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Lessons Learned in Software Testing: A Context-Driven Approach by Bret Pettichord, James Bach, Cem Kaner

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PREFACE

The Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK) is being proposed as a suitable foundation for government licensing, for the regulation of software engineers, and for the development of university curricula in software engineering. The SWEBOK document claims to be consensus-based. One would expect such a document to carry the accumulated knowledge and wisdom (the accumulated lessons) of the field.

Here is everything that SWEBOK has to say about exploratory testing:

Perhaps the most widely practiced technique remains ad hoc testing: tests are derived relying on the tester skill and intuition ("exploratory" testing), and on his/her experience with similar programs. While a more systematic approach is advised, ad hoc testing might be useful (but only if the tester is really expert!) to identify special tests, not easily "captured" by formalized techniques. Moreover it must be reminded that this technique may yield largely varying degrees of effectiveness. (SWEBOK 0.95, 2001, 5-9)

How does SWEBOK treat what it acknowledges is the field's most widely practiced technique? Nothing about how to practice the technique well. Only a statement that exploration should be done only by real experts, that other approaches are advised, and the suggestion that other, formalized techniques will yield less varying degrees of effectiveness.

Hah!

We don't pretend to offer a consensus document that describes our field's alleged body of knowledge, but we do have a lot more to say about our field's ...

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