Opinion

The Pros and Cons of Manual Testing Vs. Automated Testing

Testing is arguably the most important step in the software development process, as it measures quality assurance and prevents costly rework down the road. When it comes down to solidifying testing strategies, there are two options to consider; manual testing and automated testing. Making a selection between the two depends on highly varied factors, including budgetary concerns and flexibility, and often, companies find themselves using a combination of the two. Read on to determine which may fit your project and overall company aims.

Manual Testing

During manual testing, software developers run tests by hand, comparing the desired expectations and the actual outcomes. Basically, the developers use the software just as a general consumer would, and take an in-depth look as to whether or not the software does as it should.

When Should I Use Manual Testing?

For starters, manual testing is generally cheaper, especially for a short-term project. There are quite a few up-front costs that come along with automated software testing, and those are usually only worth the investment if you’ll be working on a project for quite a while. Manual testing also excels at discovering real user issues, as the developer is more apt to uncover these types of problems than a robotic testing program would be. Manual testing allows for more flexibility; should a developer change their mind about the direction they want to take, manual testing allows for ease of transition, whereas automated testing would be a complicated process to reset.

What Are the Drawbacks of Manual Testing?

Manual testing isn’t always the answer to software testing woes. For starters, it’s boring. The problem with boredom is that it leads to inattention, making tester errors more likely, especially if you outsource your manual testing to individuals on a space like Utest.com.  Manual testing can also make it more difficult to perform certain tasks within the software that automated testing could solve easily. Additionally, it can be time consuming, especially if changes are made to the software.

Automated Testing

Automated testing uses automatic testing tools to run tests throughout the development process, comparing expected and actual outcomes by repeating predefined actions of the developer’s choosing.

When Should I Use Automated Testing?

Automated testing is essential in large projects, especially those impacted by a variety of factors to ensure the software goal is met. In these cases, software developers can use ALM software to learn more about the potential bugs and issues. ALM software offers automated testing while helping project managers handle large teams, sometimes made up of geographically separate individuals. Automated testing allows the entire team to view test results immediately while allowing for a more cohesive team effort. This allows developers to automate tests and run test after test, an essential aspect for those who need to run regressions and code that is consistently altered. Automation tools are expensive in the beginning, but the return on investment over the long run is more than worth it.

What Are the Drawbacks of Automated Testing?

Automated testing, over the long haul, can save time; however, it does take quite a bit of time to set up as you’ll need to develop the tests you wish to run. Automated testing can be quite expensive at the onset, so it’s essential to find the options that will allow you to get full coverage for your money and secure the proper funding. You’ll also need to be prepared to invest a considerable chunk of time during the development of your tests. Automated testing can’t replace everything; it won’t manipulate Excel data, visually inspect font size and color, and can’t download files, for example, so users need to be aware of these limitations when they choose to invest.

The Final Word

In some development situations, it’s clear that manual testing will be more conducive to developer aims while in others, automated testing has an obvious advantage. With manual testing, user issues can be quickly spotted, plus this method can be more flexible. However, automated testing can quickly and efficiently sort out bugs, is more convenient for large scale projects, and provides for better team collaboration.

Each system of testing has its own advantages and drawbacks, but in the long run, many developers find it best to use a mélange of the two. Oftentimes, one is not a proper replacement for the other, but a supplementary aid that could be used to streamline the overall development process. Consider the pros and cons of both automated and manual testing, and determine which is better suited to your aims or whether you would benefit from a happy compromise between the two.

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