experience based testing

Experience Based Testing: What It Is and Why It Matters?

When it comes to testing, a robust approach hinges on testers’ know-how, skill, and gut feeling to craft test scenarios. We’re talking about experience-based testing techniques, and they’re a game-changer.

Picture this: a tester draws upon their experience with various applications and technologies to shape test cases. This ingenious method taps into the combined wisdom of developers, testers, and users. They collaborate to conceive, implement, and run tests that truly matter.

What’s fascinating about this testing is its knack for unearthing test scenarios that might elude other, more structured techniques. We know blackbox testing methods like equivalence partitioning and boundary value analysis. These strategies follow a clear path, leaving little room for deviation. If multiple testers were to apply the same technique to a requirement, their test cases would likely align closely.

But then there’s experience-based testing, which stands apart. It sets its sights on how thoroughly certain parts of the test object should undergo scrutiny to attain the necessary confidence in achieving desired business goals. This targeted test intensity emerges through a blend of experience-based and coverage-based testing strategies. Let us dive into it right away!

What is Experience Based Testing?

Experience-based testing isn’t your typical testing method—it’s a dynamic approach that relies on a tester’s intuition, skills, and past experiences. This technique transforms these insights into concrete test scenarios, benefiting from the combined expertise of developers, testers, and users. Through collaborative efforts, this approach shapes effective tests that truly count.

Experience-based testing truly shines through its ability to uncover test scenarios that might slip through the cracks of other rigid methodologies. While structured methods have their merits, experience-based testing adds a layer of creativity and resourcefulness to the mix. This approach could be your project’s game-changer to stand out in a testing landscape where thoroughness is key to success.

What is the Purpose of Experience-Based Techniques?

Experience-based techniques in testing aim to harness the collective knowledge, intuition, and insights of developers, testers, and users. By leveraging their past experiences with similar applications and technologies, these techniques uncover unique and potentially critical test scenarios that might elude more structured approaches. This collaborative strategy enriches the testing process, enhancing its effectiveness in identifying potential issues and ensuring a more comprehensive evaluation of the software’s functionality and performance.

Common Characteristics of Experience-based Testing

Experience-based testing techniques exhibit several consistent traits that make them stand out:

  • Collaborative Wisdom: These techniques tap into the combined knowledge of testers, developers, users, and stakeholders. This collaborative approach infuses valuable insights into the test basis.
  • Test Scenario Source: Test conditions, cases, and data all stem from the test basis. This foundation, built on shared knowledge, informs the creation of effective tests.
  • Holistic Understanding: The test basis draws from expected software usage, the software’s environment, potential defects, and their distribution. This comprehensive insight enriches the testing process.
  • Targeted Testing: With a deep understanding of the software’s intricacies, testers can tailor test cases to specific areas, enhancing the precision of the testing.
  • Enhanced Effectiveness: By leveraging this collective experience, the testing process becomes more effective in identifying potential issues and validating software performance.

Experience-based testing techniques harness the power of shared knowledge to create more targeted and effective testing strategies.

Scenarios When Experience Based Testing to Avoid

Experience-based testing offers a dynamic approach. However, there are scenarios where it’s best used in teams with structured techniques rather than as a standalone method. Consider the following situations where caution is advised:

Contractual Requirements: In cases where contractual agreements demand clear presentations of test coverage and specific test matrices, experience-based techniques might need to align. These methods cannot inherently quantify test coverage, making them less suitable for scenarios where stringent documentation is a must.

Regulatory Compliance: Experience-based testing could take a lot of work when dealing with industries or projects requiring strict adherence to regulatory standards. Regulations often demand verifiable and documented testing processes, making structured techniques a more reliable choice.

Critical Systems: For systems where failure could have severe consequences, relying solely on experience-based techniques might not provide the level of assurance required. Structured methods offer a systematic approach that can be thoroughly validated and assessed.

Complex Scenarios: Experience-based testing might only capture some potential issues in intricate and multifaceted scenarios. Structured techniques allow for a more organized exploration of possible test scenarios.

