Presentation: Developers Exploratory Testing – Raising the bar

I have now presented about Developers Exploratory Testing at three conferences, Lets Test 2012 (Stockholm), CAST 2012 (San Jose) and Agile 2012 (Dallas). I still have Agile Testing Days 2012 (Berlin) in November, but I have figured out that the material will probably evolve enough before that time so I might as well publish my current material.

I have gotten very good response from my presentations with really interesting questions during Q&A sessions and also hallway discussions with plenty of people regarding the approach we are having on the team being responsible for quality.

 Here are some highlights in questions and reactions about DET

Q: We are doing something very similar, just not as explicit and organized. I will definitely be applying those examples in my team/company.
A: Cool, please tell me about your experiences!

Q: How do you scale this approach to a whole organization?
A: As with any of the agile approaches, it needs to get accepted by the people who are doing it. Try it out in a relaxed and forgiving environment, and the people involved will realize themselves how valuable it is. At Jayway it has become a part of our core practices in our projects.

Q: How do you get acceptance from the developers to do this?
A: Let them try it out, and they will realize why they should love it. It is a growing process. I introduced it to one of our developer departments by giving a brief intro and hands-on workshop during one of their competence days. They loved it.

Q: My experience has shown that even though developers can test, they don’t really have that “spark” of testing in them.
A: It takes practice to get good at testing. Although it is possible to get very far by regularly testing together in pairs with help of facilitation and discussions.

Q: Where does DET fit with TDD?
A: They are completely different practices that only complement each other. Please study the Agile Testing Quadrants to explore the different types of testing that are possible to perform in agile projects.

Q: How do you get your stakeholders to test with you?
A: First time I call it a hands-on scope workshop. After that they realize themselves how valuable it is.

Q: This practice should really be called TET, Teams Exploratory testing, shouldn’t it?
A: I agree. DET comes from Davors original rules. From now on, I will start calling it TET, because of my changes and contribution to the approach. But then again, how important is the wording? Well, getting stakeholders involved is easier if the practice implies that they should take part of it.

And there are plenty more, that I will include in future work.

Agile 2012

At Agile 2012 conference I also realized that the concepts of ET and especially SBTM is not something that people know about in the agile community, so it was something I had to explain extra during the presentation. Generally at the conference I was kind of disappointed by the ignorance and people not knowing of any agile testing practices. It was so clearly shown by the above question about TDD. I was actually expecting at least some knowledge in those areas by all the agile coaches I met. But hey, that also shows the potential of knowledge sharing between the agile community and the testing community for the future.

Future work

I already have many ideas on things I want to try out together with DET/TET. Some small changes in current ways of working as well as bigger changes in the whole approach. Many ideas of which have been discussed in the hallways and late-night sessions at the conferences. Some of the smaller changes I will try out as fast as I can in my present projects, but there are also two things I want to evolve in the long term:

Paul Carvalho presented the “0-page agile test plan” at Agile 2012. With this approach I really see the possibility of getting the team more involved in the test planning for sessions. This way the team will feel even more ownership of the testing done.

Michael Bolton shared with me his and James Bachs work on further work and research around exploratory testing and knowledge management in its setting. Since TET heavily relies on ET, I think there are many things that need to be aligned and contribute to the approaches.


Enough talking, here is the presentation prezi. It should be noted that this is the Agile conference prezi which is the evolved material from Lets Test and CAST. If you want the Lets Test slides send me an email.

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