Maaret Pyhäjärvi

Lead Quality Engineer at F-Secure Corporation at F-Secure Corporation


Learning in Layers: A Demo of Exploratory Testing
Thursday 11:05 - 11:50
Exploratory Testing
Pair Testing

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Skilled exploratory testing includes a lot of tacit knowledge, often acquired over a long period of time, learning piece by piece. Often the testers themselves have hard time explaining what and why they are doing to identify risks and problems.

This talk is a demonstration talk. Let’s look at an expert tester breaking down a problem, organizing their insights, structuring their thoughts and forming questions while testing. The talk shows you how exploratory testing is learning about an application, an empirical experiment at a time. To make it fun and easy to follow, we will use strong-style pairing with a volunteer on the keyboard. From an idea from the experts head to get to the computer, it must go through the volunteers hands!

Key learnings

  • How to do structured exploratory testing to survey an application
  • Using mindmaps to structure learning
  • Making work visible through strong-style pairing

Some of the stuff I do and show is advanced - including the fact that I demo exploratory testing over talking around it. But if you use the levels on the program, I do all my talks, even the most advanced ones as ones for all audiences. We hardly ever have the same backgrounds and the advanced talks that are not for basic audience tend to not be very good.


Maaret Pyhäjärvi is a software professional with testing emphasis. She identifies as an empirical technologist, a tester and a programmer, a catalyst for improvement and a speaker. Her day job is working with a software product development team as a hands-on testing specialist with focus on exploratory testing. In addition to being a tester and a teacher, she is a serial volunteer for different non-profits driving forward the state of software development. She was recently awarded as Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person 2016. She blogs regularly at and is the author of two LeanPub books.

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