This blog is inspired by James Bach. He mentioned the test technique Paired Exploratory Survey, where two testers team up together to do a `test survey´ on an application or system. Details you can find here
I recently got confronted with the situation that a tester (the subject matter expert) on one of my projects was going on a holiday for a week and he could not finish in time with his assigment. No problem for him because the project was overdue for weeks. Nevertheless, I got pushed by the business analyst and stakeholder to finish the test work. I had another tester on the same project but he was not familiar with that part of the project. What to do now? Hey, didn´t I read this blog the other day.
I invited the tester and the business analyst to discuss the issue we were facing. I proposed them to work together, testing as a pair. The business analyst as the experienced person instructing the tester with test requests. The tester could manage his way through the product while receiving the instructions. They liked the idea. They directly scheduled the first session in their agendas.
As they finished the first day, I asked my tester about his experience. He said that it was a tremendous learning experience, learning some new stuff. Also the way of working was fun and challenging. As they progressed with their (scripted) test cases, they discovered some issues which needed further investigation and new insights which they explored. I told him to continue with this.
The next day, the project manager came by to ask how the test work of the project was going and if I could give an indication of the shipmentdate. I told him that we could say somthing during the upcoming project meeting next week.
The business analyst and tester continued their “pair-testing”. The day before the project meeting, the tester and the business analyst came at my desk with good news. Both had enough confidence, based on their “survey”, to ship the product. I asked the business analyst if the stakeholder also agreed. He convinced the stakeholder that the product could be shipped.
With this information, I went to the project meeting where the stakeholder was present. I propose to the project manager that we could ship the product. The project manager looked at the stake holder. She agreed with my proposal.
It was a great experience seeing this in action. Something we will do again when the opportunity is there.
Reflecting this to the test technique “Paired Exploratory Survey” you could say that there are some differences. Perhaps my colleagues (tester and business analyst) did something slightly different, so perhaps it can be called Paired Exploratory Learning. They both learned from each other while testing and exploring the product.