The Volcano of Software Testing

What happens when you combine the Test Automation Pyramid with Exploratory Testing concepts? You get the Volcano of Software Testing:

Volcano of Tests

The volcano represents the fact that both checking and exploration are part of the activity we call software testing.


  • The shape of the Test Automation Pyramid refers to healthy test ratios and relative importance. The “volcano ash” cloud follows that pattern:
    • It is on the top, as these tests are typically relevant to the end user, can be relatively complex and costly.
    • In my opinion they are key to achieving customer satisfaction, so the cloud is large.
  • Using tools is not limited to automation. Manual testing should be supported by tools when necessary.
  • “Checking” can be both manual and automated.

Send me your thoughts.

Suggested reading:

Kanban is not for everyone

This post was inspired by the “Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business” book by David J. Anderson.

My thoughts on Kanban and the book:

  • It is a great book, you should read it. I highly recommend it as introduction to Kanban.
  • Kanban is oriented on consistent throughput. Scrum, on the other hand, focuses on feedback/improvement loops.
  • You can apply Kanban to complex projects, but it seems better suited to smaller applications.
  • The layered approach to larger jobs, that is described in the second part of the book, is less intuitive than Scrum, in my opinion. It is not that it would not work, it is just less complex with Scrum.
  • Kanban is a perfect fit for teams that focus on request-based work, where the scope is well understood.
  • Groups that it might fit best:
    • Sustaining Engineering/Maintenance Engineering
    • IT
    • Release Engineering
  • Limiting Work In Progress is crucial. Capping WIP is important to all agile methodologies.
  • Scrum and Kanban should borrow from each other. Standups, WIP limit, reviews, automation… – are practices used regardless of approach used.