Experience-based Test Techniques

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Experience-based testing techniques rely on the tester's knowledge, skill, and intuition to derive test cases from their experience with similar applications and technologies. This approach leverages the collective expertise of developers, testers, and users to design, implement, and execute tests.

Experience-based testing techniques have the potential to identify test scenarios that may not be easily detected using other, more systematic approaches. Nevertheless, combining these techniques with black-box and white-box testing techniques is common to ensure comprehensive test coverage.

Table of Contents

  1. Experience-based Test Technique
  2. Characteristics of Experience-based Testing
  3. When to use experience-based technique?
  4. Test Case Coverage
  5. Advantages of Experience-based Testing
  6. Disadvantages of Experience-based Testing
  7. Video Tutorial

Experience-based Test Techniques

The International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) has defined four key experience-based testing techniques: 

  1. Error Guessing
  2. Exploratory Testing
  3. Checklist-based Testing
  4. Defect-Based Test Techniques

Of these techniques, the first three are included in the fundamental syllabus.

Experience-based testing approaches can be utilized in testing a wide range of systems, including those based on artificial intelligence. These techniques may range from "quick tests," where the tester performs no pre-planned activities, to pre-planned test sessions leveraging test charters to scripted testing sessions.

Common characteristics of Experience-based Testing

Experience-based testing techniques share several common characteristics. In this approach, the test conditions, test cases, and test data are derived from a test basis that may draw upon the knowledge and experience of testers, developers, users, and other stakeholders.

This collective expertise includes insights into the expected use of the software, its environment, potential defects, and the distribution of those defects. These inputs enable testers to create targeted test cases and improve testing effectiveness.

When should we use the experience-based technique?

Experience-based testing techniques can be a valuable approach to consider in various scenarios. This includes situations where:

  • Requirements and specifications may not be available or are inadequate.
  • Where there is limited knowledge of the software product
  • Or when time constraints prevent following a more structured approach.
  • Additionally, experience-based testing may be a suitable option for low-risk systems where the potential impact of defects is relatively low.

Test Case Coverage

The effectiveness and coverage of experience-based testing techniques may vary depending on the tester's approach and experience. However, assessing coverage can be challenging and not measurable using these techniques.

Given the typically lightweight logging and minimal advanced preparation of tests, it can be challenging to determine the coverage achieved during such testing. As such, it is crucial to carefully balance experience-based techniques with other testing approaches to ensure comprehensive test coverage.

Advantages of Experience-based Testing

  • Experience-based testing offers several advantages, including:
  • Serving as a viable alternative to more structured approaches in cases where system documentation is lacking.
  • Allowing for effective testing even when time constraints severely limit testing activities.
  • Leveraging the available expertise in the domain and technology of the software being tested. This expertise may come from sources beyond the testing team, such as business analysts, customers, or clients.
  • Providing early feedback to developers, allowing them to address issues more efficiently.
  • Helping the testing team become more familiar with the software as it is produced.
  • Being particularly effective when operational failures are analyzed.
  • Enabling a diversity of test techniques to be applied.
  • Requiring less effort to prepare exploratory tests, as they do not require predefined test plans. This allows testing to start earlier in the development process.
  • Filling gaps left by automated testing by testing aspects of the software that cannot be effectively automated.

Disadvantages of Experience-based Testing

While experience-based testing offers numerous advantages, it also has several disadvantages that should be considered. These include:

  • It is potentially inappropriate in systems that require detailed test documentation.
  • Difficulty achieving high levels of repeatability.
  • Limited ability to precisely assess coverage.
  • Tests are less suited for subsequent automation.
  • Testing quality depends on the tester's expertise, which may vary from person to person.