting the tests to result in the best possible outcome for your product.

Author: Nandini Rao | [email protected]

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