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I would like to include SBTM in our sprint. Ask with, of course, many questions.

  • Where is the difference to explorative testing?
  • Is more worthwhile an explorative test with timebox?
  • What times should be scheduled 90 minutes? And if so, how as a timebox?
  • The mistakes made by SBTM are how to act?
  • Can I also automate areas of the SBTM? Or is it really just a manual test process?

SBTM is based on so-called sessions, time windows of around 90 minutes. In these sessions, charters defined in a planning phase - a sort of agenda - are worked through by the testers. The points discovered during the session are included in a session report, which is discussed in a debriefing. The debriefing takes place between tester and test manager, important points but also the gut feeling of the tester concerning the test object are discussed here.

Based on the experiences gained from the session report and the debriefing, further sessions can be arranged or the following charters can be changed. The advantages of the SBTM are

  • flexible / agile approach
  • Reports are kept as lean as possible
  • Charters can be changed after each session based on the newly obtained information. If, for example, new areas of risk are
    discovered, they can be tested in the following sessions, even if a
    different agenda was originally set.
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As big admirer of Exploratory testing, I can try to answer few of the questions:

Where is the difference to explorative testing? -- There is no difference. SBTM (session based test management) is just a way or method to measure exploratory testing. For example, let's say you did exploratory testing for the whole day in office and now you have to report it to Manager. Since there are no formal test-cases or documentations, it is very hard to tell Manager what you did for whole day. The answer would be too subjective. SBTM provides the measurement capability.

Is more worthwhile an explorative test with timebox? -- Yep. One of the protocol/highlight of the SBTM is to have exploratory testing in "sessions" (i.e. timeboxed testing).

What times should be scheduled 90 minutes? And if so, how as a timebox? -- It totally depends on the QA and Project Manager to discuss and decide. For simple web-applications the session could be small compared to complex applications(with web + api + database + network)

The mistakes made by SBTM are how to act? -- Not clear about question. Sorry!

Can I also automate areas of the SBTM? Or is it really just a manual test process? -- Yes, we can automate. However most of the exploratory testing is done by skilled domain/application expert QA folks without proper documentation/test-steps/test-cases. So automating something, where test-steps are not clear, is hard to achieve.

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