Finland _ F-Secure

_ _ _

Testing in the intersection between Automation and Exploration

Maaret explores with code – building tests to reveal novel information, while leaving behind automated suites to be reused over the life of the product. Creating automation forces her to explore details of system behaviour; when an automated test fails, it is an invitation to explore.

In this keynote, Maaret will show you how she explores, and how she creates long-term assets while exploring. She’ll set out her vision of a path to better testing, and how you can follow that path by enhancing your skills as a tester, and as a collaborator.

To build tests in this intersection between exploration and automation, we need to be great at testing - uncovering relevant information, and programming - building maintainable test systems. Automation and exploration complement each other when stitched together by learning. With our industry doubling in size every five years, half of us have less than five years of experience. We all start somewhere on our learning journey.

As testers, we need to grow away from our separation of exploration and automation. Companies are looking keenly for people who can bridge that gap. What can you do to become a tester who brings together automating and exploring?

Key takeaways
  1. Recognizing skill in testing and skill in programming for testing as different and complementary skills
  2. Building skills in testing / programming
  3. Using collaboration to achieve better testing

Maaret Pyhäjärvi is feedback fairy with a day job at F-Secure, where she works as Engineering Manager. She identifies as empirical technologist, tester and programmer, catalyst for improvement, author and speaker, and community facilitator and conference organizer. She was awarded as Most Influential Agile Testing Professional Person 2016 and has spoken at events in 25 countries delivering close to 400 sessions. With 25 years as exploratory tester before stepping into a role to manage developers, she crafts her engineering manager job into being a mix of leading a team of 12, doing hands-on testing and programming. She is a serial volunteer and organizing powerhouse contributing to European Testing Conference and Speak Easy, as well as Finnish non-profit scene. She blogs at, posts articles on Medium, and is author of three LeanPub books: Mob Programming Guidebook, Exploratory Testing and Strong-Style Pair Programming. Her web page is