Exploratory testing and bug hunting fun

Being SDET specialist, I do lots of coding, automating, meeting, refactoring, code reviewing and other related things these days. I do enjoy most of my daily activities, and I didn't think that being forced to do some manual testing stuff can be anything interesting to me.

Chances turned, though, that I was the only QA-focused specialist in a team and we had to provide quality feedback on a product that had had little (close to not at all) unit test coverage. Being inspired by James Bach's and Michael Bolton's Rapid Software Testing methodology, I devised exploratory test session plan for the application, distributed activities between team members and did my best to find any possible issues in application we worked on.

Being overwhelmed by regular work activities, I couldn't even imagine how fun this bug hunt could be! I found quite a few issues, and I felt being House, M.D., detective Columbo, or somebody of a similar fashion. I was chasing after one hint to another, learning a product, trying to intuitively find bug's den. Some assumptions were correct, others were absolutely wrong. Nevertheless, overall activity was extremely joyful for me (can't tell what others thought, but nobody kicked me so I hope the were neutral ;).

At that point I cannot tell if it was me practicing testing skill all those years what made me succeed, or application just so buggy that it was extremely easy to find one (new sessions will definitely help me in finding answer to this question). What I can tell, that hunting bugs is fun, and Exploratory Testing is probably something that makes it THAT fun activity for me.

There's nothing interesting about going through the very same test case again and again. But silently (and joyfully screaming from time to time) chasing bug culprits one by one is absolutely different story, trust me.

The other, rather funny thing about that experience was that such exploratory sessions from my perspective were ten thousand times more efficient in terms of learning product we test in comparison to knowledge transfer session or reading documentation. Finding bugs there and seeing them fixed was nearly like seeing your baby growing. It was probably the perfect proof for me that I had chosen a proper profession.


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