What are merits and demerits of ad hoc test approach?

Ad hoc testing as the name suggests is the testing that is carried out without any formal planning and formal documentation though it can be used for scientific experimental studies.

- The ad hoc testing is meant to be carried out only once until and unless a defect is found.
- It would not be wrong if we call the least formal methodology of testing a software application or system.
- It has always been under criticism because of its uneven structure and also because the defects discovered through this kind of testing are difficult to reproduce due to a lack of written test cases.

However, there is still a plus point of ad hoc testing as important defects or bugs can be found quickly and easily without much efforts and pre planning.

Principle of Ad-hoc testing
The ad hoc testing is based on the principle of improvisation i.e., the software testers seek to find the errors and bugs by any means that seems appropriate to him/ her or we can say tests are performed according to the convenience of the tester.

Ad hoc testing can be appropriately called a primitive version of error guessing which itself is an un- sophisticated version of exploratory testing.

- Formal testing is carried out without any test cases and it proves to be a great help in deciding the duration and scopes for the other types of testing that have to be carried out upon the software system or application.

- This also helps the tester to learn more and more about the software system or application prior carrying out the other kinds of testing.

- It can be called as the least formal method of testing.

- The quick discovery of defects is the best use of ad hoc testing.

- Only reading the specifications and requirements doesn’t give a good sense of how the program or the software system or the application actually works and behaves.

- Even the documentation of the testings does not provide the feel of the software system or application.

- Ad hoc testing can be effectively used to find discrepancies in the testing strategies of the tester and the relations between the sub- systems of the software can be explored that would have been left un- exposed.

- In a way we can say that it serves a tool for checking the quality of our testing methodology.

- It helps in finding the missing cases and so these can be added to the list of test cases.

- Discovering new test cases with ad hoc testing is an indication that root cause analysis should also be performed.

While carrying out the ad hoc testing you should ask yourself and your team members “what other tests should we need to carry out in order to supplement this and make testing more effective?”

SOME IMPORTANT FACTS
- Defects or errors found during ad hoc testing provide examples of forgotten test cases.

- Determining the priority for carrying out other testing can also be thought as another use of ad hoc testing.

- For example, if a program allows the user to carry out some task and the ad hoc testing shows that this function works well, then the formal testing of this functionality might be postponed until the areas having problems are completed.

- On the other hand, if the ad hoc testing discovers any problem, then the formal testing for this functionality can be given highest priority.

- It is concerned with application testing without taking into considerations any rules and regulations.

- For carrying out ad hoc testing effectively the tester should have strong knowledge of the software system or application. Ad hoc testing is performed mainly to save time.

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