Paul Gerrard's blog

Freedom, Responsibility and the Tester's Choice

Peter Farrell-Vinay posted the question “Does exploratory testing mean we've stopped caring about test coverage?”on LinkedIn here:

I've replied on that forum, but I wanted to restructure some of the various thoughts expressed there to make a different case.

Do exploratory testers care about coverage? If they don't think and care about coverage, they absolutely should.

Should Most of What we Call Testing Really be Called Checking?

When the testing versus checking debate started with Michael’s blog here I read the posts and decided it wasn’t worth getting into. It seemed to be a debate amongst the followers of the blog and the school rather than a more widespread unsettling of the status quo.

The higher the quality, the less effective we are at testing

Its been interesting to me to watch over the last 10 or maybe 15 years the debate over whether exploratory or scripted testing is more effective. There's no doubt that one can explore more of a product in the time it takes for someone to follow a script. But then again - how much time exploratory testers lose spent bumbling around lost, aimlessly going over the same ground many times, hitting dead ends (because they have little or no domain or product knowledge to start with). Compare that with a tester who has lived with the product requirements as they have evolved over time.

The Value and Significance of Tests

At Eurostar 2010 in Copenhagen, the organisers asked me to do a brief video blog, and I was pleased to oblige. I had presented a track talk on test axioms in the morning and I had mentioned a couple of ideas in the talk. these were the "quantum theory of testing" and "testing relativity".

The video goes into a little more detail.

Evolution of tools for Requirements and Behavior Driven Development

Some time ago, Tim Cuthbertson blogged "how I Replaced Cucumber With 65 Lines of Python." I recently commented on the post and I've expanded on those comments a little here.

I share Tim's frustrations with Cucumber. I think the reuse aspect of the step definitions has some value, but that value is limited. I've heard of several sites having literally thousands of feature files and step definitions and no way to manage them systematically. A bit of a nightmare perhaps.

Testing and Finance 2012 - Call for Papers Ends 30 September

Good news! The European Testing and Finance conference is coming to London on 16-17 May 2012. It has run very successfully in Germany since 2005 and the organisers, Diaz & Hilterscheid, are promoting this to be a pan-European event and basing it in London. The website is

We are delighted to say we have been asked to Programme Chair the conference and we are looking forward to creating a fantastic event with Jose Diaz and his team.

Changing perceptions of exploratory testing

It seems to me that, to date, perceptions of exploration in communities that don't practice it have always been that it is appropriate only for document- and planning-free contexts. It's not been helped by the emphasis that is placed on these contexts by the folk who practice and advocate exploration. Needless to say, the certification schemes have made the same assumption and promote the same misconception.