I’ve transitioned my workplace away from purely scripted testing to a mix of scripted and exploratory, and am moving our scripted tests away from stepped tests to gherkin, so I’ve seen both sides of this.
I would say stepped tests (eg Step 1: Log In, Exp Result: User is logged in, Step 2: Navigate to… etc) offer almost no value over other forms of testing. Exploratory is my preferred style simply because it lets the solution and requirement lead the testing, rather than asking the tester to look into their crystal ball and discern precisely HOW the software will do the WHAT of the requirement. Rewriting stepped tests, cloning stepped tests only to add the word “not” or “don’t” in 16 places, etc etc… I don’t miss those days!
Scripted testing has a place for sure, rigid testing of the requirements make sense to be documented in a script. Currently we script in Gherkin, meaning we can manually execute the scripts, then should we see value in doing so, automate. Can’t automate a stepped test, so why not get a step ahead (pun definitely not intended!)?
In terms of the review process, we have agreed a standard mandating all tests of any style have a “purpose” stated as the first part of the summary, for example “The purpose of this test is to ensure login validation fails for invalid credentials”. Our test review process only involves reviewing these “test intents” - frankly a review once the test is written is too wasteful, too late in the process. Begin testing your tests earlier and instead test the ideas, then trust your testers to “fill in the blanks” when it comes to writing or executing the tests (and review the output of that with the team once it’s done!).
It would be wrong to say there is nothing which can be gained from doing any type of testing, but I think for those of us who have been (or who still are) locked in the “bad old days” of stepped, scripted tests, we’d be wary of seeing them as much more than a “bit of fun” exercise to educate others on how tedious, wasteful and laborious testing can be. I do think it’s pretty cool you live in a world where the idea of doing something other than exploratory represents a break from the norm, that’s a sign things are headed in the right direction for me.
Thanks for the interesting topic!