Thursday, December 15, 2011

There are Plenty of Ways to Manage Exploratory Testing

tl; dr - lots of different ways to manage ET

The key problem that exploratory testing faces, as a viable discipline, is how it is managed. Of course, there are other well-covered interesting areas - the question of whether to do it at all has been debated to death* amongst us pundits (if not with as much fervour in industry), and if you're want to know how to do it, there is a slew of excellent ideas, techniques, disciplines and tricks to choose from**. However, the hairiest problems in actually doing it come from how people organise the work, and how the work and its owning organisation adjust to fit***.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'll post a short series here, snappily entitled "Ten Known Ways to Manage Exploratory Testing" and "Ten Uncommon Ways to Manage Exploratory Testing"****.

Here's a kickoff showing roughly where I'll go:

Ten Known Ways to Manage Exploratory TestingTen Uncommon Ways to Manage Exploratory Testing
  • Stealth Job
  • Traditional Retread
  • Off-Piste (Iron Script)
  • Off-Piste (Marshmallow Script)
  • Bug Hunt
  • Set Aside Time
  • Gambling
  • Script-Substitute
  • Session-Based Test Management (James & Jon Bach, me, others)
  • Questioning (Jon Bach)
  • Thread-Based (James and Jon Bach)
  • Touring (James Whittaker and others)
  • Don't bother (thanks to Dave Liebreich for reminding me...)
  • Scouting
  • Kanban
  • Following Lenfle
  • Daily News
  • R&D
  • Testing Guru
  • Video Reports
  • Post-Partum Labelling
  • The Summariser
  • GPS
  • Cloudy
  • The Inquiring Metricator

I'll fill you in on what I***** mean by each of these over the next few weeks. Expect about one a day, in no particular order.

And by the way: I'm posting this because it's good stuff, and you're going to find it useful. I'm posting it now because I've got a course in January that I want you to know about. That's January 25-27, in Oxford. A two-day workshop on exploratory testing techniques, followed by one on managing exploratory testing. Book here.

Note: If you're in Scandinavia, I've got one in Copenhagen on 6-8 March through the Morten Hougaard's Pretty Good Testing. Details here.

* And has degenerated as everyone professes to agree with each other's aims while insisting the philosophy's all wrong. Consultants, eh? Welcome to my world.
** Key sources for me****** - both Bachs, Bolton, Carvalho, Edgren, van Eeden, everybody I've ever tested with, Green, Kaner, Hendrikson, Harty, Itkonen, LEWT, me, Richardson, Sabourin
, Weinberg, Whittaker. Alphabetical order. A l p h a b e t i c a l. No preference implied. Some are sources for stuff I try not to do...
*** Don't get me wrong – plenty has been written about this, too, over many years. Here's some more.
**** Sorry about the terrible titles. Ten-fer lists wind me up, get me down, piss me off and a whole other bunch of phrasal verbs. But them's the titles. No, I'm not going with The Twelve Days Of Testmas, and yes, obviously there are more than ten of each... I'm not claiming these lists are exhaustive, nor that the items are exclusive. I'll write this up properly once I'm done serialising.
***** You can probably guess some, or most. Sweepstake?
****** Did I miss you out? Apologies. It's a blog posting – half-baked by nature. Email me, and if I forgot you, I'll add you to my list.

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