Do you still run any tests by hand, even though they could be run automatically? If so, you’re not the only one. Even in companies with well-developed automation systems, some QA teams still “find reasons” to run some automated test cases by hand. Speaking about automated and manual testing to work together, one cannot but discuss the topic of quality assurance consulting companies.
Most of the time, the “reasons” for this weird behavior are:
- We only run automatic tests by hand if they are very important. This goes against the fact that tests are usually chosen to be automated based on how important and important they are.
- We don’t trust your automation all the way. It’s true that making good automation tests isn’t easy, but if you’ve already put time and effort into automation, you might as well make sure it’s done right, so you can rely on it fully and not waste your time or money.
- We don’t know what automated tests cover and what manual tests cover. This usually happens when you have two separate teams, one for automating testing and the other for testing by hand.
Why do both automated and manual testing need to be done?
Companies rarely don’t have a mix of both automated and manual testing frameworks these days. When the combination works, it’s because manual testing and automated testing don’t cancel each other out. Instead, they help each other out and make testing more synergetic.
Most of the time, automated testing makes testing faster and more consistent, but it’s only as good as the scripts you write. Manual testing works with automatic testing to find problems from the user’s point of view or bugs that aren’t expected in unscripted situations, etc. Along with efficient automation, there is a lot of need for people to test heuristics.
When you use a mix of automated and manual tests to cover different parts of the same feature, when manual tests pick up where automation left off, or when there are tests that are only “semi-automatic” and need manual intervention between tests to move on to the next set of automated tests, these are all examples of how automated and manual testing can work well together.
Taking care of both manual and automated testing
Most testing teams today do a mix of manual and automated testing, but for some reason, many of these organizations manage these two types of testing separately. By separating the management and reporting of their testing by type, they make it harder for stakeholders to get a full picture of their products and projects. This means they lose a lot of the value they were hoping to get from their automation in the first place.
The new reality of Agile and DevOps means that testing leaders need to take a new approach. They need to coordinate testing across all testing tools and methods, from manual testing (both scripted and exploratory) to functionally automated testing by the team to unit and integration tests run by a CI/CD framework.
Why are automation and manual test management interesting right now?
There have been three main changes that have made it important for manual software testing services and automated test management to work well together.
The first change is the use of tools and practices for automation. The State of Testing Report says that 76 percent of testers now use test automation in some way. This is why there has been a boom in tools to help with test automation, to match the widespread use of automated testing across all industries.
The cost of test automation tools has gone down, and they are easier to use because there are more kinds of them. “Codeless automation” and other buzzwords show the trend of making user experiences friendlier for people who don’t know much about coding and for those who want to use test automation. These tools for automating tests are also getting better and better.
The second change has to do with how the development and testing processes are changing. We are seeing the following changes in the way development and testing are done:
- Agile is based on shorter cycles that require stability at all times.
- CI is based on the idea that the system should be built and tested all the time. DevOps, on the other hand, is based on testing the deployment process and production environments but is no longer just for Development.
- All of these come from the growing need to speed things up and make it possible to release things faster.
The third change has to do with the people who take part in testing. The State of Testing report shows that the number of people on testing teams is going down. And even teams with a lot of different people have fewer testers. But testers are also expected or even required to know how to script (83 percent of respondents said that functional testing automation and scripting are now important skills that managers look for when hiring).
On the other hand, developers are slowly becoming more involved in testing tasks. In some cases, we see other teams in the company help with testing.