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The 3 Basic Types of Ad-Hoc Software Testing and their Pros

The 3 Basic Types of Ad-Hoc Software Testing

Software testing is a part of software development lifecycle that is done for the assurance of the quality of a software product. It involves quite a number of structured/formal testing types which are carried out by a certified software tester(s), however, Ad-hoc software testing is one that is different from every other types of software testing.

Ad hoc testing is an informal free-form method of software testing, which can be performed without profound knowledge of test subject and without planning and documentation. Ad-hoc testing is performed in an unstructured way so it is not based on any methodological approach.

Formal testing types including alpha and beta testing, integration testing, unit testing, etc., requires documentations such as requirement documents, test plans, test cases are used, and proper test planning in terms of its schedule and order of performed tests. Whereas, in ad-hoc testing, preparatory documentation is not necessary.

Ad-Hoc software testing doesn’t need any preparation and can be run at any time during software development lifecycle. Its purpose is to uncover defects at various stages, and to eliminate the need to keep fixing bugs later down the line.

Types of Ad-Hoc Software Testing

There are 3 types of Ad-hoc testing:

  1. Pair Testing: In this testing, two testers with different levels of expertise work together on same modules with the same test setup shared between them. The goal is to obtain different views and ideas while working on the different modules or parts of the system. Here, one tester can execute the tests while another tester records the notes on their findings.
  2. Monkey Testing: In this form of testing, the system is tested using random inputs to see how much strain it can take. It is carried out without any test cases with the aim of breaking the system.
  3. Buddy Testing: Two buddies – usually one is from development team and another person will be from testing team, mutually working on identifying defects in the same module. Buddy testing helps the testers develop better test cases and development team can also make design changes early. This is mostly performed after unit test.

Characteristics of Ad-Hoc Software Testing

  1. It is a random test that can be done on any part of a system
  2. No pre-planning or documentation needed
  3. No test cases are created
  4. Requires a software tester with in-depth knowledge of the testing system
  5. Performed when there is limited time to do formal, in-depth testing

Pros of Ad-Hoc Software Testing

  1. Errors that usually go undetected during the execution of formal testing methods can easily be found by randomly testing the system.
  2. It gives tester more freedom to explore the application freely, according to their intuition and understanding of the application.
  3. As no test cases are required, both testers and developers can easily test the system, which can further help developers to generate more effective and error-free codes easily.
  4. Because of the random nature of Ad-Hoc testing, it can be conducted at any point in time during the software development lifecycle.
  5. The combination of Ad-hoc testing with other testing techniques tend to produce more informative and effective results.

Cons of Ad-Hoc Software Testing

  1. Since Ad-hoc testing is randomly performed and no documentation is maintained, it can become difficult for testers to keep track of step to produce an error which will make it difficult to follow the same steps to reproduce a particular defect.
  2. Ad-hoc testing is dependent on the skilled tester who has thorough knowledge of the product therefore, it cannot be done by any new member of the team.
  3. Ad-hoc testing uses a proactive error guessing strategy for testing which totally depend on the skill and knowledge of the tester. This however, does not provide assurance that errors will be found.

Conclusion

Ad hoc testing does not require elaborate planning, documentation, and test-case designs, however, the success of ad hoc testing relies on the skill and knowledge of testers and it is one, where testers’ creativity and knowledge are put to test. It is therefore, important to hire testers with a good software knowledge such as PodTech, a company that also know when carrying out Ad-hoc software testing is necessary and when it is not.