The big news for testers in Test Manager 2012 is the substantial improvement on exploratory testing. In 2010 you could only run a standard test case with a test step that for example said “explore something” and then you could create an exploratory bug with a timeline. As of 2012 exploratory testing has got some really great improvements and is now a key part of the testing process.
There are two ways to start exploratory testing in Test Manager, it can either be started from the Plan tab, right-click on either the test plan suite or a requirement suite and select explore.
Or it can be started from the Test tab, go to Do Exploratory Testing and press explore or select a requirement and press explore work item.
Press start in the exploratory runner too start running your exploratory testing, notes on what you’re testing can be entered in the free text field along with screenshots.
If you want to highlight something in the screenshot just double click the picture and it will be opened in paint. Make a change in the picture and save and the picture will automatically be updated in the text field in the exploratory runner. You can always create bugs and test cases from your exploratory testing, creating test cases are mainly meant to be used to if you find a flow that you would like to automate. Something to think about here is that it is possible to create a bug and from the bug then create a test case for having a test scripts test case to verify the bug later on. When creating a bug do it as usual but press the button, save and create test cases when you have finished writing bug.
When you are finished testing, press end test and a summary of the test session appears, do not forget to save this session so you can always in the future go and see how these tests went.
I think the new parts in Test Manager 2012 are very welcome and functional supplements to make Test Manager a much more complete testing tool. One thing I am missing on exploratory testing is that if you are not using Scrum but instead uses any other development/test methodology and prefer to run testing on areas or something other than requirements it is not possible today. I myself would like to see it possible to run against an area path or test suite. But for now the only way to run exploratory testing is against the test plan or a requirement.