Saturday, December 19, 2020

Exploring to the Choir

I attended Rob Sabourin's talk Experiences in Exploratory Test Automation for the Test Tribe this morning. If I had to summarise it I'd say something like this: 

  • it is a myth that exploratory testing cannot exploit programmable tools
  • exploratory testing is deliberate learning using whatever tools are appropriate
  • automation in exploratory testing can be one-shot, just good enough, targeted at learning

Rob is preaching to my choir, and I've written about ways that I combine exploratory investigation with automation many times over the years, for example:

Maaret Pyhäjärvi has long been an evangelist in this area and, while we're here, take a look her Intersection of Automation and Exploratory Testing presentation where she demos exploratory testing using approval tests.


  1. This really should include a big caveat - the word automation as commonly used is confirmatory testing. There never is any question that exploratory can use tools. However, the corollary is not true - commonly used automation, including BDD, is not exploratory.

  2. Hi, thanks for commenting.

    Regression testing might not be exploratory, but I have used regression tests in exploratory testing: looking at the patterns of failures or the runtimes of regression test packs over time can be a useful data source, for example.

    If you're into the check/test distinction then, for me, whether any particular automation is a check or a test depends on what the person running it does with the output. I wrote about this in Means Testing.