Exploring: travel through (an unfamiliar area) in order to learn about it; inquire into or discuss (a subject) in detail.
I doubt there are testers that know everything about everything in an evolving product, project working with lots of changing people(stakeholders, clients, colleagues).
If you’re not exploring, you’re not actually testing.
If you don’t do explorations it could mean that:
- you already know the product, know the failures, know the results in an algorithmic way of all the behaviors, flows, steps you’re doing
- and are not looking for things you don’t know about, new ways or varying ways of the product failing.
I would rephrase the question with another one:
What is the purpose of a tester that constantly learns about the product, project, people, context, new ways it works, and doesn’t, goes deep and wide to find problems and threats and unknown unknowns.
The answers could be:
It depends on the context. The purpose can range from None to Finding those specific threats to the product quality, that are important for stakeholders, that no one else could.
- There are testers that think they are doing explorations, but aren’t…
- There are testers that are bad at explorations, and only scratch the surface of the iceberg before getting bored and stop exploring any further;
- There are testers that exagerate with explorations when there is no time/budget/low-risk and impact areas;
- There are very good explorers that are sought after for each risky product feature; they can dive deep, fast and find those problems that the product managers are interested in;
- There are projects where there’s no need for explorations due to no or only very small changes of circumstances;
- There are projects where the threats resulting from explorations don’t matter - as there have been multiple backup solutions or the company is fine to fail…