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What is ad-hoc testing?

Ayesha Naeem

Ad-hoc testing is an unstructured and random way of testing software. After the formal testing is completed on software, the tester performs random tests on the software without any planning or documentation. Since no design testing and documentation is involved, it is difficult to reproduce the defects and map them to test cases.

Ad-hoc testing is the least formal software testing method, and requires a tester that is adequately experienced in the system. The tester then uses their intuition to find possible defect sources, a technique called Error Guessing.

When to perform ad-hoc testing

Ad-hoc testing can be performed when results are needed quickly and there is no time for exhaustive testing. A tester completes ad-hoc testing once formal testing is carried out.

Types of ad-hoc testing

  • Buddy testing: A member from the development team and a member from the defect team work together to identify defects in each module. Buddy testing enables the tester to understand the design and formulate effective test cases that avoid impossible scenarios. The developer understands the sort of tests performed on the software and can make changes in design early on.
  • Pair testing: Two members from the testing team work with the same testing setup on a module and think of ideas to detect possible defect sources. One tester performs the tests and the other documents the results.
  • Monkey testing: A tester performs a series of completely random tests to crash the system. Monkey testing is performed at a unit testing level.

Benefits of ad-hoc testing

  • The tester can detect more bugs because the defects captured by random testing may be unnoticed in planned testing.
  • The tester can conduct ad-hoc testing at any stage, without any pre-requirements and restrictions.
  • When combined with other forms of testing, ad-hoc testing can provide more extensive test coverage.
  • Ad-hoc testing is useful when there is a time constraint and exhaustive testing is not possible.

Drawbacks of ad-hoc testing

  • Ad-hoc testing requires an expert and knowledgeable tester who can figure out potential defect areas intuitively.
  • It is difficult to recreate defects due to the lack of planning and documentation.
  • Time and resources cannot be accounted for because of the unstructured approach of ad-hoc testing.

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Ayesha Naeem
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