Posted in exploratory testing

Cat testing – why not?

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Monkey testing

The term ‘monkey testing’ is rather known in tester’s world. It is a technique where a user tests the application or system by providing random inputs. We believe that unorganized test inputs are able to brake the application in the way that a trained tester won’t even try. It is basically true, because people tend to repeat known moves and actions. Pesticide paradox warns testers that they should change and update their test scripts often, otherwise they’ll stop finding issues. From this point of view – acting as a monkey seems to be tempting especially within the area of regression testing – not as a replacement but rather as the appendix to standard test suites.

Cat testing

On the other hand, animal kingdom is way bigger than just an ape type. If a monkey can test – why a cat can’t?

Today is a World Cat Day so this blog post would be related to my buddy – Greebo.

I am a cat-lover and I spend some part of each day observing my cat playing around with stuff. Trying to better my approach to exploratory testing, I just started thinking – isn’t my cat a great example of such tester?

A cat has any knowledge about things they play with. But they play anyway. This is what exploratory testers are supposed to do.
Exploratory way of testing fits to any kind of testing methodology, any type of company and project. You don’t have to be experienced in any subject (as ISTQB would like you to think), because it’s not the point. The most important aim is to play with application and to achieve a purpose.

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Exploratory testing might be dedicated to UI, functions or potential safety risks check. It may help to find out if the software is prone to malicious attacks as well as if it is easy to access for a novice user. Context  is the key to success.

Cat checks random features of stuff so hard in order to know them or to brake them, just like exploratory testers do. Cat does a lot of damage in certain sessions in order to provide fun for himself among naps and snacks.

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Purpose is important. Cats have their own purposes of running around and attacking things. Exploratory testers should also have some certain purpose of testing and don’t stop before an exploratory session is finished.

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Time frame is essential. When you start exploratory session – you can’t stop. Did you see a cat, who digs in a pot with flower when no one watches  and having brakes for pee? NO WAY. He digs so hard until the destruction is complete and then runs away pretending it wasn’t him. That would be a proper session of exploratory testing description. You specify the time frame, start and fight. You can finish only when you run out of your time.

One major thing that is different between a cat and an exploratory tester is that the cats cannot provide any notes 🙂 Note taking is an essential part of exploratory testing.

On the other hand, cats leave so much mess behind that in most cases you know exactly what they just did. Wondering HOW might take a while. That is also a good hint for you – if you hate taking notes – record what you do using for example Chrome DevTools or other apps. In the end it would be easier to recall what you’ve just did.

I would like to encourage you to level up your daily test routine and try to enrich test sessions in cat-like exploratory testing and just have more fun in what you do. Enjoy!

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