I have always tested products/applications which were stable enough or at least quite old when I worked on them. These days, I have been testing a brand new product, created from scratch and have been looking into areas which were never tested before. And yes, I do feel a difference when I do exploratory testing on such product in terms of time taken, degree of satisfaction reached after spending some time, kind of bugs found etc.

When I say old, I mean some product I have already worked ON and I have to test enhancements. So, there is a bit of familiarity existing and its like working in a comfort zone.

— It’s generally more comfortable to test a familiar product mainly because test oracles are readily available. There is a certain degree of expectation based on its previous behaviour. This might hold true for new product if the feature under test is something very simple like a login screen.

— Testing ideas come readily to mind when testing an old product, it’s easy to speculate how new features would interact and impact the existing ones whereas it might need a bit of hard thinking for new product due to less exposure to the product. At the same time, there are more bugs lurking around here and there in new software which just need little attention and some creativity.

— It’s more time consuming and slower to run tests on new products as its about learning the product as well as the functionality simultaneously. Few things are taken for granted for known product.

— It’s easy to come to a consensus with myself when it comes to when to stop testing for an old product. For new ones, I like to go wild and test every possible combination of things which might and might not go wrong as I don’t want to miss anything.

I cannot say I prefer one over the other or can do a fair comparison but it’s a nice and welcome change and good mental exercise to work on something new!

“The world of manual testing is one of the most challenging and satisfying jobs in the IT industry. When done properly, exploratory testing is a strategic challenge and a match of wits between the manual tester and an application to discover hidden bugs, usability issue, security concerns, and so forth. For far too long, such exploration has been done without good guidance and has been the realm of experts who have learned their craft over may years and decades… We need the human mind to be present when software is tested.”

-James A. Whittaker
Exploratory Software Testing