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Inspiration 4 Exploration: The Art of Exploratory Testing

Skill

Exploration requires inspiration. This is something not every tester is capable of understanding. Skill is not enough for accurate and valuable tests which makes it quite hard to deal with. Skill may be learned and acquired with hard work and tons of practice. Kill is something anybody may be proud with. Skill is hard earned and that is exactly what’s making the wall between it and inspiration.

I have worked hard to master testing methodologies. I have spent sleepless nights learning and practicing. I’m ready and there can’t possibly anything else I may require. Not after all that effort – most testers believe. But that is a false belief. Inspiration is learnable and will also come in after some practice as long as the tester in you is passionate about testing and believes that taking this path is of his (and your) best decisions no matter what.

What do I mean under inspiration?

I have been working as a testing consultant for quite a while. Over that time I have managed to meet various different teams of testers from different companies and startups. Do you know that testers that are presenting most value to the company stand out from the start? And after you really get to meet them (a couple of beers on a Friday night usually does the trick) you are beginning to notice that all of them have something in share. They are all artists who are passionate about what they are doing rather than simply making a living out of what they’re doing.

And you can’t make art follow scripts, right? Inspiration is a hunch, an itch you can only scratch after doing what your subconscious tells you to. Where does this head? If you are asking about their greatest testing achieving all of them will say they had to avoid or even neglect scripts to find that particular pesky critical bug that was a pain in everybody’s neck. Go ahead, check it on yourself, ask your team lead the same and listen to what he has to say about it.

But there is the other interesting side of the coin as well. You can never simply forget tests scripts and burst hands in the app under test in a way you are finding appropriate. You may lose a lot of priceless time without any results whatsoever. Scripts were not created without a reason.

So, as I learned a while ago in quality assurance consulting both qualities mentioned above: skill and inspiration are necessary to make a good tester. And both may only be acquired within time and after practice. That’s seemingly the only right way to become a tester supreme. Well, who’s with me?


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