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The Importance of Manual Testing in QA

It's often for companies to talk about their experience in automation testing. While automation testing definitely has its benefits, there are some times when manual testing is a much better option. Seems counter intuitive? We'll explain.

When would it ever make sense to use manual testing over automation testing? What benefits could possibly outweigh the ability to automate test scripts? These are all different variations of the same question: 

Why Not Just Use Automation Testing?

Automation testing is when automated scripts are developed to test the operational functionality of a project. Using automation testing is often a fantastic option for many projects, but it is not a one-size-fits all application. 

When is Automation Testing Beneficial?

It's best to use automation testing when you have a large project, a lot of tedious and repetitive information, or when you need to verify that bits of code are working as they should.

Automation testing can be a critical aspect to some projects. It ensures that a test is performed consistently without the opportunity for human error and provides a benchmark for testing in the future.

Sometimes the only way a test can be executed is via some sort of automation. Examples include load testing and traversing large amounts of paths through an application. Some things just can't practically be done manually."

- Mike Kelly, Managing Partner, DeveloperTown


Unfortunately, due to the fact that there isn't a human involved, it can easily overlook something that an actual tester would observe. Which brings us to our next topic...

When to Use Manual Testing

Manual testing is very much like it sounds like: when a tester goes into a project and manually performs a series of tests to detect any defects that may occur. They would utilize every possible scenario for a user to encounter to make sure that everything in the project operates as it should.

One common misconception about manual testing is that the only time it's beneficial is when you have a tight deadline or a short-term project. The truth is that it can benefit your project in many different ways. Some of these benefits:

  • Typically more cost-effective than using automation testing in small batches
  • Provides manual testing of User Interfaces (UIs)/User Experience (UX) (which can not be accomplished with automation testing)
  • Better in the infancy stages of your project when changes are constant, versus having to update an automation script each time a feature is added, removed, or reassigned
  • Offers much more flexibility than automation testing; you are able to quickly test results against one another versus having to test the entire process
  • Manual testers are easier to locate than automation testers, and are easier to train
Do you prefer to use automation testing or manual testing in your projects? Why do you prefer it? 
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Topics: Technology, QA, Software Development, QA TCOE

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