MTM 2012 and Exploratory Testing or A New Hope

19 December 2012
By Eugene Efimov, QA Manager

Ok, here is the story. Presenting latest Microsoft product line MS Visual Studio 2012, MS Test Manager 2012 and MS Lab Center 2012, Microsoft Evangelist Brian Keller raised one interesting question. He mentioned that QA Automation and QA itself are living so to speak in different worlds. By the way, here is a pic proving it:

And well it seems legit.

So, what are the guys from Microsoft going to do? Yes, they want to concentrate on this 70%. New MS products have a lot of features that addressed for smooth automation manual testing. Automation without hardcoding is still a part of the continuous integration process. And one of the steps in this direction was Exploratory testing automation.

Exploratory! If you know what it means, you should be already very excited, if not, let me quickly explain it for you. Exploratory testing is a test methodology, it’s the opposite of detailed step by step testing and is based on free research, a user scenario based approach, where you write documentation within the testing process. The main thing here is QA engineer experience and capability to create end user scenarios instead of strict processes and methodologies. Sound familiar, right? Yes, it is kind of Agile in QA.

But let’s go back to the main topic. Actually I would like to speak about problems with Exploratory testing, why Automation now is more for developers then for QA engineers, and why previous attempts to automate these 70% previously failed. We would have a kind of Star Wars: ok, now I’ll describe what we have at the moment and then I’ll speak about all the preconditions.

So now we have Episode IV: A New Hope, we all are hoping tools from Microsoft that will work in real life as expected. We already deployed MS Lab in DataArt, and our next steps are: to check that it is working in a sandbox, count the pros and cons (especially in relation to budgets) and if it would be ok, test it in an appropriate project. If you are interested in where it will lead us – stay tuned!

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