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Improve Your Testing Capabilities with Bug Hunting

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Klaus Olsen, board member of Test Maturity Model integration, spoke about how bug-hunting should be informal and fun at the recent Testing Portugal 2013 conference.

In his “Boost Your Testing, Go on a Bug Hunt!” presentation, Olsen recommended that you bug hunt when:

  • You have a new release ready for test and you want to measure the level of maturity.
  • You are in a transition state between phases and you want to feel the readiness for the next one.
  • You have well-defined test procedures or mechanisms in your team. Use it as a new challenge for the test phase.

Olsen suggests that bug hunts use exploratory testing, first defined by Cem Kaner as:

…a style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester to continually optimize the quality of his/her work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project.

James Bach defines it on his website as:

…an interactive process of concurrent product exploration, test design, and test execution. The outcome of an exploratory testing session is a set of notes about the product, failures found, and a concise record of how the product was tested.

Olsen recommends the use of exploratory testing when you have few people in the role of tester, not enough time allocated for tests or weak documentation for requirements specification.

If you have strong procedures for high-risk tests, you can use exploratory tests for low-risk ones too.

For the design of testing scenarios, Olsen suggests a technique called soap opera testing. As in a soap opera, these testing scenarios are based on real life, condensed and exaggerated. Its usage leverages the possibility of find less-common bugs or even design holes, as referred by Olsen during the presentation. It has also the aim to turn testing tasks much more interesting and fun.

A presentation about the technique can be found on the ANZTB website, from Olsen’s talk at the Test 2013 conference in Canberra, Australia.

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