STARWEST 2006: Session-Based Exploratory Testing: A Large Project Adventure

George Bliss, Captaris

Session-based exploratory testing has been proposed as a new and improved approach to software testing. It promotes a risk-conscious culture that focuses on areas where there are likely to be defects and allows for rapid course corrections in testing plans to accommodate testing "discoveries", feature-creep, and schedule changes.
How can a test manager take a highly talented manual testing team, accustomed to running test scripts, and
introduce the agility of an exploratory approach? What can be done to communicate the risks inherent in featurecreep
and schedule changes to senior stakeholders in a meaningful way? Bliss will demonstrate how he successfully
implemented session-based exploratory testing while maintaining and even improving the code quality. Using the
tool he developed (available for free download) and metrics available with this approach, stakeholders get real-time
testing status reports and begin to understand their responsibilities in the process. They then learn how their
decisions actually affect the quality of the product. With their new awareness, project stakeholders are more willing
to negotiate changes that they might otherwise impose on the engineering teams. With session-based exploratory
testing, you will discover that quality rapidly becomes everyone's concern.

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