A Really Useful List for Exploratory Testers

Simon Tomes

The first time I tried exploratory testing I realised it was the thing I had to learn to move my testing career forwards. I was hooked! In my experience exploratory testing is the key to continuous learning, better products and closer collaboration with your team. Check out this Really Useful List™️ for all of your exploratory testing needs.

I'll keep this list updated and I encourage you to return. – Simon 😊

Get started

Resources to help you and others start exploratory testing.

  1. 📰 What is Exploratory Testing? An Alternative to Scripted Testing and Try To Break It Testing: In this blog post, Simon Tomes compares exploratory testing with two popular testing approaches and shares practical steps to get started. [BLOG POST]
  2. 🎥 99 Second Introduction to Exploratory Testing: Dan Ashby and Mark Winteringham introduce you to the value of exploratory testing, with examples. [VIDEO]
  3. 🎥 Start Exploratory Testing Today – Risks & Questions: This video guides you through the Risks & Questions technique as a simple exercise. After watching, you’ll immediately be able to use this exercise to test other products of interest. [VIDEO]

Triggers for test ideas

Use the following to trigger test ideas for your next exploratory testing session.

  1. 🗒️ Test Heuristics Cheat Sheet: By Elisabeth Hendrickson, James Lyndsay, and Dale Emery. This cheat sheet is a simple yet unique resource for those moments you're stuck with what to explore next. It's fantastic! [PROMPT]
  2. 🗒️ Welcome to the-internet: A handy oracle to trigger test ideas for typical web-based interactions. [PROMPT]
  3. 🗒️ 37 Sources for Test Ideas: Enjoy this treasure trove of prompts for test ideas by Rikard Edgren, Martin Jansson and Henrik Emilsson. [PROMPT]
  4. 🗒️ TestSphere: Teams brainstorm, share knowledge and experiences by using these cards as a conversation starter, a story telling game, a tool that facilitates workshops and as a guide for their testing sessions. [PROMPT]

Your questions answered

Sometimes it helps to ask questions and these are the places people are likely to answer.

  1. 💬 Ministry of Testing The Club: Exploratory Testing Power Hour: Elizabeth Zagroba and Simon Tomes share their answers to an incredible set of questions about exploratory testing. [FORUM]
  2. 💬 Ministry of Testing Slack: Ask a question to a growing group of exploratory testers at the helpful #exploratory-testing Slack channel. [FORUM]

Tools for the trade

Support your exploratory testing efforts with these tools.

  1. 🧰 LICEcap: Create simple animated screen captures of your testing discoveries and share as a GIF. [APP]
  2. 🧰 MindNode: Capture your test ideas and notes on one of the best mind mapping tools. [APP]
  3. 🧰 Big List of Naughty Strings: Use this list of strings to increase your chances of causing issues when used as user-input data. [APP]
  4. 🧰 TestBuddy: Create test charters, start a timer and capture your exploratory testing notes. Then easily share an auto-formatted PDF with your team. [APP]

Places to practice

Use the following to hone your application of exploratory testing techniques.

  1. 🖥️ Products by Indie Hackers: A vast and excellent array of live/beta applications to hone your exploratory testing craft. [PRODUCTS]

Convince others

Good exploratory testing isn't just about you, it's about working with others. The following will help you convince others to believe in the value of exploratory testing.

  1. 🎥 Talking with C-Level management about testing: Keith Klain shares awesome tips on how to talk to others about testing. [VIDEO]
  2. 📰 Breaking the Test Case Addiction (Multiple parts): Use any or all parts of this multipart blog post to help you convince others of the value of exploratory-based testing. A brilliant series by the excellent Michael Bolton. [BLOG POST]
  3. 📰 Explore Galore! 30 Tips to Supercharge your Exploratory Testing Efforts: Take these quick and easy tips and use them to inspire yourself and others. [BLOG POST]
  4. 📰 Cultivate Your Credibility with Oracles and Heuristics: Lee Hawkins introduces oracles and heuristics. Learn how to use them to enhance the credibility of your exploratory testing discoveries. [BLOG POST]

A deeper dive

Long-form exploration for the inquisitive explorer.

  1. 📖 Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing: A brilliant book by Elisabeth Hendrickson is a must read for anyone who wishes to enhance their exploratory testing capabilities. It's packed full of useful advice on how exploratory testing fits into different contexts and what you can achieve with various techniques. [BOOK]
  2. 📖 Exploratory Testing: Written by the incredible exploratory tester Maaret Pyhäjärvi, this book is about exploratory testing as an approach to thinking and learning while testing. [BOOK]

About the Author

Simon believes in the value of modern exploratory testing techniques. He is a software testing professional and the Co-founder of TestBuddy. Simon is on a mission to help development teams benefit from exploratory testing. Connect on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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