Session Based Testing

The story of session based testing is all about performing the exploratory testing in a specific way. Therefore, before going through the concept of session based testing, it is desirable to gain some working knowledge of the exploratory testing.

What is exploratory testing?

Exploratory Testing is a testing technique and simultaneously, a progressive learning approach, which makes a tester independent of the test plans and cases, to detect bugs in the software product. In this type of testing, tester is solely dependent on his/her skill to design and prepare test cases, to carry out the test execution. But, this doesn’t mean that exploratory is an informal way of testing. It is a formal testing, which does not requires any sort of pre-planning, such as designing & preparation of test plans and cases.

During exploratory testing, a tester doesn't depend on the requirements, rather he/she study and analyze the functionality of the software product, and accordingly, decides what needs to be tested and what not. Based on his decision making ability, skills and years of experience, a tester prepares the test cases, to validate the proper functioning of the software product.

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What is meant by the Session Based Testing(SBT)?

It may be defined as a structured and time based approach, to carry out the exploratory testing activity. This type of testing, involves the progress of the exploratory testing phase, in multiple sessions.

The basic idea behind SBT is to divide the whole exploratory testing, into multiple sessions of equal duration, and thereafter, defining and creating the test plan & strategies, along with the reporting of the test status report for each session of the exploratory testing. This way of carrying out the exploratory testing ensures the discovery of defects quickly in a very short time.

Test status of each session, decides the path of the next session, and accordingly makes tester, to think over the strategy to be implemented for the next session in order to achieve the goal.

session based testing Infographics

Components of Session Based Testing

The structure of session based testing is based on the six basic elements.

  • Mission:

    It defines the objective behind SBT, including setting up of time period, for the sessions. This makes a tester, dedicated and well-focussed, towards the testing task.
  • Charter:

    It defines the goal(s) for the testing session. Generally, test team is responsible for preparing charter, by making use of specifications or results of the previous session, prior to beginning of the test process. However, it may be updated, at any time.
  • Session:

    In SBT, session may be seen as a continuous and uninterrupted testing, for a specific and short duration of time. Normally, sessions are based on the charter, but it does not limits the tester's ability, to explore new and creative way of testing, such as using video capture tools for reproducibility purpose or writing notes. It all depends on the tester, what seems appropriate to him.
  • Session Report:

    It accounts for the summary and status of the testing sessions, which may includes Charter, strategy, approach, testing types, areas under test, test cases prepared by the testers, bugs explored, time required, comments(if any), etc
  • Debriefing:

    It sees the participation of all the testers, involved in the SBT. Sessions are discussed and each tester briefly states his/her way of testing, during the session. Debriefing is generally focussed on the PROOF concept, i.e.
    P →Past : What activities are done by you, during the session?
    R →Results: What has been achieved in the session?
    O →obstacles: Problems faced during the session.
    O →Outlook: Plans for the next session.
    F →Feelings: Tester's opinion and reviews, about all these.
  • Parsing:

    A common standardized report, reporting overall defects and other issues, found during SBT, by aggregating the all session reports, through a software tool.

SBT's Tools

  1. Test Explorer.
  2. Rapid Reporter.
  3. Session Tester.
  4. Atlassian Bonfire.
  5. Capture Fox.
  6. The Scan Tool.
  7. BB Test Assistant.

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