A good testing process consists of various planned activities with specific timelines and well-defined expectations. It can be achieved through either manual or automation testing. Manual is the first/traditional testing method, whereas automation was developed to reduce manual efforts. A manual approach is preferred in projects where flexibility, short duration, end-user experience, etc., are the priority. Both techniques have pros and cons, so it is safe to say they are interdependent and work best when collaborating.
Here is why we cannot forget the basics of manual testing.
Manual testing may seem simple, but it is proven and effective. It is a process where the human brain interacts logically with an application. However, we may never be able to code everything we want to achieve. We may often be limited by the fact that our goals can be coded only to an extent. Even this can take time and effort to create/maintain. Though this approach could be beneficial for a long-term project, it is unsuitable for short-term engagements.
Let’s try to narrow it down further. One of the unique traits that manual testers demonstrate is the ability to identify the defect prone/weak spots in the application where most bugs occur. This talent can be achieved only through experience. Or, to cite another instance, only a real person would be able to gauge the visual aesthetics of an application.
Once given time and stabilized, automation can be a quick and effective method for testing. However, one area where it falls short would be the feasibility factor. We can overcome this issue with new/different technologies in the future. The common thinking would be that both manual and automation have their own merits.
There is a notion that we can soon do away with manual testing or that it is due for retirement. On the contrary, manual testing has several merits that enable it to hold its own in an increasingly automated world.
We can look at some of the criteria that capture the importance of manual testing solutions and how it is effective in different scenarios:
One significant advantage of manual testing is when it comes to replicating a defect. Automation can make it difficult for the user to set up a framework for reproducing the issue. In contrast, for manual testing, it’s relatively easy to understand and replicate the scenario.
As humans, we share a common trait–our ability to find faults! The human brain is the most sophisticated thing known to man, equivalent to supercomputers. With experience, we develop the knack for finding defects in various permutations and combinations. Out-of-box thinking can also lead to the discovery of hidden defects.
A manual tester can quickly scale the testing components in the overall testing process up or down as per the project’s requirements. If there is a change in the requirement, leading to retesting, it can be accommodated more easily in manual testing rather than automation. Since there are a lot of components inside an automation script, it takes a bit of time and rework to accommodate a change in requirements.
Manual testing has always been a cost-efficient option with various kinds of skill and labor, considering the cost of automation tools. It saves money and time when implemented for small-scale projects. When an automated test is in progress, the testers and digital assurance team has the ability to focus their attention somewhere else. However, when running automated testing suites, there could be bugs in the tests themselves.
Regarding compatibility testing of devices, manual testing can prove to be advantageous since the testers understand and work on different types of devices, OS, browsers, etc., in a reasonably short period. Thus, we can ensure that the application behaves as expected under different configurations and environments per the requirement.
As we know, for any application, network connectivity is essential for proper functioning. So, we need to test the performance in various network circumstances. Testers can think of different scenarios to test the connectivity across many places, carriers, and devices.
Exploratory testing plays a vital role in the Agile world. This type of testing is very effective, especially in short sprint cycles. The manual tester can cover various parts of the application in a brief period. Also, this testing helps unravel defects in the least expected areas. It also throws up more realistic flaws than the usual test cases. We can say that exploratory testing has no boundaries in terms of test coverage, and it is entirely left to the tester’s skill, knowledge, and imagination.
To summarize, we must understand that manual testing is here to stay. Automation can be additional support for strengthening manual testing, especially to perform certain functions like multiple regression cycles in a short period, a quick test run, etc. It can aid manual testing, but it certainly cannot replace it. So, we must realize the rightful place of manual and automation testing, nurture it and find the right balance to acquire the best possible outcome. Finally, I would like to conclude by saying there is no “No Doomsday for Manual testing”, and it should go hand in hand with automation to deliver a quality product.
By Uma Raj
By Uma Raj
By Abishek Balakumar