A good colleague of mine said to me: “You know, Jesper – I would prefer if the testers only prepared the test cases in QC, and then closed the tool and started testing.” What great way to put it! A good test preparation should have the aim to prepare the testers for the applications. Put on the edge, the testers should cram like preparing for a closed book exam (evil me ;-). When you start testing an application environment like this, you apply your knowledge and start exploration and learning (see Michael Bolton testing vs checking and Ajay Balamurugadas on Scouting and testing).
As contrary to an exam – DO go back to your tool frequently to do the book keeping, remind you of areas left out. But use as refference … mostly :-). Michael Bolton writes on “ Handling an overstructured mission” – that scriptet/prepared testcases reveal problems or considerations for new testcases. So we should add them and execute them! Also we should keep management informed of the added value. Kristoffer Nordström comments: “Excellent testing is a process of exploration,discovery, investigation, learning and communicating that information to the stakeholders.” – indeed so!
Exploration goes for bughunting as well. Fred Beringer has a good blogpost on The Long Tail of bugs (with a clear refference to the “Long tail” and the 80-20 Pareto principle). He asks “What do you find in your long tail of bugs? … What depth of the tail needs to be addressed?” This is where the exploration on application capabilities begins. Fred also writes “On top of this long tail of bugs, you can easily imagine a parallel long tail of test cases“. A good preparation leaves the skilled tester with knowledge from the business on what is most important – and the knowledge is well applied and exercised when closing the tool and start testing .. start thinking … start learning .. START exploring.
Originally at http://www.eurostarconferences.com/blog/2010/9/6/close-the-tool-and-start-exploring—jesper-ottosen.aspx – more from EuroStar 2010: Perfects in softwaretesting