Automation vs Manual Testing…Really?

I have never bothered to write about this or talk about it because I sincerely feel there are enough papers explaining the benefits and drawbacks of each (Just look at the Test Automation?? widget on the blog). But for some reason this discussion keeps coming back in different forms L

First it was the winrunners vs manual, and then came the QTP wave now it’s the web drivers, jasmine, cucumber/spec flows, etc etc.  vs manual? Really?

It’s amazing how much test automation has moved on from bulky huge licensing structure into light weight, open source collaborative setup. The new set of tools are fantastic and business facing which we as testers always craved for. On the other end manual testing has moved on from writing/running bunch of lines of steps in QC, to planning, testing, learning and interpreting tests in exploratory sessions.

Both at least to me have its merits, traps and limitations and I feel identifying and learning how to overcome them is what will help us get better and deliver value from testing than arguments around “Life is too shortfor manual testing. Would you agree?” or Should Testers Learn How to Write Code? 



Anonymous said...

I think the question creates a false dichotomy. It's not a question of whether one technique is always better than the other - it's a question of whether one technique is better suited to a particular organization's needs than the other technique - or whether it might make sense to have some manual testing AND some automated testing.

I think anyone who has worked in software development for any length of time learns that there is no One True Way to approach all companies and all projects - different companies and different projects have different needs.

I worked in development for years before switching to testing/quality, and it would seem to me that the same is true about testing.

Instead of saying one is better or worse, how about saying, Which one is a better approach for a particular organization? A particular project?

That just seems so obvious to me.

Sharath Byregowda said...

Dear Anonymous,

I am not saying either one is better or worse anywhere in my post! Have you really read my post? or left a comment after reading the title? (Sounds like I started developing at the back of the discussion ;)

In fact I am standing against discussions/posts on testing forums which suggest one is better than the other. What I do like to see been discussed is the limitations/trap of manual or automation approaches.

I wouldn't even support this - "Which one is a better approach for a particular organization? A particular project?" Organisation or even a project is still high level and I am not sure there could be one approach that fits it. To me we need to pick an approach based on the context.

Anonymous said...

Good to see the explanation on why automation is not the panacea for all ills. Coverage of latest automation tools was also good. Recently I read a book "Software Testing & quality assurance: from traditional to cloud computing" and it also had good discussion about automation versus manual testing.

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andrea james said...

Good explanation on Manual Testing. Keep posting :)

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