New Technologies: Experience-based testing might need a solid foundation when dealing with novel technologies with limited established patterns and experiences. Structured approaches help ensure a more comprehensive exploration of these uncharted territories.

While experience-based testing is valuable, it’s important to recognize its limitations and opt for structured techniques when the situation demands rigorous quantification, regulatory adherence, criticality, complexity, or novelty. Balancing both approaches can lead to a well-rounded testing strategy.

Types of Experienced Based Testing

Experience-based testing techniques to ensure a comprehensive testing process. Each method taps into the tester’s expertise, guiding them to uncover potential errors and ensure the application’s functionality is in top shape.

Error Guessing: 

This technique showcases the tester’s ability to anticipate areas within the application that might be prone to errors. Drawing on their experience, they take an educated guess at potential weak spots and vulnerabilities. It’s like having a seasoned detective on the case, using their intuition and familiarity to uncover hidden issues.

Exploratory Testing

As the name suggests, this method is about exploration. Testers delve into the application, navigating its various functionalities with a keen eye and a wealth of experience. Like adventurers charting new territories, they use their insights to navigate the app, uncovering potential pitfalls.

Checklist-Based Testing: 

This technique involves harnessing the tester’s experience to craft a checklist of different functionalities and use cases for testing. The tester ensures that every aspect is untested by systematically ticking off each item on the list. It’s akin to a pilot’s pre-flight checklist, ensuring every aspect is in order before taking off.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Experience-based Testing

Experience-based techniques offer many advantages that can’t be ignored. These benefits come to the fore when structured approaches might not fit the bill. Let’s delve into the pros and cons of experience-based testing in more detail:

Advantages of Experience-Based Testing:

  • Adaptability to Sparse Documentation: Experience-based testing shines when dealing with systems that lack detailed documentation. Its flexibility makes it a viable alternative in such scenarios.
  • Efficiency under Time Constraints: When time is of the essence and testing activities face tight schedules, This also proves its effectiveness by ensuring thorough testing within these limitations.
  • Harnessing Domain Expertise: The true power of experience-based testing lies in tapping into the collective wisdom of domain and technology experts associated with the software. This expertise can be drawn from various sources, including business analysts, customers, and clients, enriching the testing process.
  • Early Developer Feedback: By offering timely feedback to developers, this testing catalyzes swift issue resolution, contributing to smoother development cycles.
  • Enhanced Familiarity with Software: Experience-based testing empowers testing teams to become intimately familiar with the product’s intricacies as the software evolves.
  • Ideal for Addressing Operational Failures: Experience-based testing excels when analyzing and rectifying operational failures, showcasing its effectiveness in addressing critical issues.
  • Diverse Testing Techniques at Your Disposal: Embracing experience-based testing opens the door to many testing techniques, allowing for tailored approaches based on project nuances.
  • Efficient Exploratory Testing Initiation: Experience-based testing reduces the need for extensive predefined test plans, enabling testing to kick off swiftly in the early stages of development.
  • Filling the Gaps in Automated Testing: Experience-based testing steps in where automated testing falls short, probing aspects of the software that resist effective automation.

Disadvantages of Experience-Based Testing:

  • Not Ideal for Detail-Centric Systems: In systems that demand meticulous test documentation, experience-based testing might not be the best fit due to its reliance on testers’ intuition.
  • Repeatability Challenges: Consistently replicating test outcomes can be challenging due to the inherent variability of experience-based testing.
  • Complex Coverage Assessment: Precisely measuring test coverage becomes more intricate with experience-based testing, posing a challenge to ensure comprehensive testing.
  • Automation Compatibility: Experience-based tests are less conducive to subsequent automation efforts, limiting their integration into automated testing pipelines.
  • Quality Tied to Tester Expertise: The quality of testing outcomes is directly linked to individual testers’ expertise, which can vary widely, introducing an element of unpredictability.

It’s crucial to weigh these benefits against the drawbacks to make informed testing decisions aligning with your software development objectives.

