The Tester’s Role in Requirement Exploration

Tester's Role


An exploratory tester is an important individual in every modern agile team. This testing process varies from traditional testing with personal freedom and responsibility given to the individual tester. It is simply defined as a type of testing where the test scenarios are created by the testers on the go rather than creating in advance. This article discusses the role of these testers in requirement exploration.

Need for Exploratory Testers

The secret for predictable and frequent business delivery is the clear and shared understanding of desired and undesired functions for each new product feature. If we ignore this fact, the programmers, testers and the business, each will have their own concept of what the final product should look like. Obviously, the final product will disappoint everyone.

Unfortunately, this problem has been persisting in our industry for a very long time. It is observed that more interventions often result in more dysfunctions. Agile is expected to solve this problem by enabling real-time communication between people. However, most teams are yet to possess this kind of communication and a shared understanding of what they are about to build, even when they start coding.

How Does Testers Contribute?

The testers can explore the feature specification in the early stages of production and contribute towards successful and timely deliveries. It can be done by reading and challenging what is written in phased and gated deliveries. But, the documentation available with the agile teams is very limited. So, the testers will have to rely on their critical thinking skills to explore the feature specification.

With their testing mindset, testers can raise questions, as many as it takes to make the team feel confident about their shared understanding. Drawing pictures is also an important method used by testers. Numerous examples are obtained from the product owners and other stakeholders as a part of the process. These examples will be used as guides in the test cases to lead the development in the right direction.

These examples acquired from the stakeholders and product owner are primarily focused on the expected behaviors and misbehaviors of the product. They will be later studied to frame a high-level acceptance test to show the actual intent of each story. It changes into the requirements that define the scope and purpose.

The role of a tester never ends, it expands and changes according to the situation. The job of a tester is not just finding defects or breaking illusions about the product. It involves supporting the team to prevent defects in the first place or finding them so early in the process to eliminate the risks produced by misunderstanding.

In software engineering, testing is an important part of the development process. It is this testing process that defines the quality of a software. Increased reliability and security are the major benefits of the testing. With the exploratory testing method, it is found that the testers can contribute more to the development process. By obtaining examples and raising questions, the testers now help the team to explore the requirements and possess a shared understanding of every features and product.

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