Some things need to be done exclusively by hand. Are you ready to entrust your hairstyle or manicure to a robot right now? Probably not. This is true for software testing as well. There are moments when automation is not able to replace manual testing. Interface testing, for example, must be done manually. The machine can miss many visual glitches if the function works correctly. Why is manual software testing critical? How to minimize the disadvantages of manual testing? We found out in a new article.
Manual testing: definition and process
Manual testing means that you check the software operation manually. Despite the presence of many frameworks for automation, manual testing is irreplaceable. This is a unique way to get information about the product and its quality from the user’s point of view.
Manual testing is applied at all stages of the product development process. At the initial stages, manual execution of unit tests is indispensable. Closer to release, manual tests allow you to make sure that functionality is displayed and works properly. Let’s see the manual testing workflow in detail.
Manual testing process: main stages
- Work with requirements. It is good practice to start testing processes early in the SDLC. Manual QA engineers review requirements and functional specifications to ensure they are clear, complete, consistent, feasible, and testable.
- Planning and strategy development. At this stage, QA engineers determine the scope of work and budget. Here you also decide what testing types and tools are needed. With manual testing, you don’t use special software. However, the test case management system facilitates and speeds up the process of manual testing. Using it, you can create test cases, run tests, and track results. Follow the link to read more about how it works.
- Test case creation. You are guided by the existing plan and strategy and develop test cases. At this stage, you also prepare the environment for test execution.
- Software testing. Here you run your tests.
- Retesting. When the developers have fixed the bugs you found earlier, you re-test the functionality. The goal is to make sure that the application works as expected after the changes.
- Preparation of a test report. The document describes all the tests performed during software development.
When Manual Testing is Beneficial
- Testing functionality manually is often easier and faster than writing an automated test script. This is especially true for functions on which subsequent app development is tied. In this case, the creation of autotests blocks the entire product development process. You can’t start developing the next features if you’re not sure about the current functionality. Thus, a reasonable solution is to use manual testing.
- Manual tests are the ideal solution for the early stages of software development. Even if you are developing a complex application and cannot do without automated tests, manual testing in the early stages of development is difficult to replace. This is because keeping tests up to date is resource intensive. If you want to regularly add new functionality and not be inferior to competitors in terms of speed and quality, check the capabilities of the product manually before creating autotests. This is an example of when manual testing does not slow down but speeds up the processes.
- Usability testing is always done manually. User experience, visual assessment of the interface, correctness, and consistency of the functionality are fundamental here.
- Manual tests allow you to improvise. You can test various use cases for the application, find creative ways to interact with the program and choose a non-standard set of functions.
- Manual testing requires no initial investment at all or takes up relatively little resource. This is the best solution for small companies and startups when all team members take part in testing.
Manual testing myths
There are the top 3 most popular myths about manual testing.
Manual testing is simple. In practice, a tester should have a wide range of analytical skills. Testing can be very difficult.
Manual testing is less qualitative than automated testing. It is impossible to automate testing 100%. For the highest quality testing of the product, manual testers are also needed.
In the foreseeable future, manual testing will be completely replaced by automated testing. This is unlikely. Exploratory testing, usability testing, UI testing, and some other testing types are performed manually.
4 tips on how to fill gaps in your testing process
1: Minimize the possibility of human error
Human error is the most significant disadvantage of manual testing. No one is immune from an error, and a tester can miss a potential error. The reason can be both a lack of experience and tiredness. Moreover, different testers can check the same scenario in different ways. How to deal with the human factor problem in testing? It is impossible to eliminate it, but you can reduce the likelihood of problems that this factor causes. Each unforeseen or different from the expected result must be recorded in the form of a case. So any employee can check it by performing a certain set of actions.
2: Pay enough attention to planning and developing a testing strategy
Projects often go over budget and delay release due to a lack of time allocated to testing the app and fixing bugs. Before starting testing, you need to estimate the number of tests, the time to complete them, the time to fix bugs, and the time needed to retest.
3: Build robust communication processes within the team.
Lack of understanding of the requirements by both QA engineers and all stakeholders will lead to omissions in testing important scenarios, conflicts, and reduced team productivity. Ensure that all project participants have a clear understanding of what their goals are. This means daily stand-ups and weekly sync meetings are a must.
4: Immerse in the domain and technology sphere
A professional who understands the fintech domain will be able to test a fintech application well. An expert who understands how databases work and knows client-server architecture, etc will be able to write deeper test cases and test the application more thoroughly. If it is not possible to invite specialists with a technical background to the team, motivate employees to dive into the domain and the field of technology.