In part II of our Testing the Limits interview with Lanette Creamer – aka “Testy Redhead” – we cover the need for Exploratory Testing; Matt Heusser and the “rebel alliance” of testing; how to create a popular testing blog; her stance on tester certifications and more from the wide world of QA. Catch up by reading part I, and when you’re done with this one, go check out part III.
uTest: In one of your recent blog posts, you mention Elisabeth Hendrickson’s STAREAST declaration that “Exploratory Testing Is Not Optional.” Why did this statement resonate so strongly for you? Do you think all testing managers should follow Hendrickson’s lead?
LC: As a frequent conference attendee and enthusiastic reader of testing blogs, I’ve seen many ideas about how to improve testing. I’ve been through countless industry trends, such as borrowing manufacturing ideas, extensive measuring schemes, and repeated attempts to automate all testing. The bottom line is exploratory testing works in practice. Not for a few months or years, but it works to find important bugs year after year no matter what other quality trends are happening. It works well side by side with automated checks, manufacturing ideas, and it can be used with session based test management to provide measures and metrics if needed. It is the one constant a tester can go back to and find bugs that impact the user experience. It is the meat in my testing sandwich. (My pun filled humor is the cheese.) To hear Elisabeth acknowledge the importance of exploratory testing in public shows me that agile testing is about more than just automation. Agile testing can be about a balanced approach to overall quality. It resonated with me strongly because it makes me hopeful for the future of testing on agile teams.
I think test managers should evangelize and defend what works well in practice on their teams. My experience has been that exploratory testing is generally undervalued considering how effective and practical it is.
uTest: What’s the deal with this “rebel alliance” thing we’ve been hearing so much about? It sounds subversive – we want in! Seriously though, what’s the mission of this group? Please explain it to our un-initiated readers.