Exploratory testing strategies for QA teams

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Exploratory testing is a software testing strategy that depends on the inventiveness of the tester. This testing method is flexible, creative, and simple and requires little documentation or training.

Using exploratory testing strategies helps QA teams to prevent gaps in the software that are left unnoticed with predefined testing. Exploratory testing helps QA teams in different ways, such as faster bug detection, improved team collaboration, and overall achieving better results. 

QA engineers' expertise leads exploratory testing in the application's objective, user experience, and human behavior. This testing strategy is best suited for an agile environment due to its pace and adaptability to any stage of the software development lifecycle.


Xray Exploratory App for exploratory testing

Benefits of exploratory testing strategies for QA teams

The application code needs to be set and testable for QA teams to develop and execute scripted test cases. QA teams must prepare a strategy for conducting exploratory testing. The way QA teams develop their exploratory testing strategy will depend on the creativity and expertise of the tester.

Considering this unique testing methodology, QA teams can benefit from using an exploratory testing strategy in many aspects of their product development lifecycle, such as:

  • Less planning

The tester can start the testing process with minimal preparation. In contrast to compiling numerous test cases and features for other forms of testing, exploratory testing only requires, on a planning level, a testing charter which is a description of the testing's objectives that can be introduced in the development stage.

  • Learning in real-time

The best testers may use their expertise and experience to execute tests while concurrently learning about system behavior. As a result, they can create, carry out, and modify testing scenarios in real-time.


  • Stronger collaboration between teams

Since testers don't have to follow the conventional test-case methodology, they can concentrate on pressing issues and issues as they come up. Giving intelligent commentary on the product's quality or areas they have identified as potential problem areas helps developers.


  • Improved critical defects detection

Because developers create test cases based on potential issues or errors, scripted testing may be constrained by confirmation bias. Exploratory testers can examine the software or system and find flaws other testers might have overlooked since they think outside these established beliefs.


Exploratory testing strategies

Numerous exploratory testing strategies can inspire interesting test cases that uncover intricate, unnoticed issues. Some skilled testers will go from pre-planned regression test cases to a more imaginative exploratory structure without trouble, but others can struggle.

QA teams must update their strategies alongside the product testing and development cycle. Once they opt for an exploratory testing strategy approach, it's important to know where to start and how they can benefit from different strategies. Let's examine some of the exploratory testing strategies from which QA teams can benefit:


  • Create user stories

User stories or scenarios describe a user's process using a program feature. In other terms, it involves seeing oneself as the end user and considering the steps the user might need to take to use the intended feature.

Your critical thinking will improve as you grow more accustomed to writing these types of user stories and will aid you in evaluating the varied workflows of different users.


  • Test outside the box

Many automated regression test suites' processes and validation points are explicit and expected. These tests, whether automated or manual, confirm that the application carries out a function as intended or follows the anticipated logical sequence.

With this method, the tester investigates the system continuously to gain additional knowledge. Results and insights reinforce one another, and the system can be tested in all possible settings.


  • Improve traceability and find defects

Exploratory testers shouldn't only check that the product works, the ideal process is for them to attempt to break it.

Look for comparable defects by leveraging your experience from using new software. It's essential to keep track of and report every bug to share with other teams, and that's where exploratory testing tools come in.

With exploratory testing tools, you can gather all the defects you encounter during the regular use of your software and work in comparisons to get a better view than you would get with scripted tests.


  • Use mind maps

Project managers frequently use mind maps, which are visual collections of thoughts and concepts, to ensure they notice all crucial details while planning a project. Therefore, using thought maps during exploratory testing will allow you to spot functional gaps. 

While using a mind map in exploratory testing, the testers performing this strategy can split tasks by having one conduct the tests while the other registers their findings, making it easier to produce a testing trail. 

You can spot issues before they become bugs after you get better at using thought maps to uncover functionality gaps. With this strategy, it's easier to create a testing script since the main focus of the mind maps is to produce reliable documentation while you're testing.


  • Improve your integrative testing

Integrative testing is one of the agile testing methods, which verifies how well various software system modules interact by testing individual components or units of code. These system components are dynamically arranged or tested as a single unit.

Most software has integrated functional sections for reporting and finances, for example. Testing different components and arranging them while performing exploratory testing improves the detection of gaps, and QA teams gain more knowledge of how to proceed next.

Integrative testing notices bugs that are usually left out and confirms the integrated components' efficiency, reliability, and functionality.

While improving your integrative testing, the mind mapping technique is also helpful since you can better understand through visualization of a diagram of the various software system modules interacting with each other while you're testing the individual components.

  • Explore an End-to-End Approach

Consider the back-end procedures in addition to the front-end ones. Integrations with third parties may be necessary for specific features. In that situation, look into where and how the program stores data for later retrieval.

Since data feeds come at regular intervals and are often used, focus on those times and check for errors. Even though this strategy requires a great deal of knowledge, you must pay close attention to it to better analyze the results. Therefore, you may better grasp how an application functions by doing a core analysis through exploratory testing.


Update your QA strategy and benefit from exploratory testing

QA teams need to choose documentation and test management tools and make them available to all testers when developing a more organized exploratory testing methodology. In exploratory testing, there is no pre-designed test document, giving testers and team leads more latitude and flexibility in tool selection. And QA teams can benefit from exploratory testing tools.

After you decide on a strategy for exploratory testing, it's crucial to have a tool like the Exploratory Testing App that can help you achieve all your testing strategy goals to benefit from an improved product development life cycle. With exploratory testing, you can detect more bugs faster, improve the collaboration between testers and developers, and achieve better results.


Xray Exploratory App for exploratory testing


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