Manual Testing: 5 Reasons Why Some Companies Prefer This Method

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Manual Testing

Software testing, whether it’s manual testing or automated testing, is an integral part of the software development life cycle. As it ensures high-quality software releases and minimizes risks, companies today continually ramp up their testing efforts by hiring experts and securing relevant testing software, such as test case management tools. While many have automated their testing processes, there are QA teams who continue to execute their test cases manually. This article aims to discuss the following points:

  • Definition of manual testing
  • Tests that require manual testing
  • Benefits of manual testing
  • Managing manual and automated testing

Understanding Manual Testing

Manual testing checks apps for software bugs, defects, and issues without the use of automated tools or scripting. These tests are manually executed by testing engineers. While it might be seen as a primitive testing technique, the importance and relevance of manual testing cannot be discounted. Experts agree that 100% software test automation is not possible – at least not in the near future, anyway. There are situations where automated testing cannot fully replace manual testing.

To check the feasibility of automating tests, companies manually test new applications first. While it may entail more labor and effort, doing this can prevent unnecessary spending by identifying whether or not test automation is feasible. Automated tests end up being more costly if the right testing strategies are not in place.

The objective of manual testing is to ensure that the software is error-free and is aligned with the expected quality, value, and fit. QA testers evaluate the software from an end user’s perspective.

During the testing phase, test cases aimed at 100% test coverage are designed. When errors are detected, the developers are expected to fix these bugs, after which, the QA testers will execute another test to expose errors. 

There are 4 stages of manual testing:

  • Integration Testing
  • System Testing
  • Acceptance Testing

These are the steps involved in manual testing:

  1. Review software project guides, documentation, and the Application Under Test (AUT). Analyze the requirements.
  2. Based on the requirements, design a test case plan and create test cases that cover the requirements.
  3. Execute the test cases and check if there are any errors or bugs.
  4. Report errors.
  5. Re-run tests after the bugs have been fixed.

Tests That Require Manual Testing

Because automating tests allows the testing team to have higher test coverage and faster results, some are inclined to think that this is the best option for all. In reality, there are tests that are better done manually depending on the objectives and criteria:

  • Exploratory Testing

The focus of exploratory testing is improving test design. Through exploratory testing, the testers are allowed more freedom and control. Test cases are not created ahead of time; rather, test design and test execution happen concurrently. This is commonly used in Agile testing. Testing becomes more of a “thinking” process, thus requiring cognitive skills. This focuses more on discovery and learning.

  • Usability Testing

Usability testing is important because it evaluates the user-friendliness of the app. This may entail researchers observing how end-users perform a task and gather insights from the end-users themselves. Through manual testing, the app’s intuitiveness is tested. It also helps expose areas that users find difficult. 

  • Ad-hoc Testing

This test is informal and unstructured. Ad-hoc testing is done to mitigate errors at the earlier stages of the development cycle. 

Benefits of Manual Testing

Manual testing and automated testing have their own benefits. It works best to go back to the objectives to assess whether manual testing is the better option.

  • Human perspective

If the goal is to have a more thorough insight from an end user’s vantage point, manual testing works best. While automated testing may effectively gauge the consistency of the app, manual testing provides a deeper insight into one of the most vital metrics which is User Experience. This is because the results are dependent on the tester. It can therefore effectively gauge whether or not the User Interface is user-friendly.

  • Flexibility

Manual testing also allows for exploratory testing, detecting errors at the early stages of the software development lifecycle. Manual testing is ideal for evaluations and explorations. While they are less defined than automated testing, manual testing is more extensive in nature.

  • Correlation of fails and bugs

Failed tests report bugs directly without the need for much analysis and review. The interest is on the direct results, not on the trends and benchmarks. 

  • Cost-effectiveness

Writing test cases for manual testing is inexpensive and ideal for non-repeating tests or tasks. Repetitive tests and tests that require higher test coverage, though, will require more labor and effort, which will entail more costs for the company. It is important to go back to the objectives and decide whether to execute these tests manually or to automate them.

  • Ownership of the change process

Some test automation frameworks are restrictive. Testers are expected to follow a certain way of working. Scripts are created in advance and may force testers into one way of working. Manual testing allows the testers to decide on the process and allows seamless change management and process accountability.

Managing Both Manual and Automated Testing

The benefits highlighted make manual testing an essential part of the software development life cycle. While manual testing clearly has many strengths, it also has its own weaknesses, which test automation can cover. For instance, it may take manual testing many hours or days to accomplish what would only take a few hours for automated testing to complete.

Companies today have a blended approach, making the most of both testing processes. They’re not necessarily mutually exclusive; you can have both manual and automated testing incorporated into your software testing process. Finding the right balance of both is strategic and cost-effective for companies. It also allows optimal utilization of company time and resources without compromising the results.

Technologies, such as test case management tools, make it easier for test teams to manage both manual and automated testing. Monitoring and reporting are also made easier through these systems. Test case management tools have further improved communication between QA testers, developers, and stakeholders. 

There have been many developments in the software industry processes and we can only expect more in the coming months and years. Knowledge of the changes and leveraging these technological advancements is key to staying ahead of your competitors.