Effective Exploratory Testing: Build Positive Energy and Exploratory Testing with Your Passion

In this article, we won’t discuss the exploratory testing technique or how to perform it in ways that bring as much as more value. Instead, we talk about another facet of exploratory testing performance is that necessity of having a positive mind. The success of this approach is not just because of your skills, but it also needs your fresh mind. You need to keep your mind to be strong, positive and full of energy.

As a daily routine, my daughter wakes up every morning and starts her new day by exploring everything in the house. The stuff seems like very boring when it is too familiar with her, but it still makes her excited. I can see from her insight a great passion throughout the way she’s playing with her stuff. Very exciting, very fun & very curious. She can run around all day and exploring all the things on her way. Over hours, she keeps herself always motivated and it seems like being endless. All of a sudden, a thing that blows off my mind is what makes her so excited,  what accelerates her exploration although all the things are very familiar with her. She finds her joy in what she’s doing. That’s as a result, she finds out things that never been known before.

Effective Exploratory Testing: Build Positive Energy and Exploratory Testing with Your Passion

Sometimes, in our life we come to work in a negative mood, sometimes we get bored with our current work, we just want to give up them and do nothing. It’s a terrible time. As a theory of Relativity, at that moment, every minute pass is as long as an hour. At that moment, we work as a robot which is very low productivity. Imagining what we can explore at that bad moment.

Exploratory Testing is an approach of testing where human is a key factor to make it a success. When we get bored at our work, feeling negative in everything, as a machine we just try to finish our work as soon as possible. At that moment, our exploratory testing is totally invaluable, we will miss major discrepancies even they are obvious, new ideas never come and heuristics won’t work, we are not putting our care to the testing. We want to get rid of that circumstance, however, we cannot.

Everyone responds differently to the situation they are facing. Some is becoming worse, some is quickly getting a better state, or some cannot overcome it and become depressed. How to build ourselves always positive, always having positive energy and a fresh mind in exploratory testing? Finding out a unique answer is impossible; however, the following practices can be used in an appropriate context that would be helpful.

Why a child feels excited about what they are playing all the time? Of course, only she can answer it correctly. However, there are some factors can be explained as follows:

  • She has no other things to care, to worry and to think of it
  • She is simpler than us, our life has been making us more and more complicated because of its own failures, because of many info coming us, because of its own complicated relationships,… Opposite us, everything is literally new to her innocent mind, she has not experienced the world as of yet.
  • She plays with what she wants, we are doing what we are assigned. An interesting term in our work is “overtime”. It is when we must work more after the business hours by some reasons. However, if we love coding and kind of like building an interesting application, we will work day and night, over hours non-stop, we never call it as “overtime”. So, we usually complain about we have to overtime in our work, the true thing is that we are complaining our boring work instead of extra hours we have to spend on

Building your passion in work in general or your exciting in your exploratory testing is hard. It takes time and need your care. Here are tips from my experiences over many years in software industry. I am not a psychologist; these tips are just what I learned from myself.

passion for testing
  1. Choose your suitable application: If you have a chance to choose the application for your testing. Of course, it is a wonderful thing. Testing an application that you love, it doesn’t stop you to explore all angles of it. You will run it hour by hour and more & more new test ideas will come into your mind on the way you test, because you love it, see it a lot of things from it.
  2. Find out interesting stories: Sadly, more often jobs are a source of stress & dread rather than passion and purpose. If you have to test an application that you don’t really like it. And you just want to give up it in the middle of the testing progress, you always feel bored and run out of test ideas, no heuristic at the moment is working and helpful to your testing. I recommend finding your colleagues, your clients or an expert of its domain who can share you some interesting stories of this kind of the application. An interesting story can be of a mistake, a lesson learned, experience or even an interesting practice from using the application in real. These stories will make you more understanding the sense of the application. That also brings you an insight into the domain and you feel like you are learning more new things to accelerate your passion. Once, I had to test a Point of Sale application, I did really hate the kind of this application.  Many data fields at my eyes seemed like saying “let try to complete data filling as soon as possible.” I did not feel any value from my testing when almost my time working on this application only try to complete the task. However, when hearing a story about how this application is used and about a big mistake taken by default values was leading to an amount of money loss. I understood the value of that application and the sense of it for each transaction and each data fields on it. This triggers my curiosity and I started exploring the application throughout my exploratory testing. You won’t like a thing that you don’t understand about. Only when you see the meaning of the thing, you need research more of it, then you will like it.
  3. Eliminate interferes from life facts. Our life has many things to take care of. Some positives create more energy for us and make us higher work productivity. However, some is impacting negatively on our work. We need to try to eliminate negatives or at least keep them stay away from our testing. Easy to talk, but it’s hard to do. The two things I have done myself when I am kind of having this negative situation are:
    • To read a favorite book or watch a movie that motivates you and bring you back the normal. One of my favorite books is “Chẳng Cũng Khoái Ru” – The Author: Dr. Đỗ Hồng Ngọc. The book is a collection of small stories in our life but is described with a positive look. It makes me feel relaxed and getting easier in looking at complex problems. Or when we are watching a movie that we see ourselves in there and of course it is with a happy end. This kind of movie may help to get us over hard moments.
    • To listen and count my breath-in and breath-out for 10’-15’ whenever I feel bad. Our brain is functioned to stay focus on one thing at the point. Therefore, when we are getting negative, try to sneak up on our mind; lead it to think of another thing. As a practice, I have been using one technique of meditation for this purpose. Usually, I pay attention to my breathing that helps me temporarily forget what’s making me negative. Or even you can do this before jumping into your testing. Following are simple steps I have taken:
      • Sit comfortably
      • Close my eyes
      • Take natural even, rhythmic breaths
      • Count one when I am breathing in
      • Count two when I am breathing out
      • When getting up to 10, I start over at one

I have practiced this technique many times. It is not making us happy or creating more passion. However, it benefits temporarily getting us through struggles and stay focus on current work.

4. Obtain a small achievement: When we were a child, we got a high score in a particular subject then we excited in learning more of that subject. It’s similar to our testing work. When we find an interesting bug or discover a new thing from the product, we feel excited we want to gain more and then it creates momentum for our testing. Achieving something in our current testing we can identify a simple target for the first our exploratory testing sessions, for example: exploring how the system handles when a user tries to attempt to unauthorizedly penetrate or access the system. This target can lead us to many interesting scenarios or turning out surprising bugs that all encourage us to explore more the system

Obtain a small achievement

5. Pair testing with a passionate tester: Pair Testing is a software testing technique in which two people test the same feature at the same place at the same time by continuously exchanging ideas. It helps us speed up our test assignment and provide more quality to our test results. There are many implications for pairing, we may want to see more from this link:  However, in a look about motivation,  if we have a chance to conduct a pair testing, we should choose a passionate tester. His/her motivation will fire ours too. We will easily feel great energy from him/her that somehow it will also connect with us.


All the above practices/ tips are to break the flow of negative thinking and to get us into another flow that links between the purpose and our testing at a point. When we got into this flow while working is most often attributed to intrinsic motivation. A practice can work with this person at this moment, but it may not work with other people at a different moment. Take it and try it is the only way to know how it works.

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