Manual testing is still the most widely used type of software testing. This form of testing requires a great deal of effort, and this alone makes it the biggest challenge faced by manual testers. Manual testing is not just about executing a few test scripts and checking a few boxes. It involves sifting through countless lines of code, hunting for bugs and identifying areas for improvement. Test automation is a game-changer in software testing, but even so, there are plenty of good reasons why manual testing remains an essential part of any QA strategy. Well, let’s take a look at some of the challenges manual testers may face when they are working with the same old techniques.
Manual Testing Is Time-Consuming
Manual testing is a very time-consuming activity. You may think that the sheer volume of work you have to do will naturally speed up as you become more experienced, but this is rarely the case. This has a lot to do with the fact that no matter how good you are at doing manual testing, you’re still using your hands and eyes to do the work. That means your efficiency and speed will never be as great as they would be if you could program a computer to do your work for you.
Now, we’re not saying that efficiency isn’t important. It is, but it’s not the only important thing. There are times when you’re going to need to do something inefficiently. For example, if you want to thoroughly test something that’s going to take you only 30 minutes to do, you could spend 30 hours doing it and be no better off than you were with your 30-minute approach.
Manual Testing Is Difficult to Scale
Manual testing can only scale as well as your ability to hire and pay lots of people. This is not an ideal way to scale, but it’s a very common one, especially if your business is growing and you need quick access to testing resources. The other common way to scale manual testing is to have a team of testers work on the same application at the same time. There are some applications that are designed with parallel testing in mind, but many aren’t. This can make it very challenging to scale manual testing. What’s more, you may also not be able to take advantage of parallel testing if you’re working with a browser-based testing tool.
Manual Tests Are Constantly Becoming Outdated
When you’re doing manual testing, you’re constantly learning new things, and your tests need to be updated. If you don’t make constant updates, you’re going to end up with a test suite that is completely obsolete. This is a very common problem with software tests, but it’s not something that you’re going to have to deal with when you’re doing automated testing. As you make changes to the application you’re testing, you’re going to have to make adjustments to your tests as well. This is something that can happen automatically no matter how many tests you have to do manually. But how do you overcome these challenges?
Define clear goals for manual testing
One challenge of manual testing is that it’s hard to measure. It’s difficult to say what exactly you’ve achieved by the end of the day, other than that you’ve tested a certain number of features. One way to tackle this challenge is to define clear goals for your manual testing. That way, you can measure your progress towards those goals, which will make the process more meaningful and effective. Test goals could include things like checking the functionality of a certain number of features, validating a certain number of bugs, and identifying areas for improvement in the product.
Establish a test environment
Test automation enables you to run tests repeatedly, at any time and from any location. Manual testing, on the other hand, is much more specific to the environment in which it’s carried out. One challenge of manual testing is that you’re limited to the same environment as your product manager and developers. Although you can test the software in a wide variety of real-life scenarios, you’re still tied to a single location. If you want to thoroughly test your product, you need to be able to run the same tests repeatedly. That’s why you should establish a test environment. This environment should mimic your production environment as closely as possible. Because you can’t always rely on your product manager or developers to switch to a testing environment, you may need to purchase your own hardware.
Utilize continuous integration
If continuous integration is already part of your QA strategy, then you’re already reaping the benefits of this process. If not, manual testing may be a challenging process for you. Here’s why. If your team is responsible for testing a product that’s developed by a remote team, you’ll need to schedule your tests and keep track of the results manually. There are probably plenty of communication gaps in this process, which can make your job difficult. If your dev team is using an integrated CI system, on the other hand, you’ll receive constant updates about the state of the product. You can track the progress of your testing, identify areas that require more attention and mark bugs as they’re discovered. You can also take advantage of pre-built tests that were designed by your dev team. These tests can serve as a starting point for your own testing.
Identify critical areas to test
As you start to test your product, you’ll discover that there’s no shortage of issues to address. If you try to address every issue, you’ll never finish testing. To prevent this, you need to identify critical areas to test. You can do this by reviewing your product requirements, identifying pain points and trends in your user research, and keeping track of the bugs that have been reported. You can then prioritize the most important issues, which will help you to effectively focus your testing efforts.
Use the right tools
The testing tools you use will likely vary depending on the type of testing you’re doing. Manual testers, for example, may use a wide range of tools, such as paper and pencil, Excel, Word and more. In order to ensure that your testing efforts are as effective as possible, you need to select the right tools. A wide selection of testing tools is available on the market, so you have plenty of options. Depending on your testing needs, you may choose a wide range of testing tools, such as testing frameworks, data management, collaboration and reporting tools, screen-recording software, reporting tools and more.
Manual testing remains an essential part of any QA strategy. While test automation can help you to achieve more, it can’t replace the impact of manual testing. To get the most out of your manual testing efforts, you need to define clear goals for your testing, establish a test environment, utilize continuous integration, identify critical areas to test and use the right tools.
Manual testing is less efficient when compared to automated tests, and it’s also harder to scale. While automated tests are quick and reliable, manual testing is time-consuming and constantly becoming outdated. It can be challenging both to scale manual testing and to reduce the time spent on it. With all that in mind, it’s clear that automated tests are a better way to go. With that said, manual testing still has its place, and you can’t really replace it with automated testing. They both serve important and complementary purposes in the software testing process.
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