When detailing out a test plan for a software development project, teams frequently debate whether or not to automate tests. What variables do they take into consideration while making these decisions?

This article discusses the differences between Automated Testing and Manual Testing by mentioning the factors to consider while deciding between these two.

Any good QA certification course will primarily explain these differences and thus help you decide how to choose between the two. Remember that if you learn QA online, please ensure that the course covers practical scenarios to help you clearly understand the differences.

Thus, when you eventually understand the differences, you will realize that the best method to decide between manual and automated testing is to develop a test plan based on a value-based approach. 

Let us explore the differences in detail.

What is Manual Testing?

Manual testing is a form of software testing in which Software Testers manually run the test cases instead of utilizing automated technologies.

What is Automated Testing?

Automated testing is a form of software testing in which Software Testers use Automation test tools to execute test scenarios.

For example, Tools like TestProject.io, Selenium, etc., are automation tools.

What are the differences between Manual Testing and Automated Testing?

Manual Testing

Following are the main characteristics of Manual Testing –

  • It is performed manually by Software Testers. They follow test steps in sequential order. In case a flaw is found in the product. Software Testers manually raise defects in the defect management tools
  • It is time-consuming. Humans are slow compared to automated tools. For example, if a test needs to be executed on multiple operating systems, a Software Tester needs to complete the tests on one operating system before moving to the next.
  • It is inefficient because humans are, after all, prone to making errors.
  • It is challenging to ensure test coverage.
  • Certain scenarios involving the unique cognitive capabilities of humans are best done manually.

Automated Testing 

Following are the main characteristics –

  • Test execution is fast. Test results are available early.
  • Test reports are automatically generated. These reports are easy to understand and provide detailed insights into the test execution results. 
  • Defects are automatically raised. 
  • It is efficient, accurate—There are fewer chances of errors.
  • Parallel execution is possible. For example, automated tests can be simultaneously triggered on multiple platforms.
  • It is easy to ensure test coverage. There are tools available to provide a high range of business rule coverage and test data coverage.
  • It can make use of modern technologies such as AI, ML, and NLP. For example, the Self-Healing AI technology helps to maintain test scripts automatically without any manual intervention.
  • Automated testing requires regular code maintenance. If good coding practices, modularity are not followed, it becomes difficult to maintain code.
  • It’s a lot faster and covers many more permutations and combinations to test scenarios.
  • If a coded platform is used to develop the automation tests, the Automation developer must know programming languages.

When to perform Manual testing?

Manual testing

What should not be automated? Well, tests that you just need to run once are better left unautomated! In these one-off test scenarios, manual testing is preferable. 

Also, rather than automated testing, it is better to keep situations that are known to be flaky manually checked. Flaky tests pass and fail without causing any apparent changes in the product.

Apart from that, if any features have recently been added to the product and will be subject to frequent modifications shortly, they should not be automated at this time. Instead, manually test until the feature is stable.

Furthermore, if current test cases take too long to execute, slowing down the input that software developers want regarding the code, it is preferable to do them manually. Meanwhile, develop a new automation framework to address the bottleneck. Of course, before starting, the team might do a cost-benefit analysis.

In complicated scenarios, grasp the testing pathways before automating – until then, manual testing is preferable. Create Unit and functional tests gradually and then merge them while developing automated tests.

Last but not least, the team may safely opt to manually test those situations that are unimportant from the user’s, business analyst’s perspective. It’s a good idea to discuss and comprehend those types of scenarios with your business analysts so that your team doesn’t waste time on them.

When to perform Automation testing?

Automation testing

Numerous scenarios are best tested using automation – It is best to use automated methods to save time and avoid the repetitious chores that a person becomes tired of fast.

Apart from this, it’s preferable to leave smoke tests, sanity tests, and regression testing to the machines. And, as we all know, boredom leads to testing mistakes!

Also, cross-platform testing is best automated easily and quickly using these tools. For example, using tools like TestProject.io, you could trigger tests on multiple browsers at once, remotely.

Tests involving lengthy execution can be automated and scheduled for overnight execution using the tools. And once the test execution is completed, Software Testers can just fetch the test results.

Last but not least, execute business-critical testing pathways to ensure that test execution runs are error-free.

Conclusion

As a Software Tester, it is imperative to understand the differences between manual and automated testing. Accordingly, a  well-informed and knowledgeable Test team should adopt a balanced approach to deciding which situations to automate and not automate to complete the project successfully. 

In a nutshell, it is good to understand that when the team selects the perfect instances for automation, they may devote more time to innovative, cognitive, manual testing techniques, which we humans excel at over automation. Therefore, making the most testing best practices can help you get the most out of your software development project. Eventually, a high-quality product makes the client satisfied!

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