The flow of the experience-based testing approach

Let’s break down the activities that make up this engaging process.

flow of the experience-based testing approach

Step 1: Test Session Preparation

Just like any successful endeavor, experience-based testing kicks off with some groundwork. Test sessions, the heart of this approach, require a touch of preparation. While this preparation might only sometimes be formally documented, it sets the stage for what’s to come.

Step 2: Immersive Test Sessions

Picture a test session as a collaborative workshop where skilled individuals come together. During these sessions, the participants don their tester hats and start a captivating cycle of activities. It’s an iterative process where creativity and experience intertwine.

Step 3: Iterative Test Design

As the test session unfolds, the involved minds roll their sleeves and dive into designing tests. This is where the magic happens—testers leverage their experience and insights to formulate test cases that peel back the layers of the system. Each test case is crafted meticulously to unearth potential flaws or challenges.

Step 4: Executing and Evaluating Tests

With test cases ready, it’s time to put them to the test—quite literally! The testers execute these scenarios, observing the system’s responses. This step isn’t just about running tests; it’s a dynamic process of probing, poking, and analyzing. As the system reacts, the testers keenly evaluate the outcomes.

Step 5: Learning and Adapting

Every test session brings valuable lessons. In executing tests and assessing outcomes, testers truly learn about the system’s behavior. Armed with this newfound knowledge, they adapt their approach, refining their test cases and strategies.

Step 6: Continuous Design and Iteration

The learning isn’t confined to textbooks; it’s embedded in the core of experience-based testing. The insights gained from test executions fuel the fire of innovation. With these insights, testers return to the drawing board, conjuring up fresh test scenarios that tackle the evolving intricacies of the system.

Step 7: Debriefing and Reporting

As the test session reaches its crescendo. This is the moment when the testers share their observations and findings. It’s a vital part of the process, ensuring everyone is on the same page and enabling seamless communication with stakeholders within and beyond the team.

So, the next time you hear about experience-based testing, visualize this dynamic flow, a testament to the power of teamwork and experience in perfect harmony.

When should we use experience based technique?

Experience-based testing is a handy approach in a few specific situations:

1. Thin Requirements: 

Imagine you’re testing, but the rulebook needs to be included. That’s when experience-based testing helps. This method guides you through the gray areas when you need more to work with regarding requirements or specs.

2. Limited Knowledge: 

Sometimes, you’re dealing with software that’s a bit of a mystery. The team might need to learn all the ins and outs, and that’s where experience-based testing comes in. It lets you tap into your collective know-how to fill in the gaps.

3. Time Crunch: 

We’ve all been there – racing against time to finish testing before a deadline hits. Experience-based testing is a good move here. When time is tight, and a more structured approach isn’t possible, this method keeps things on track.

And Remember:

4. Low-Risk Systems: 

Not every software system is high-risk. Some have minimal impact if things go wrong. That’s where experience-based testing fits. It’s a practical choice for systems that won’t cause chaos with a few hiccups.

To sum up, experience-based testing is your ally when requirements are thin, knowledge is limited, time is ticking, or risks are low. It’s a straightforward solution tailored to specific testing challenges.

What to Automate

When automating, focus on automating repetitive tasks that can benefit from consistency and speed. For instance, automating test data setup and cleanup processes can save time and ensure uniformity across tests. Automating regression testing for frequently visited areas can also help catch unexpected regressions. While automation can enhance efficiency, remember that the human touch remains crucial for exploratory testing and intuitive scenario creation based on experience.


Experience-based testing emerges as a powerful technique in a testing landscape where adaptability and insight play crucial roles. Harnessing testers’ expertise uncovers test scenarios that systematic methods might overlook. From dealing with limited specs to battling the clock, this approach offers a pragmatic solution to various testing challenges, contributing to more comprehensive and effective testing processes.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is experience-based testing black box testing?

Experience-based testing and black-box testing are different but related concepts. While it’s not purely black-box testing, it does involve exploring the software as a user would, making it a valuable method for unearthing unique test scenarios that other techniques might miss.

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