Advantages and Disadvantages of Exploratory Testing

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In our previous article about Exploratory testing, we discussed exploratory testing types, stages, test charters, and session and defect types. Now, Let's go through its advantages and disadvantages.

Table of Contents

  1. Advantages of Exploratory Testing
  2. Disadvantages of Exploratory Testing
  3. Video Tutorial

Advantages of Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing has several advantages, making it a valuable testing approach in certain situations.

  • Addressing Inadequate Requirement: It can be helpful when there are inadequate or unclear requirements or problems with the test oracle.
  • Effective under time constraints: Exploratory testing is useful when there is significant time pressure on testing. Its flexible nature allows testers to quickly identify issues without extensive preparation, making it ideal for testing in time-critical situations.
  • Complement Formal Techniques: Exploratory testing can complement more formal testing techniques, such as black-box, white-box, and experience-based testing. By incorporating different testing approaches, exploratory testing can provide rapid feedback on new features before applying more systematic testing.
  • Improve Quality of ML & AI Systems: Exploratory testing can improve the quality of machine learning and AI systems. As ML systems are highly dependent on the quality of training data, exploratory testing can help understand the relationship between a model's inputs and outputs. 
  • Develop Additional Test Cases: Exploratory testing can serve as a basis for developing additional test cases. By identifying potential issues and testing scenarios, testers can create new cases covering previously unidentified defects.
  • Uncovering Overlooked Defects: Exploratory testing can uncover defects usually ignored by other testing techniques. This is because exploratory testing allows testers to approach testing more creatively and flexibly, leading to the discovery of new issues and defects.
  • Early Bug Detection: Exploratory testing can help detect critical bugs early in development. As exploratory testing requires less preparation, testers can identify issues earlier in the development cycle when they are easier and less costly to fix.
  • Suitable for Agile: Finally, exploratory testing is particularly ideal for Agile software development, emphasizing flexibility and speed. By allowing user story testing to be done quickly and with minimal documentation, exploratory testing can help teams meet their testing goals in an Agile environment.

Disadvantages of Exploratory Testing

Exploratory testing, while a helpful approach, does come with its own set of limitations and drawbacks.

  • No Coverage Measure: One major disadvantage is that it does not provide any coverage measure, making it difficult to determine how much of the application has been tested.
  • Challenges with Reproducing Tests: Reproducing the tests performed during exploratory testing can be complex, particularly if notes or other documentation are not taken. Organizations may opt to use test automation tools with capture/playback capabilities to aid in reproducing the tests.
  • Difficult to Track: Tracking exploratory testing sessions can also be challenging to record and report results in a test management system accurately.
  • Person-Oriented: Because exploratory testing relies heavily on the tester's skills and domain knowledge, it can be not easy to replicate results and maintain consistency across multiple testers.