Manual Testing vs. Test Automation

Recent years have shown an exponential demand for test automation, which becomes more visible every day when you look at QA teams, as the majority now requires test automation with the likes of languages like Java, Python, etc. 
Test teams who usually leave the coding to developers, might find this prospect intimidating. Even organizations find this confusing, how much test automation do they need, does all manual testing need to be replaced? In software testing and QA this topic has become a hot debate.


Should you choose Test automation or Manual Testing? Maybe both? 

Well, some companies have used 100% manual testing with great success rates, while others went for a full automation approach. In both cases the first step is to rethink the strategy. Reality shows that manual and Automation Testing are not mutually exclusive.  

We believe, ideally, there should be a combination of both Manual and Automation testing. The balance will be determined by the product/service and the process/methodology used. 

For example, when you’re constantly adding new features you’ll need capable and thorough manual testers. Of course, hopefully ( ideally ) an automated regression test set has been set up, making sure the newly introduced features do not break old features.  


What is better; Manual Testing or Test Automation? Let’s take a closer look.   

Test Automation 

  • After an initial higher investment in time and budget, it will reduce the number of resources needed.  
  • Multiple types of comparable test case scenarios can be executed simultaneously with a singular script, so this will save time. 
  • For a larger project, the budget should be sufficient enough to install a test automation framework with suitable tooling.   
  • Testing tools speed up the process by repeated execution of test cases.  
  • Test Automation executes the scripts that perform repeated testing of the application over and over again. If the scripts are written properly, there is no chance of missing a bug and the tests are executed over and over again by the machine.   

  Manual testing 

  • The initial set-up cost and time are lower, although after a while the cost of resources will increase.  
  • Manual Testers tend to miss out on small yet critical defect while performing repeated manual tests. 
  • Every time a bug is fixed, the entire application needs to be tested to ensure that no other breakage is occurring.   
  • Exploratory testing is irreplaceable because the instinct of a good Manual Tester isn’t transferable to a machine. 
  • Some scenarios are not technically feasible to automate or the cost would be too high. 


To automate or not to automate; our conclusion 

We know that at this point, that Test Automation can’t work without any Manual Testing. Whether to start with Test Automation or not, depends on several indicators; budget, resources, time, methodology, product type,… 

We believe that Test Automation can make a huge difference when you start with taking a closer look at the organization and the product. The next step is to define a strategy that focuses what can be achieved with Test Automation within a certain budget and timeframe. Actually looking for the quick and big wins that can be gained.  

Initially, the start of Test Automation will require an investment of time, resources and budget. In the long run, it will save money, increase product release velocity and it will grant your team to converge to Manual Exploratory Testing which will boost the quality of the product.   

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Curious what test automation could mean for the quality of your software? Contact us for a chat and we will share our experience. 

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