Exploratory Testing vs. ad hoc testing
During a recent testing workshop, when we finished the exercise on learning Exploratory Testing, a very keen learner asked me this question: “This looks like we are doing ad hoc testing. Is Exploratory Testing the same as ad hoc testing?” I gave my answer about my view of the things but thought it to be interesting question that needed more discussion.
Muzaffar mentioned this quoting the Explore It! book:
“Eexploratory testing is exploring the territory (focused on one aspect/feature/ module of software) and getting information from that test and driving the next test and keep going that way.”
“Exploratory testing is exploring the application and when explore you need to be focused while Ad-hoc testing is like Walkthroughs without having planned criteria”
“Exploratory testing is often considered mysterious and unstructured. Not so! You just need to know what to look for.”
Anum guided by saying:
“Exploratory testing is more structured with a test plan , test design, and test execution”
I also took this question to some of the gurus on twitter. One thought was around “what’s in the name” or “a rose will be rose whatever you name it”. But given that names matter, some insights were as followed:
Elisabeth Hendrickson said:
James Bach said:
Michael Bolton added by referring to his detailed explanation. This article says:
“Some claim that exploratory testing is “unstructured”, equating it with “ad hoc testing” or “fooling around with the computer”. In our definition of exploratory testing, such claims are false and unsupportable, and we reject them. Some may say that they are doing “exploratory testing” when they are behaving in an unskilled, unprofessional manner, but we reject this characterization as damaging not only to exploratory testing, but to the reputation of testers and testing generally. If you are not using the learning garnered from test design and test execution in a continuous and rapid loop to optimize the quality of the work, you are not doing exploratory testing. If exploratory testing is “fooling around with the computer”, then forensic investigation is “poking around inside a dead body”.”
I hope that I have managed to expand your horizon good enough here. It is not easy to sum up this discussion in easy ways but seems like skilled work, focus, analysis, self-management and adapting as you go are some key differences.
What is your view of Exploratory Testing in this context?