Exploratory Testing

James Bach states, “The plainest definition of exploratory testing is test design and test execution at the same time.”  I had a very interesting conversation this week where an individual made the following comment:

As a business matures and one or many of its products peak from a sales perspective, the team needs to focus on efficiency to drive profitability. What we now are also encouraging the team to do is to nurture a culture of innovation. It is really difficult to do both with the same people at the same time. It is almost like having two personalities!

When I first read this I disagreed vehemently.  As I thought about it for a bit, I twisted this in my head to a point where I could almost believe it, but I still had some reservations.  As I was writing my blog post on innovation I was looking at this definition of Exploratory Testing and I realized something.  I spend my days concurrently innovating and efficiently executing tests, it blew me away to have a member of management (I’ll call him Mr. Higherup) didn’t think that was possible.  Or, if it was in some way possible, it was due to Multiple Personality Disorder.

This was a very important realization for me in terms of the conversation I was having, but in broader testing terms I think it sheds some light on the testing I choose to do.  First, I see the world very differently from the way my management does.  That’s not a bad thing, I just need to realize that and incorporate that realization into my communication with them.  Second, Exploratory Testing takes a great amount of skill, so much so that Mr. Higherup thinks insinuated that I must be crazy to even try.  I’m ok with that insinuation, I know I’m not crazy.  I also know that I do have a skill set that is incredibly valuable to the company.

2 Responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Michael Bolton on 28.10.11 at 12:19 pm

    Can Mr. HigherUp innovate and manage at the same time?

    —Michael B.

  2. Posted by Wade on 28.10.11 at 12:19 pm

    Based on the fact that he was directing everyone else in the company to do so, my first reaction that he doesn’t think he can. Though I admit I don’t know what he does with his time outside of the minute interaction I have had with him in the last week.