How to Write an Exploratory Test Charter
Exploratory test charters are used for keeping track of an exploratory test session’s findings. Exploratory testing itself is a documented approach to testing a system’s functionality with an architecture that is largely unknown.
Prepare for the exploratory testing session. Create the charter with the following format:
- Charter: The name of the charter, which is a sentence, describing what will be explored. The format for this should be the same as a bug name, terminated by a period.
- Areas: What was covered, describe the test harness used to test the system under test (SUT) and the areas of the SUT that were actually tested. Each entry in this section should be on its own line.
- Start: the start date and time.
- Tester: the tester’s name
- Task Breakdown:
- Duration: Short (30-60 mins)/Normal (60-90 mins)/Long (90-120 mins).
- Test Design and Execution: percentage of time spent on this phase of the exploratory test.
- Bug investigation and reporting: percentage of time spent on this phase of the exploratory test.
- Session setup: percentage of time spent on this phase of the exploratory test.
- Charter vs. Opportunity: Percentage of time spent on expected areas of the system under test (SUT) versus unexpected areas of the SUT
that were undertaken and tested.
- Data files: any data that was gathered during the test, such as screen recordings, or screen shots. The path to this is acceptable
- Test Notes: Step by step “journal” of the exploratory test. The format for this is a sentence describing what actions were taken when testing,
followed by bullets to describe the observations and steps performed to complete the action described.
- Opportunity: this section follows the same format at the preceding ‘Test Notes’ section, but covers what unexpected opportunities were
taken during the exploratory test.
- Bugs: What bugs were found during the exploratory test. The format is a sentence bug name, followed by a section titled: “Steps to Reproduce,” then bulleted steps, a “Expected Results:” section then an “Actual Results” section. Each bug should be numbered.
- Issues: each numbered issue should be described in one or more sentences.