Exploratory Testing in Microsoft Test Manager

Microsoft Test Manager - Visual Studio 2012 - Testing Center

This is a feature you can find in the latest release of Microsoft Test Manager included with Visual Studio Ultimate 2012, Visual Studio Premium 2012 or Visual Studio Test Pro 2012.  If you’re interesting in the entire feature comparison across editions you can see it here.

In the screenshot above I launched Microsoft Test Manager and connected to one of my Team Projects, you can see I have not created a Test Plan yet.

  • Click the Add button in the toolbar to open the Add test plan dialog
  • Enter the Plan name
  • Select the appropriate Area path and Iteration
  • Click the Add button

Add test plan

Select the Test Plan you just created and then click Select plan or Double Click on the name of the Test Plan to open the new plan.  Make sure you are on the Plan tab of the Testing Center as shown below

Test Plan | Explore

From the Plan tab right click the Plan Name you created and left click Explore.  This will start the Test Runner application which will snap to the left side of your desktop.

Test RunnerBefore you press start you can configure some of the settings if you’d like by pressing the button shaped like a gear located in the bottom right hand corner of the window.

In my case I customized the setting for the screenshot annotation tool and set it to C:\Program Files (x86)\TechSmith\Snagit 11\Snagit32.exe

My favorite screen capture application/editor is Snagit, Test Runner comes set to use Paint Brush as default.

Now I can click Start which will starting the recording process and then I will launch a sample application and start my Exploratory Testing Session.

I launched IE 9 and entered the URL for the application which I want to start my testing session, when I find an issue I can start writing a description of the bug in the text editor.  You will notice that I can format the text and insert a screenshot as well if I want.  If I need to edit the screenshot I can simply double click it to launch my image editor (Snagit) so I can highlight/circle the exact location of the error on the web page.

If I want I can choose to Pause (Top Left Button) my recording session so my actions are not captured as part of the test recording.

Recording Test Runner session

Clicking Resume will start the recording again so I can continue my test session.  I will then click the Create bug in the Test Runner at which point the Test Runner will Pause.

Create bug

Most of the information for the bug is populated for you, you will have to enter/edit the following fields:

  • Title
  • Assigned To
  • Change Steps (select your relevant actions and observations)

Once you are done entering information required for the bug you can go ahead and press Save and create test to create the new bug.

Create test case

Again most of the information for the test case is populated for you, you will have to enter/edit the following fields:

  • Title
  • Assigned To
  • Expected Result

Once you’re done then press the Save and close button to resume your exploratory testing in test runner.

For this example we’ll just press the End testing button now which will return us to the Testing Center and show us the details of our current session.

Exploratory test session
Press Save and Close to return to the Test Plan.

Test Plan

That’s it!  If you have any comments please let me know.

About Wes MacDonald

Wes MacDonald is a DevOps Consultant for LIKE 10 INC., a DevOps consulting firm providing premium support, guidance and services for Azure, Microsoft 365 and Azure DevOps.

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