Exploratory Testing

A small group of people can exert influence over many by bundling innumerable decisions into a logical artifact called a program. The full nature of that influence defies apriori assessment. This leaves the influential wondering, is there anything more we might want to change?

There is the philosophical question, how do we know what we know?

There is the economic question, when will we know enough to move forward with confidence?

There is the psychological question, how do we convince each other that one more change is needed, or not?

Elisabeth Hendrickson shows us how to answer these questions through a methodical inquiry called Exploratory Testing. Elisabeth speaks with the authority of a successful practitioner and an experienced teacher. She has pioneered the application of Exploratory Testing to Agile development throughout its emergence as mainstream practice. And, she is a compassionate human being who has successfully conveyed through this book the simple pleasure of working together and the delights of making discoveries that other people value.

Exploratory Testing is important.

Although the approach delivers value in any kind of development, it is especially appropriate in Agile where fast cycles an sudden changes are common. The development and testing methods share much in common. Both favor studied craftsmanship. They expect the practitioner to be alert, motivated and capable of judgement. Both recognize that decisions are situated in a business context even when they appear both highly technical and even obscure.

Exploratory Testing can be learned.

Exploratory testing offers fresh approaches to traditional problems. Elisabeth sidesteps old battles by confirming what has not changed: risk and the confidence that comes from keeping it in check. Then as a story teller, she works from fundamentals through to a clear description of each practice with catalogs of tips for working well. Each chapter closes with practice sessions you can do now in your own environment.

Exploratory Testing will satisfy.

Without negating the value of many specialized testing methods Exploratory Testing steps forward as the most universally applicable and most obviously collaborative process a team can use to gain insight into what they've built and how others will experience it. It rewards curiosity with information that can delight on its own and also deliver immense business value.


a thoughtful process

improved through practice

not specific to "testing" role

steps that can be applied in order

agile attention to automation elevates the value of exploration

every example is loaded with practical experience with contemporary software

aware of why advice is good, but doesn't insist that we review all the research

learn by doing: practice activities offered, like exercises, but more about the doing than getting any particular answer.


finds joy in discovery

learning of trouble is not being in trouble

pioneer in applying methods in context of agile