History of the term “Exploratory Testing” as applied to software testing within the Rapid Software Testing methodology space.
For a discussion of the some of the social and philosophical issues surrounding this chronology, see Exploratory Testing 3.0.
|1988||First known use of the term, defined variously as “quick tests”; “whatever comes to mind”; “guerrilla raids” – Cem Kaner, Testing Computer Software (There is explanatory text for different styles of ET in the 1988 edition of Testing Computer Software. Cem says that some of the text was actually written in 1983.)|
|1990||“Organic Quality Assurance”, James Bach’s first talk on agile testing filmed by Apple Computer, which discussed exploratory testing without using the words agile or exploratory.|
|1993||June: “Persistence of Ad Hoc Testing” talk given at ICST conference by James Bach. Beginning of James’ abortive attempt to rehabilitate the term “ad hoc.”|
|1995||February: First appearance of “exploratory testing” on Usenet in message by Cem Kaner.|
|1995||Exploratory testing means learning, planning, and testing all at the same time. – James Bach (Market Driven Software Testing class)|
|1996||Simultaneous exploring, planning, and testing. – James Bach (Exploratory Testing class v1.0)|
|1999||An interactive process of concurrent product exploration, test design, and test execution. – James Bach (Exploratory Testing class v2.0)|
|2001(post WHET #1)||The Bach View|
Any testing to the extent that the tester actively controls the design of the tests as those tests are performed and uses information gained while testing to design new and better tests.
The Kaner View
Any testing to the extent that the tester actively controls the design of the tests as those tests are performed, uses information gained while testing to design new and better tests, and where the following conditions apply:
– Resolution between Bach and Kaner following WHET #1 and BBST class at Satisfice Tech Center.
(To account for both of views, James started speaking of the “scripted/exploratory continuum” which has greatly helped in explaining ET to factory-style testers)
|2003-2006||Simultaneous learning, test design, and test execution – Bach, Kaner|
|2006-2015||An approach to software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of each tester to continually optimize the value of his work by treating learning, test design and test execution as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project. – (Bach/Bolton edit of Kaner suggestion)|
|2015||Exploratory testing is now a deprecated term within Rapid Software Testing methodology. See testing, instead. (In other words, all testing is exploratory to some degree. The definition of testing in the RST space is now: Evaluating a product by learning about it through exploration and experimentation, including to some degree: questioning, study, modeling, observation, inference, etc.)|
David Greenlees says
Hallelujah! The 2015 entry is music to my ears (or to my eyes in this instance).
Rajesh Mathur says
Dave, what is music to eyes? 🙂
Yes, this is an awesome entry and I noticed that whole of my team has taken printouts to read it during the breaks.
Mario Gonzalez says
These last two posts are very interesting.
I now understand your perspective much better.
Thanks for the posts!
Ortask founder and chief engineer
Andy Carrington-Chappell says
Great post, and a clear lineage of ET. Now I can correctly talk about testing not exploratory testing. I’m still banging the drum about automated checking not automated testing though 😉