More and more in web application testing processes, companies deploy a mix of automated and manual testing frameworks. If implemented correctly, manual and automated application testing practices bring out the best in each other, resulting in a synergetic testing process that wholly benefits the application.
For a better understanding of what automation testing is and the main differences from manual testing, start with what each test is good for. To get the whole picture, you need to clarify which challenges can be solved by automated testing and which need the two of them. For instance, using automation testing in some processes will make it fast and easier than manual testing, which requires human involvement to perform step by step processes.
Why Choose Automated Testing & Manual Testing?
While automated testing enhances consistency, productivity and testing speeds, you’ll need to write detailed and fool-proof scripts to ensure these tests carry out the processes you need. Manual testing goes alongside the automated testing process to find issues from a user perspective or discover bugs that occur during unscripted scenarios.
Testers can blend both practices to cover various aspects of the same application feature. In addition, some tests are “semi-automatic” and require manual intervention to move on to the next automated test.
Many teams will run a mix of manual and automated testing. However, some organizations manage their manual and automated testing processes separately. When a team isolates its testing processes, it becomes difficult to create a complete overview of the application for stakeholders.
The Challenges of Managing Manual & Automated Testing Together
There are several challenges of managing automated and manual testing processes simultaneously. These include:
Automated Testing & Manual Testing are Two Different Entities
While automated tests are more specific and in-depth, manual tests can be more meticulous and extensive, despite being less defined. Both testing processes also have many off-shoots and testing subcategories including scripted vs. regressions vs. new functions (with manual testing), or UIV vs APO vs performance (automated).
Tests & Runs Are on a Different Scale
Automated testing requires many more tests and unit tests compared to manual testing. You can also expect automated to run on a more continuous basis.
Different Results Timelines
Predictably, automated testing can garner results and complete full cycles in a matter of hours, often minutes. Manual testing on the other hand, can sometimes take days to complete.
Different Results Analysis
Manual run issues usually mean testing has unearthed bugs with failed tests often correlating with the number of bugs in the system. However, automated tests have more false negatives. In addition, automated tests are more likely to fail due to the script rather than any bugs in the application.
Tips for Combining Manual & Automated Tests
As you can see, there are benefits of using automated and manual testing in tandem to test a web application. Some of the best practices include:
Coordinate & Manage Your Testing Strategy
It is always good to coordinate your testing strategy so every team member is assigned responsibility. This should be conducted by one person or a small team. In addition, your team should share the same goals, meeting benchmarks and objectives per those goals.
Also, you may want to implement different test management tools, including shared dashboards and reports, so every member of the team is working from the same page at all times.
Find a Balance Between Centralization & Distribution
Testers often use various tools and platforms to meet their testing requirements. Luckily, many systems (automation frameworks, bug trackers, etc.) integrate with each other. The same tools used for conducting tests, however, may not be the best tools for managing the whole process. Try to centralize test results and management whenever possible.
Remember Not All Tests Are Comparable
Often, you cannot create a dashboard or metric that showcases everything you need to know about the testing process. However, many tests will have comparable parameters over various test types. Consider aggregating those tests into a report, it’ll make things easier for the stakeholders and testers to understand the application.
Show Consistency with Names & Conventions
Communication is key whether you are using automated or manual testing. As such, make sure to use the same names and conventions throughout all your tests. If you need to create explanations or legends, testers will understand the language straight away.
Use Logic & Common Sense to Group Your Tests
There are numerous ways you can group tests, graphs and reports depending on what makes logical sense. For instance, you can group tests and runs based on which team or tester needs to execute the testing protocol. Alternatively, you can collect metrics and graphs based on the related area of the application or project.
Team Members Do Not Need to Know Every Result
When you are creating tests, dashboards, metrics and reports, consider which members of your team need to see the information. Not every stakeholder or tester needs to see certain information, so present individuals with information based on what each should or needs to know.
Combining automated and manual testing is beneficial for any enterprise. While automated testing is much quicker, you cannot have a wholly automated system as you’ll miss bugs that can only be found through manual testing. If you implement both strategies, along with the best practices listed above, your enterprise will be more efficient, productive and in a strong position to scale.