Sunday, February 17, 2008

Did you explor(e)(atory) testing today?

As often before I search the internet for information. Sometimes (OK, I admit, often) it is related to testing. Usually I come in areas of other weblogs, other articles or presentations. Especially for the last one I use the document format option from Google.

The reason I start search a quest is mostly not predefined. Though their seems to be a certain pattern in it. If I think about it the following situation can be identified:

  • A question was asked to me from a colleague for information about software testing;
  • A weblog triggered me with a term I want to know more about;
  • An article trigger me;
  • I have just a question;
  • Accidentally;
  • Forum;
  • New technology;
  • ...

Today the search started with a technology I already heard about, and I also tried it in the past. Only this time it was different. In a course I followed in the previous days they showed some great video's which can be found on the internet.

I started now with a certain purpose, only not yet defined, to use Googles-video search. Using one of the obvious phrases is: "Software Testing". The result was that I found an interesting video of a presentation from James Bach "Becoming a Software Testing Expert" . Actually this was the first time I was not scared by the size of it (58 minutes)

During these 58 minutes I heard some terms which made me listen instead watching to the video and start searching further on the internet for more information. (Specifically at those moments James wasn't in the picture, instead a slide) And now and then I looked back to the video to check if the slide was still on. If the slide was still on I continue my search. If James was again in the picture I took a decision. I decided to scroll the video a bit backwards when I thought it was interesting. And sometimes I just continue watching, accepting I missed something.

When the video presentation was finished I raised my self another question: "Would the actual presentation be available on the internet?" Which lead me to the weblog of James Bach were the video and actual presentation can be downloaded.

On that blog I found other triggers which lead me to continue searching, like names James thought it was worth to mention.

I shall not bother you with the other information I came up with. Though this situation made me think. I was exploring the internet for information which should gave me a good feeling I spend my time useful or made me think further for the next step.

And it gave me a good feeling. Not only has it leaded to new information. In some funny kind of way I did some testing today. Currently I would call it Exploratory Testing. As I approached my system, the internet, with a particular goal to find out if could come up with information using my experience and giving me a feeling if I succeeded or not. Were the success was triggered by other information I found during this search.

I had that feeling I was doing some exploratory testing, only was it? Wasn't it some kind of error guessing? In think not. As I was still able to:

  • Identify the goal and direction;
  • Measure if the goal was reached on every moment;
  • Identify the starting point;
  • Identify the decision points;
  • Reproduce the steps of thinking;
  • Create the road map;
  • Check if it gave a good feeling;
  • Express that feeling;
  • Prepare the next step.

Perhaps books, articles, opinions related to exploratory testing would give other results/opinions about this. I think I did my exploratory testing for today. And that felt good.

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