So not to long ago James Bach posted these 2 blogs, Exploratory Testing 3.0 and History Definitions of ET. If you have not read them you should. They tell of the history of Exploratory Testing from the beginning to the now and how the meaning has changed over the years. So the misconception is that most people still believe that ET is ad-hoc or the same as it was when first defined. It has changes definitions over the year and that is why you should check out the articles. Think of 1.0 as you are in a search for Waldo but you don't know where he is so you look for him. At first you might not have a plan you just want to find him. So your eyes are exploring the page for him and you might find him. In the case of bugs you are sure to hit one or two you haven't hit before his way because it is a different way to look for bugs but it is not that efficient.
So now we are looking for Waldo and guess what happens after you explore for him for so long. You develop a pattern you may not be running a scripted test but you mind is now running it's own. With this test you find Waldo as well as other bugs. but you thought you were practicing ET when in reality you just scripted your own brain. So what is ET 3.0 how should we be testing?
Well all testing is exploratory, it is defined to be all testing now. If you are looking for a bug or Waldo weather looking using a script or looking in the woods with a flashlight you are exploring for him. So what should you be practicing if you want to exploratory test. Well think or ET as a mind set you write your script and as you are running your script think outside the box. Use the 2 in conjunction with each other. This will allow you to be a better tester. You write the script so you test what yo need and you also use that script to remind you to think outside the box. The script can remind you of things you might not have thought of and it can also point out the things that may need ET. Use all your tools available to you and you will find those Waldos.
QA Hipster is a Quality Assurance Technical Lead for an software company, mostly working with Macs. I have been in the field since September 2013, and have a bachelor's degree in Management Information Services. I started my studies at Iowa State in Software Engineering. I have been working on moving my company forward with the latest QA techniques.