A Practitioner’s Guide to Contemporary Exploratory Testing


A new generation of testing is emerging, led by testers who believe test automation is an inseparable part of how we do exploratory testing. Yes, you read that right: exploratory testing with test automation, and on unit, api, ui and e2e levels all at our reach with team collaboration. We work on acceptance criteria and examples in our short increments, yet people are at their most creative on what could go wrong when they use the product or a piece of the product as their external imagination. When we’re creative, we need to do things we can’t do by hand, using programming to extend our reach. When we’re learning, we need to take notes now and to keep for later, again using programming to replenish information we deem worth while. We want to work on exploring a category of bugs before implementing, and a category of bugs before releasing, and a category of bugs after releasing. Last year I worked with a team that was transforming from a traditional manual test case + test automation -based approach to contemporary exploratory testing. This year I work with another team that takes this style of testing further than we’ve taken it before with whole-team testing. Let’s learn from a practitioner’s examples of ideas leading into this, changes enabling this, and results we are seeing with contemporary exploratory testing.


Maaret Pyhäjärvi is an exploratory tester extraordinaire with a day-job atVaisala as Principal Test Engineer. She is an empirical technologist, a tester and a (polyglot) programmer, a catalyst for improvement, a speaker and an author, and a community facilitator. She has been awarded the two prestigious global testing awards, Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person 2016 (MIATPP) and EuroSTAR Testing Excellence Award (2020), and selected as Top-100 Most Influential in ICT in Finland 2019, 2020 and 2021. She’s spoken at events in 25 countries delivering over 400 sessions.With 25 years of exploratory testing under her belt, she crafts her work role into a mix of hands-on testing and programming, and leading and enabling others. She leads TechVoices enabling new speakers, blogs at and is the author of three books: Ensemble Programming Guidebook, Exploratory Testing and Strong-Style Pair Programming.

LinkedIn: Maaret Pyhäjärvi

Twitter: @maaretp