In January, 2006, several of us worked on definitions of exploratory testing at the Exploratory Testing Research Summit (another link), with follow-up work at the Workshop on Heuristic and Exploratory Techniques in May.  We didn’t reach unanimous agreement at that meeting. However, later discussions based on the meeting’s notes yielded this definition:

“Exploratory software testing is a style of software testing that emphasizes the personal freedom and responsibility of the individual tester to continually optimize the value of her work by treating test-related learning, test design, test execution, and test result interpretation as mutually supportive activities that run in parallel throughout the project.”

I cannot present this as a consensus definition from WHET, both because (a) not everyone who came to WHET would agree and (b) several other people helped polish it. But I am uncomfortable presenting it as if it is primarily from James Bach, Jon Bach, Mike Bolton, and/or me. The authorship / endorsement list should be much broader.

If you would like to be identified either as one of the authors of this definition or as an endorser of it, can you please post a comment to this blog or send me an email (