My former manager and esteemed colleague asked me to teach a two hour class about Session Based Testing (SBT). We had tried SBT a couple years ago, when I was fresh out of Michael Bolton’s excellent Rapid Software Testing course.
I was nervous as hell about the class because most of the testers I work with were signed up and I knew this was an opportunity to either inspire some great testing or look like a fool. So I spent several weeks researching and practicing what I would teach. I decided an Exploratory Testing (ET) primer was necessary for this audience before SBT could be explained properly.
ET proved to be the most intimidating subject to explain. Most of what I found was explained by members of the Context-Driven School (e.g., James and Jon Bach). Nearly everything I found NOT explained by members of the Context-Driven School was heavily criticized (by members of the Context-Driven School) for not being true ET. With all this confusion over what ET actually is, one wonders how well the Context-Driven School has actually explained what they mean. I found various statements from videos, blogs, papers, and my RST courseware that ranged from...
- It’s a technique…no it’s a method…no it’s a “way of testing”.
- It’s the opposite of scripting…no, it can used with scripting too, even while automating.
- All testers use ET to some extent…no wait, most testers aren’t using it because they don’t understand it.
- Time Boxing
- Capturing Notes, Bugs, and Issues
For myself, however, the class was a success. Ever since my research, I’ve actually been using SBT and I love it! I also have some better ideas on how to teach it if I ever get a second chance. Special thanks to Michael Bolton and James Bach, who continue to influence my testing thoughts in more ways than anyone (other than myself).