Quality Assurance

Combining Manual with Automation Testing!

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Automating rigorous manual testing effort is the best strategy to demonstrate the capabilities of any skilled testing team. Combining these efforts efficiently can save time, increase productivity with improved quality.

What are the reasons, most Testing Teams fail to take advantage of automation or rather mixing their Manual Testing efforts with Automation?

There are tests which are already automated, but we merely use those and still keep operating manually. There are different IT companies with mature automation processes, wherein some QA groups still find reasons to run a part of their automatic test cases manually. The most common reasons for this strange behaviour can be summed up as:

  • We don’t trust automation – It is true that creating good automation tests is not a trivial task, but if you already invested time and effort into automation, you need to make sure that it is done properly so that you can count on its entirety and not waste your time or money further.
  • We are not sure about what tests are covered under automation and manual – If you have two distinct teams, i.e. one for automation and another for manual testing, this is prevalent. This practice is not a poor practice. You can still achieve your goals with good communication and coordinated teamwork.
  • If tests are very important, then we run automatic tests manually – this contradicts the fact that automated tests are chosen based on their significance and importance.

Why should we merge automation with manual testing?

The sooner the testing team can detect the issue, lesser will be the amount of time required to fix them and hence investing money in test resources is worthier than investing it on issues after their release.

Coverage guarantees that the software is tested against all the demands anticipated. It also justifies that during complete testing each technique, choice, situation, branch, and route has been tested, so that bugs are discovered at the early stage. If the bug it discovered at the start, the cost gets reduced to fix them.

The code scope is controlled during the test coverage, also it monitors the quality of each application’s function, and minimize the gaps between demands and test instances. As the participation of manual and automated testing is generally determined by the application’s specifics, both techniques should be used in tandem to cover code as much as possible.

Challenges in manual and automatic testing coordination.

1.    How to decide what is to be tested manually or automatically?

To solve this, three factors should be regarded:

ROI: Is the investment of time and money to automate a certain script correctly worth.

Test Complexity: Can a test be completely automated? Or is it meant to complicate that maintaining it as a manual test makes more sense?

Stability: What portion of the application test is not required to perform as the “fly as problems” occur, which can only be handle by human testers?

Here are some more factors to make you decide better :

FactorManual testingAutomation testing
Short-term ROIHighLow to moderate
Long-term ROILowHigh
Learning curveModerateSteep
Test reusabilityLowHigh
TransparencyLow to moderateModerate to high
Scope of testsWideNarrow
AdaptabilityHighLow to moderate
Best Used ForAd-Hoc TestingRegression Testing
Best Used ForUsability testingScreenshot comparison
Best Used ForEarly-stage UI testingTesting of stable UI versions
Best Used ForExploratory testingEnd-to-end-testing

2.    Coordination between automation and manual testing teams.

Some examples of issues that need to be considered are: who is doing what? Who describes what should be tested? Who is planning the assigned task? What occurs if a test fails automatically?

A successful automation engineer is nearer to developer’s skills, so that manual testers should be loaded with more methodological duties. Wherein, the decisions are scheduled based on what to run and what are the collective responsibilities.

3.   Test automation is puzzled and difficult.

Many automation testers make manual tester believe that automation testing is too mysterious and complex.

While this is basically a defense mechanism to safeguard one’s own professional stability, it is a barrier to attain proper coordination and communication between the teams, this needs to be neglected.

Compounding automation and manual testing in your team effectively.

As stated above, teamwork and communication are the key to a synergistic QA system with both automation and manual testing. Here are some fundamental rules for combining automated and manual testing in your team to accelerate your testing processes which will be enhancing efficiency and effectiveness.

  •  Regular coordination meetings – you need to schedule sharing sessions in your daily routine as communication is essential. Automation and manual testing teams should participate actively and should schedule project’s testing duties together.
  • The devices used while working – the best way to maintain test coverage in check is to have an embedded test management environment, compiled with one or more suitable devices. Many automation teams use software alternatives that are distinct from manual testing teams, so the key is to check that they have extremely powerful and easy integration.
  • Automation is a tool designed to help and support your manual testing attempts by consuming less time so that complicated, exploratory and heuristic manual testing can be centred, effective and contribute entirely to the successful QA methods.

The sort of testing techniques to be used relies on variable factors of the project. Requirements for project, timeline, budget, knowledge and suitability are the things to be considered. Time, price and quality are vital components, with the aim of reducing costs and time but increasing quality production. One of the sorts can achieve through objective rather than others, when it comes to testing. Based on pros and cons of each strategy, you need to select the effective one for you, your project and for your company.

About the Author

Aparna is a Software QA Tester & is working as a EHI TQM professional, where she performs both automation as well as manual testing. She is good at documenting the Content Management & Test Management Tools so far. She's fond of exploring new tools and is looking forward to sharing her knowledge through blogging.

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Thoughts on “Combining Manual with Automation Testing!”

  1. Good Read. Would be of help if you want to make decision when to go for manual testing and when for automation.

  2. Thank you for the article! Our team uses automation for routine works, regression testing as an example, and manual testing for analyzing and when human perception is needed. Such an approach increased our productivity and facilitate testing activity overall. Great experience!

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