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Importance of Exploratory Testing during Software Testing Life Cycle

Importance of Exploratory Testing during Software Testing Life Cycle

Importance of Exploratory Testing during Software Testing Life Cycle

When software applications are tested based on tester’s experience of testing similar applications or test mandatory features of any applications, is called ad-hoc or random testing. Ad-hoc tests can be carried out without referring to requirement specification documents for the application being tested, it tests negative scenarios, Ad hoc testing is carried out by an expert tester who tests application based on their knowledge about steps to be carried out while testing to verify whether application gives expected output or not.

Tests that are carried out while exploring an application, and learning about the business requirements are called exploratory testing. These tests are carried out by manual testers without referring to any test cases or test scripts. Exploratory tests are carried out by experienced Software testers based on their previous testing expertise thereby test cases are designed during test execution.

Exploratory tests are advanced Ad-hoc tests; these tests are also called Monkey testing or Random testing. These tests are based on experience gathered while testing similar applications and their results compared against the customer’s requirement. The objective of exploratory tests is to verify if the designed system performs as expected or not. The data flow across modules and interfaces are tested and these results are mapped into spreadsheets for analyzing and design test scenarios and use cases.

What is the basis of exploratory testing?

There are many basic understandings that we adapt as knowledge as our thoughts become mature. Even a child will begin checking an object, how to hold. and thereby understand the object, its smell, weight, tastes, how can he use it? So there are things that we know about. There are many things we don’t know about,

There is a software requirement which we know, provided by the customer, the mandatory objective that software should accomplish, Assumptions that we keep it in mind and validate as a prerequisite for testing scenarios. Quality Assurance team of testers should come up with questions on software requirements, assumptions while testing, as well as some unknown surprises that may come up as application’s output which are not expected, can be registered as defects that can arise while exploratory tests. We need to think out of the box while testing applications. While testing we may not come across the results that we are expecting, instead we may come across something entirely new which is unexpected as a surprise, that may reveal broken functionality and thereby gap in requirements.

How to do exploratory tests?

During requirement analysis, testers should check for the scenarios which are not covered or are open-ended, hence they need to understand what and how to test these areas. The application should also be tested for reliable outputs, an application should be stable during test scenarios and normal functioning, and should perform as per industry standards. In exploratory tests testers should explore each and every screen and elements and test their features repeatedly, or multiple times such as repeat the task of selecting values from drop-down multiple times. Select and deselect checkboxes and find what gets selected every time you select or deselect. Opening multiple tabs of different modules, in order to verify insertion, viewing, or deletion of records.

While exploratory tests, both positive as well as negative tests should be tested thoroughly,

Tester may test creation of record, view the created record, modify already created record, delete the created record in an incorrect order like try to modify record already deleted previously, or view the record which has been modified. Check these scenarios by unplugging the network connection, or when internet connections are slow. Or the system should be tested against load like multiple users accessing the system, uploading extremely large numbers of records from the back-end. The expected stability and reliability of output should be always kept on record during the exploratory testing.

Exploratory testing should be carried out by experienced testers for validating critical application that requires early iteration so to test if the application satisfies essential functionality or not. Such testing is required when novice testers have started in the Quality assurance division, this will benefit them from experienced testers what to test and how to test in exploratory testing.

Exploratory testing may be challenging as testers explore the application and learn as they test. Recreating the defects or failure may not be always possible, it is required to note and follow each step and scenario into a test case that may fail to give expected output as test cases are not designed.


Exploratory testing is carried out based on the experience of testing similar applications without any predefined test cases or scenarios. The main objective of these tests is to verify the features and application function as per the requirement defined in the documentation agreed upon. Exploratory tests are essential to dig out something entirely new and unexpected from the application, which reveals the break-in functionality. These tests are challenging as repeating the failure may not always possible, it is essential to record and follow the same step that reveals the defect and define a test case or scenario.

Please leave your questions/comments/feedback below.

Happy Learning 🙂

About Me > Shreyas Joshi

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On a mission to contribute to the Software Testing Community in all possible ways.

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