What is Structured Exploratory Testing? What Are Its Uses?

Any software product has to be tested before it is officially released into the market. 

While developers work on building and developing the software, the testers take up the task of assessing if the software product is error-free and meets the specified standards. 

The software product is tested using various types of QA (Quality Assurance) tests, depending on the size of the product and the reason it has been developed.

Testers are a separate set of professionals who are different from developers as their aim is to check if the software product is working without any glitches and doesn’t have any bugs. Enterprises can either recruit testers or outsource the job to independent testing companies and freelancers.

Testing can be done in two broad ways - manual and automated.

Manual testing is where testers spend time checking each and every element of the software. In automated testing, testers are involved in checking manually checking the software. 

Both methods have their advantages, and it depends on the software and the enterprise to decide which testing method to opt for.

Manual testing is further classified into many categories. One such testing is known as exploratory testing. The term refers to the tests that are conducted simultaneously, without any planning and are unstructured.

The aim of exploratory testing is to discover any loopholes, investigate the cause, and learn where and how it has to be rectified.

It is mostly used in Agile models and makes it easy for the tester to follow a pattern they find convenient.

What Does Structured Exploratory Testing Mean?

It is the process in which a proper plan is created before the tester starts testing the software product. 

At the same time, it is called exploratory testing because the plan and strategy are flexible and keep changing depending on what the tester finds once the process begins.

Test designing and coverage techniques play a role in this method. The testers should know about the test strategy, test planning, design techniques, and coverage techniques. When a tester starts testing a software product without any knowledge of the above-mentioned elements, it could be a huge problem in itself. 

Usually, the testers who create the plan and strategy are the ones who conduct the test along with other testers or developers of the software.

Risk assessment and ‘what next’ are two major factors of this testing. If the testers if a bug at a certain stage, it could mean that a certain part of the software has an error. 

But if that aspect were to work well, it implies that the test was as thorough as it should be. A tester should be able to assess all the factors and identify the specific areas that would be affected due to the bug.

While there is no fixed strategy, the tester should plan the next step based on the results of the current one. Exploratory testing is a continuous activity.

Uses of Structured Exploratory Testing

  • This test requires less documentation. Only the information that needs to be shared will be noted. Problem areas, errors, bugs, etc. are mentioned so that developers know what to avoid.
  • Automated testing cannot replace exploratory testing. This is the best method to identify and pinpoint the exact problem area.
  • Having a test strategy helps in effective testing of the software and results in releasing a software product with better quality.

eCommerce websites and apps are tested using the exploratory testing method. This helps in assessing the security of the website or app, the performance during the peak load, and user experience.

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Grzegorz Kłos
Grzegorz Kłos - Apphawks Co-founder
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