A Decision Support Method for Recommending Degrees of Exploration in Exploratory Testing

Ahmad Nauman Ghazi, Kai Petersen, Claes Wohlin, Elizabeth Bjarnason

Exploratory testing is neither black nor white, but rather a continuum of exploration exists. In this research we propose an approach for decision support helping practitioners to distribute time between different degrees of exploratory testing on that continuum. To make the continuum manageable, five levels have been defined: freestyle testing, high, medium and low degrees of exploration, and scripted testing. The decision support approach is based on the repertory grid technique. The approach has been used in one company. The method for data collection was focus groups. The results showed that the proposed approach aids practitioners in the reflection of what exploratory testing levels to use, and aligns their understanding for priorities of decision criteria and the performance of exploratory testing levels in their contexts. The findings also showed that the participating company, which is currently conducting mostly scripted testing, should spend more time on testing using higher degrees of exploration in comparison to scripted testing.

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