Manual Testing is Dying

Introduction

I know this topic is a controversial one. Some of you may disagree with me and this is totally fine. But if you are curious about what I am going to bring up, keep reading.

As more companies start to implement/adopt Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing, Continuous Delivery (CI/CT/CD) and DevOps, Test automation in CI/CT/CD pipeline plays a key and crucial role. If not only to increase the speed of software development and delivery, but also to reduce human mistakes.

As more processes/tasks become automated in CD, there will become less of a need for manual work including manual testing.

How soon is its imminent demise? Even though manual testing is dying, it isn’t dead yet.  Until that time comes, there is still a need for manual testing, that even AI can’t replace.

Even if automated testing can reach 100% test coverage levels, there will still be space/a need for manual testing. There are some things that manual testing just does better then automation. Let’s take a look at below automation testing vs manual testing comparison matrix from Screenster. These are  the areas where manual testing performs better than automated testing.

Manual testing Automation testing
Short-term ROI High Low to moderate
Long-term ROI Low High
Scalability Low High
Learning curve Moderate Steep
Speed Low High
Accuracy Low High
Test reusability Low High
Transparency Low to moderate Moderate to high
Scope of tests Wide Narrow
Adaptability High Low to moderate
Best used for: Ad-hoc testing Regression testing
Exploratory testing End-to-end-testing
Usability testing Screenshot comparison
Early-stage UI testing Testing of stable UI versions

Source: https://screenster.io/manual-vs-automation-testing/

So what should I do as a manual tester?

Until that fated day comes, keep doing what you’re doing.

You also need to work smarter not harder because you cannot run tests 24/7 while machine does.

To be more productive, you need a better test plan, better test design method. Your tests should be elegant enough to scale. They should focus on the business logic of application under test (AUT) instead of AUT’s GUI because the GUI can be changed at any time. If your tests need to be executed often, then they will properly be automated sooner or later. Thus they also need to be automation friendly i.e. your manual tests are automated tests themselves.

“Wait! Are you saying that my manual tests can be run by an automation tool without any further effort?”

Yes, you heard it right. You can easily do this with Action Based Testing. Action Based Testing is a modular-design and action-driven test method that provides a systematic approach to increase the success of automated testing. Modular-design addresses the challenges of test planning and test case management through efficient test organization. Action-driven test development eliminates the majority of the programming work required to automate and maintain tests long-term. This alleviates the need for having a technical testing staff.

Check out my other article for “how to create non-technical readable automated tests” and “Action-Based Testing Design Process”

Moreover, you can force more on exploratory testing. When organized properly manual testers can find many more bugs than automation typically does. You can also check out this article about how testers can stay relevant.

So what should I do as an automation tester?

Now you know that you are playing more and more important role/an increasingly important role / a more important role.  One thing that is important–the more tests you develop, the more well-organized they need to be. They also need to be manual friendly i.e. a non-technical person can read and understand your test. Sometimes, it happens to me that my automated tests need to be executed manually due to environment issues like an unstable network and the test result needs to be sent out as soon as possible. Because my tests are designed using Action Based Testing method, this could be done with no hassle/this is done with minimal effort.

Final Thoughts

As a trend, manual test tends to reduce significantly. Both manual and automation testers need a better method to collaborate effectively.

Action-Based Testing is able connect manual and automation testers. Each of them can use play to their strengths. A Manual tester can focus on test design and organization while an automation tester can demonstrate his technical skills and knowledge.

Action-Based Testing is a modern approach to Keyword-Driven Testing – the test development method we all know and love. It represents the continued evolution of the keyword-based testing approach. Moreover, it unlocks the ability of creating readable automated tests by non-technical. To learn more about Action based testing visit LogiGear Magazine and check out the infographic, What is Action Based Testing?

Author: Hien D. Nguyen

Hien D. Nguyen is an experienced Software QA Engineer at LogiGear Corporation. A tester by day and a blogger by night, Hien has a great passion for software testing, especially complex test automation problems. When not doing all those, he enjoys reading, jogging and trying new things.

 

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