Ultimately how to chose between Automated Testing and Manual Testing
Choice between Automated Testing and Manual Testing can be based upon careful consideration of following factors
1) Based upon the frequency of use of Test Cases:
Automating a test case requires almost 3-4 times the effort as compared to manual execution of it once. To draw benefit out of significant investment in the automation tool, we should be able to execute the automation script the maximum number of times or at least 7-8 times. There is no worthwhile idea of going in for an automation tool for short-term product, which can be easily managed by manual means. For products involving many rounds of testing, the use of an automation tool is understandable.
2) Time comparison – Automated versus Manual Testing:
Generally an automation script runs much faster as compared to manual execution. However post execution activities are considerably time consuming.
After running the automation script fully; time consuming activities are the analysis of test results & investigation or identification of actions causing failure at defined checkpoints. Whereas in case of manual execution of the test script, there is no need of any separate time for analysis of the results, since the actions causing failure at checkpoints become already known.
Hence automated testing is viable only if, the combined time spent on running the automation script as well as doing post automation analysis of test results is significantly less in comparison to the time spent on manual execution. However nicely developed automation scripts do not need constant monitoring and can run without any manual intervention. In such a case automation can be greatly productive & can cut down the time of running the scripts.
However when large number of regression issues are there after fixing the bugs, automation is the best alternative. Manual testing can be extremely time consuming in such cases.
3) Reusability of Automation Scripts:
The automated testing is viable in case automation scripts are reusable in future as well. One may be compelled to think again in favor of automation if considerable effort is expected to be made in upgrading the automation scripts. The return on investment made on the automation tool can be maximized by reusability of the automation scripts with small modifications.
4) Stability of the Product under Test:
Automation scripts are not advisable for use on software product, which itself is not adequately stable. Frequent changes in automation script are not desirable, thus unless the product acquires enough stability during its development cycle, there is no point in automation unless we are operating in an agile environment.
5) Adaptability of test cases for automation:
A statement that, “All test cases can easily be automated” � is not true. Many a times we land up with some type of test cases, which are not worth automating. Hence there is no point in wasting automation effort over such test cases. For complicated product with tightly integrated bunch of many applications, running the automation script again & again in the event of stoppage of the test case, can become a pain in the neck. In such cases tester would certainly prefer to run the script manually & save considerable amount of time as compared to running the automated script.
6) Exploitation of automation tool:
If we want to go in for automated testing of a product, we must draw full benefit out of the test tool to draw the maximum return on its investment. The automation tool should be deployed for performing less complicated / time consuming & repetitive tasks. This will help the test engineers in concentrating their time & energy on other significantly important tasks. There is no point in automating highly complex test cases, which can easily be executed manually.
Automation tool should be deployed to test the breadth of the application under test. However manual test engineers can handle the in-depth testing more efficiently.
Manual testing can not be totally eliminated in any way. Automation scripts have both advantage and disadvantages in the sense that they perform actions exactly in the way they are coded to perform without any deviation. For even a slight deviation, the script needs to be changed. Running the same automated script again & again will not detect more bugs. However to detect more & more bugs, we need to move across the side & have little deviation from the flow, & such actions can be better accomplished by manual testing.
When a test case is perfectly designed & made to execute from end to end automatically through the tool without, it automatically verifies all predefined check points without any manual intervention.
7) User simulation over large web application:
For simulation of several virtual / dummy users interacting over a large web application, load testing automated tools like LoadRunner etc. can be easily deployed to establish the load bearing functionality of the application. Such load testing by manual means is extremely difficult.
Thus in spite of many disadvantages & harms from automated scripts, the automation testing is adapted widely all over the world.
An expert on R&D, Online Training and Publishing. He is M.Tech. (Honours) and is a part of the STG team since inception.