A One-Stop Guide to Exploratory Testing

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Emtec Digital Think Tank

March 12, 2018

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What is Exploratory Testing?

Exploratory testing is generally considered a non-scripted testing method where the emphasis is on minimum pre-planning and maximum test execution. Exploratory testing is typically carried out after the formal test plan is executed, and hence no formal test cases are prepared. Exploratory testing during web & mobile application testing process helps uncover aspects that may have been missed during formal test cases.

In exploratory testing, testers need to play with the application with an unstructured approach and track any defects, if found. This testing approach helps testers uncover test cases / scenarios which are not documented as well as detect critical issues in a relatively short span of time. It can also be performed when requirements are vague and it's difficult to determine which test cases should be run.

How Exploratory Testing Fits into an Agile Testing Model:

Most mature organizations utilize an agile methodology in varied degrees. The methodologies are based on continuous development, flexible planning and rapid delivery. When it comes to testing, the constraint lies in constructive and efficient testing.

The agile process is centered on concise sprints of development filled with constant changes in short time frames. Since these short test activities sprints/scrums are time compressed, there is a need for exploratory testing to provide relevant and instant feedback to the development team. Since exploratory is executed real-time, it greatly improves test results for agile projects.

In an agile methodology, exploratory testing is used to develop new test cases based on issues reported during testing, which are made iterative as needed. As the sprints are of shorter duration in an agile methodology, exploratory testing detects issues at earlier stages, both resolving and safeguarding that the changes do not affect unchanged areas.

The following tips can be adopted to improve exploratory testing activities within an agile environment:

  • Identify the best testing resources:During web and mobile application testing highly competent and skilled testers can more often detect critical bugs in less time. So, it is crucial to select a well-seasoned tester and effectively utilize that resource to increase the quality of your exploratory testing activities.
  • Emphasize the business goals:Exploratory testing should focus on the technology, business requirements and domain knowledge of the application. Even though exploratory testing provides the liberty to test all features and characteristics of the application, the scope should be confined to the above-mentioned areas to maximize the value of testing results. This approach helps testers to actively identify the critical functionality from user's perspectives and optimize accordingly.
  • Perform exploratory testing in groups:Conducting exploratory testing in group proves beneficial for a complete understanding of the functionality and identifying the bugs. A higher level of testing can be leveraged through the collaboration of multiple members brainstorming, sharing ideas and mapping feature functionalities to be tested.


Exploratory testing plays a notable role in amplifying the effectiveness of testing efforts. It clears the way to carry out web and mobile application testing in short and tight agile sprints, providing significant and rapid results to validate development efforts.

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