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Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing (Oxford 2012)

Workroom Productions Ltd.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - Friday, January 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

Ticket Information

Ticket Type Sales End Price Fee VAT Quantity
Full price, all three days Ended £1,170.00 £0.00 £234.00
2-day techniques workshop, full price Ended £800.00 £0.00 £160.00
1-day managment workshop, full price Ended £500.00 £0.00 £100.00

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Event Details

Exploratory Testing - a 3-day workshop in exploratory test techniques and management.

This workshop is in two parts; the techniques workshop Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing, and the management workshop Managing Exploratory Testing. The techniques workshop is suitable for anyone, experienced or new, and numbers are strictly limited. To come on the management workshop, you need to either have had some hands-on experience of ET, or you need to have been on some sort of ET training.


Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing - 2-day coached workshop. Strictly limited to 12 participants.

Exploratory Testing is a discipline. Focussed on the just-delivered system, it exposes real-world problems more rapidly and more reliably than approaches which concentrate on prior expectations. It forms a powerful complement to scripted testing, and is especially powerful when matched with the large-scale confirmatory testing found on agile projects. Good exploratory testers find better bugs, and give fast, clear feedback to their teams.

Many testers are able to work without scripts and explore a system. However, most take a single exploratory approach, and so become less effective when they have exhausted that approach. Many teams use exploratory testing, but do not know how to manage it effectively.

This course allows participants to experience a range of exploratory techniques in a disciplined framework that will allow exploratory testing to be managed and integrated with existing test activities. The course is built around hands-on, brain-engaged exercises designed to enhance and reinforce the learning experience.

Participants will discover:

  • The test design skills to probe a system and trigger a bug
  • The analysis skills to model the system and understand a bug
  • The discipline to manage their exploration and sustain their bug rate

This course is a comprehensive guide to exploratory testing, with exercises deigned to engage testers of all abilities, and structured workshops to help participants use and share the lessons learned. The course will introduce participants to a wide variety of approaches to exploratory testing – parsing the system, systematic exploration, modelling for success and failure, questioning, attacks and exploitations. Starting with three basic exploratory frameworks, we will construct models of the systems under test, and use those models to enhance our testing and to judge problems found. We will develop attacks and exploitations to reveal deep risks, and look at the potential risks in target technologies.

Throughout the course, we will use session-based testing to support the personal and team discipline necessary to support effective exploration, and will examine ways that ET can be managed within existing processes.

This tutorial will be of greatest use to test analysts, senior testers and test managers, but will also be immediately relevant to designers and coders. Direct experience of exploratory techniques is not necessary, but delegates with one or more year’s experience of hands-on testing will get most from this course.


Learning Objectives

  • Understand principles of exploration, and application to software testing
  • Introduce control and discipline by using session-based exploration
  • Understand the application of ET to discovery of risk and verification of value
  • Use three frameworks for exploratory testing - transformations, states, maps
  • Construct and use models during ET, and use models to help judge problems found
  • Understand ways of increasing effectiveness of ET with tool use and broad focus
  • Understand test selection within ET
  • Use attacking techniques to reveal deep information
  • Recognise opportunities for application of ET
  • Arrive at an understanding of personal exploratory style

Hands-on exercises and facilitated discussions will be used throughout the course. Each section will be concluded with a wrap-up session to summarise and reinforce key points. Participants’ workbooks contain sections to record conclusions; participants are encouraged to review these after the course is completed.



Managing Exploratory Testing - 1-day coached workshop.

For testers and manageers with experience or training in ET.

Good exploratory testing needs encouragement and support – and can be damaged by inappropriate demands. This course builds on ideas introduced in ‘Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing’, and will enable managers and test leaders to develop a great test team, and a reliable framework for exploratory testing. The course is built around discussions and exercises designed to give direct experience of the issues encountered in session-based test management, and to highlight the skills and processes required to deal with them.


This course is a one-day class, directly addressing the question of how best to manage exploratory testing. We’ll discuss questions of strategy and staffing, and practice setting charters and reviewing sessions. Along the way, we will talk about how to get the best out of time spent exploring, how to incorporate tools, and how to measure progress and spot problems. Three facilitated workshops during the day allow focussed discussion around application, integration and session-based management.

Benefits of attending

  • Understand the applications of exploratory testing and its influence on strategy
  • Practical experience of setting test charters and reviewing test sessions
  • Understand skills and staffing issues around exploratory testing

Learning Objectives - Strategy and Application

  • Strategy : Understand the strengths and weaknesses of exploratory testing
  • Strategy : Appreciate the situations where ET is a viable approach
  • Application : Gain awareness of the application of ET to current and planned work
  • Application : Appreciate team issues around skill-sets and staffing

Learning Objectives - Practical management using session-based testing

  • SBT : splitting a test subject into charters
  • SBT : writing effective charters
  • SBT : reviewing exploratory work
  • SBT : amending and changing charters and test priorities
  • SBT : producing viable and appropriate metrics
  • SBT : tool support



PresenterJames Lyndsay

James Lyndsay is an independent Test Strategist, based in London. He started testing in 1986, and has been the principal consultant at Workroom Productions since its formation in 1994. As a consultant, he's worked in a variety of businesses and project styles; from retail to telecommunications, from rapidly-evolving internet start-ups to more traditional large-scale enterprise. He's worked to technical requirements for companies that make and sell software, and to commercial requirements for companies that buy and use software. James has used, taught and championed hands-on exploratory testing wherever it made sense.

James is a regular speaker at international test conferences, delivering invited keynote talks at STAREast, AsiaSTAR and EuroSTAR. In 2002, he received "Best Paper" awards at STARWest and at EuroSTAR for "Adventures in Session-Based Testing". An active participant in the testing community, James spent five years as an internal irritant to the ISEB exam process and has taken part in peer workshops including WOPR, LAWST, WHET, WTST, ExTRS and AA-FTT. He is the convenor and facilitator of LEWT, the London Exploratory Workshop in Testing.



Many exercises are computer-based, using Workroom Productions’ custom-built “Black Box” machines. These Flash-based interactives run in-browser, on Linux, OS X and Windows, without installing executables or library files. Delegates are encouraged to download exercises before the tutorial, and bring their laptops to use and share.



Cancelation / Substitution


If you are registered to attend the workshop but can’t be there, you are welcome to substitute another workshop participant at no additional charge.  Simply notify us of the substitution before the first day of the workshop.  If you notify us that you wish to cancel your participation in this workshop before November 27, 2011, we will refund your full fee.  If you notify us that you wish to cancel between November 28 and December 31, we will refund 50% of your fee.  After January 1, no cancellations will be accepted.

If we have to cancel the workshop for any reason, we will send you a full refund within 1 week.


Have questions about Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing (Oxford 2012)? Contact Workroom Productions Ltd.

When & Where

Oxford University Club
11 Mansfield Road
OX1 3SZ Oxford
United Kingdom

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 at 9:00 AM - Friday, January 27, 2012 at 5:00 PM (GMT)

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Workroom Productions Ltd.

Workroom Productions is a small, London based consultancy, specialising in Software Test Strategy.


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Getting a Grip on Exploratory Testing (Oxford 2012)
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