Someone asked me, “do I have a method for generating testing ideas?”. My answer; “I follow an exploratory approach to simultaneously learn, generate and execute test ideas”. This might involve exploring the product a little to learn about how it works, this will feed into questions/ideas and then I might explore some other ideas further.
I might use sources like the Design Sketch as an oracle (source of truth) for inspiration/ideas, or my mobile testing experience (heuristics/rules of thumb like “accessibility always sucks and its easy to find bugs there” or “screen rotations often causes bugs”), or things like boundaries to explore. It depends on the context of what I’m testing to what ideas get generated.
Exploratory testing is a fairly efficient approach to finding bugs. It’s not like we know where the bugs are in the product before hand. However there are always gaps in anyone’s testing approach. It would take an almost infinite amount of time to test all of the possible permutations. So testers will also use their risk radars to help hone in on testing high risk areas.
Mareet Pyhäjärvi has an interesting keynote for SeleniumConf on the intersection of exploratory testing and automation:
And she also has a Medium article explaining Exploratory Testing. Here is the sketch notes for her talk:
James Bach has a 10 page article on exploratory testing but it can be a little dry to read all in one go. I’ll also often reference Elisabeth Hendrickson’s book, “Explore it! Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing“. Elisabeth has also put together a cheat sheet for testing heuristics but I feel like that is more suited to testing a web frontend context.
I often use mindmaps to help generate ideas, e.g. when I was at Tyro I created this mind map for generating mobile testing ideas, the idea being I’d bring this along to planning meanings and it would prompt me to ask questions like, “what about performance testing?”.
Everyone does testing on some levels, some people are just more practiced at the skills involved than others. For me, testing is my craft.