There is real and there is fake exploratory unstructured testing.
- You don’t know what, if anything, is wrong.
- You don’t know what to look for, except maybe the system’s specifications.
- You don’t know how to look for it.
- You don’t know, for sure, that you will definitely recognize something wrong as being wrong.
- You don’t know the limits. You don’t know whether test stimuli will cause stateful consequential damage. The test may break things.
- You don’t know when you are done.
- You don’t know whether the object being tested will overwhelm your test weapons.
Fake (aka experienced expert):
- The experienced expert has seen a lot and is aware of categories of problems and examples and how to find them. The expert knows how to create tests for boundary conditions. A higher percentage of the expert’s test cases find and identify defects.
- The experienced expert looks at the specifications, both functional and non-functional, to see what has been left unspecified, especially limits. Then the expert hammers them.
- Why is it fake? It is fake in that although it looks exploratory and unstructured to the casual observer, in reality the expert knows what to look for and how to look for it.
- If you survive the test, reporting tells others what you did and what were the observed results.