Inspectional Testing

Over the course of the past week, I noticed a name for something several Exploratory testers already do. I crossed the idea first while reviewing one of the chapters in an upcoming book on how to reduce the cost of testing. The chapter was written by Michael Kelly, and discussed Session-based Test Management or “Managing Testing based on sessions” as Carsten Feilberg recently pointed out at EuroSTAR.

The idea is simple. Challenged by Michael Bolton, I came up with the description, that Inspectional Testing is like scratching the ice from the windshield of your car in the winter. If you have lots of time, you scratch all windows free completely. If you don’t have enough time, you know that you should scratch everything free before starting to drive, but you can also select to scratch just some of the ice, so that you see enough to start driving. You risk a car crash at that time, but over time the ice will melt while driving. So, depending on the time you feel comfortable with to take for your testing activities, you start testing just enough. After the first charter, you reflect on your first time-boxed test session, and come up with additional tests as you see fit. You see clearer than before at this point in time, but you may want to dive into some topics in more depth. This is like letting the ice melt while you drive in your car.

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