The Advantages of Exploratory Testing in Agile

by Thijs Kok, on March 15, 2022

TestMonitor Blog #66 (1)

Whether it is the draw of discovering something new, the appeal of learning a new skill, or the desire to improve, the concept of exploration is an innate human trait.

These themes often come together in the world of software development, in which professionals from many disciplines weave together their perspectives and talents to help end users solve challenging problems or experience something new.

When a team wants to break new ground or develop new approaches, exploratory testing can be the catalyst needed to spark innovation or get past a hurdle.

So just what does this approach entail, and what are the advantages?

What is exploratory testing?

Much like the philosophy behind the agile software development methodology, exploratory testing is all about giving teams the space, time, and motivation to try new techniques, approaches, and features in an iterative phase.

In practice, exploratory testing in agile encourages developers and testers to approach software in development without formal test scripts or detailed plans. This allows them to try out new workflows, test functionality, and follow their intuition, much like a new user would do when first interacting with an application.

In other words, testers quickly think of simple test cases and run them immediately, helping testing go beyond the traditional formality and scope of quality assurance.

Although exploratory testing does not replace more robust software testing, the results can identify new approaches and bugs earlier in the development lifecycle.

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The advantages of exploratory testing

Incorporating exploratory testing into your software development practices can bring several key advantages, including:

More and faster testing

Exploratory testing can reduce the time between the development, testing, and defect remediation phases. Testers can spend less time creating formal test scripts and more time probing and trying new things with the software.

Unexpected tests with unique results

By allowing your team to think outside of the box and push your software in new, unexpected ways, you can extend the limits of your software’s functionality and design. This can uncover ways that end users might make errors, bypass existing controls, or find alternative workflows that could produce different results.

For instance, testers bound by formal test cases may miss or overlook obvious defects because they are focused on following a predefined script.

Incorporating exploratory testing in agile into your development approach

For teams used to the rigor and structure of traditional software testing, integrating exploratory testing into agile or other software development methodologies can be easy with the right planning and tools.

Here are some tips to ease the incorporation of exploratory testing:

  • Introduce a consistent, intuitive method for capturing the testing done, the steps completed, the test results, and any next steps and remediation plans.
  • Establish strong lines of communication between testers and developers so they can collaborate on the tests and remediate issues.
  • Allow additional time to perform several rounds of exploratory testing early in the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

Taking your testing to the next level

Customers want tech that integrates into their personal and professional lives, and their expectations for the functionality, usability, and flexibility of this technology are constantly evolving.

Teams that adapt to these changes and respond quickly to feedback can not only save time and resources, but also stay at the forefront of the market. Being open to exploratory testing and utilizing an industry-leading test management platform like TestMonitor will help your team find this balance and maximize their impact.

Want to learn more about taking your team’s testing to the next level? Then we recommend downloading TestMonitor’s comprehensive resource, The Ultimate Guide to Effective Test Management.

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test management guide download the guide

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