Manual testing offers you a glimpse into your product’s future, the end-user experience. Automation testing may get things done in a hurry, but only expert human perspective can see how your tests inform and improve your product’s performance in the market.
The process can be labor and resource intensive, but that only means you need to learn how to improve your manual testing process in order to maximize the benefits. Toward that end, we have put together a few pieces of advice that will help you strike the right balance of quantitative and qualitative testing.
- Harness the expertise of a QA partner
- Use manual testing where it is most needed
- Adopt an Agile approach
- Target your manual testing resources
- Compartmentalize your product
Before we get to the advice, it is worth reflecting on why manual testing is valuable in the first place.
The Advantages of Manual Testing
Manual testing is too often considered a holdover from a more primitive QA testing time. The reality is that manual testing still offers some important advantages over automation. It is the best option for user interface, usability, installation, error handling and elements of security testing.
Yes, the process can be time-consuming and demand machine-like patience, but there are unique advantages to applying rigorous, critical human thinking to your product testing.
Here are a few examples where manual testing is preferable over automation:
Increase test coverage
You will never get 100% test coverage from automation testing alone—at least, not without performing an expensive and complex juggling act between testing tools. Manual testing reaches the test scenarios that cannot be automated and better handles visual elements and the user experience.
Test in real time
Test scenarios such as tracking the location of an object need to be executed in a real-time environment. Only manual testing can achieve that feat.
Testing new features
Automation works best when it is deployed upon existing features. When change occurs, it is best to use manual testing to verify the application from the user’s perspective.
Test with creativity
There isn’t a machine yet produced that can match the creativity and lateral thinking of a human engineer. Patience is something computers have in spades, but the ability to see through the defects to a complex business-scenario solution is a human talent.
Test from the end user’s perspective
As long as your customers are humans, then human engineers are going to have valuable insights into how best to please them. Find a computer that can empathize with the frustration of a poorly designed interface, and we will show you an engineer hiding in a silver box.
Manual testing definitely still holds a valuable place within your testing regime. The challenge is to work out how to improve the manual testing process to maximize results. The tips below will demonstrate how.
Tip #1 – Harness the Expertise of a QA Partner
The main reason for engaging an external QA partner is the quality part of QA. When you bring in an experienced, talented partner, you add a decision-maker to your team. They should have the domain expertise, tool and technology experience, and business acumen to help you decide where, when and how to apply manual testing to improve your product and your ROI.
Your QA team should produce a timely surge in capacity and expertise to help you meet the release cycle pressures. And you will be able to realize substantial resource savings by outsourcing to QA professionals with facilities in offshore and nearshore locations.
Tip #2 – Use manual testing where it is most needed
It is fast becoming the golden rule of QA testing: the best possible results are achieved when automation is supplemented with a manual testing component. Maximize your manual testing input by reserving it for areas where it can have the greatest impact—namely, tests involving:
- Subjective validation
- New or changing functionality
- Strategically developed features
- Complex functionality where in-depth product knowledge is needed
Your QA experts can build in a manual testing component when designing your test automation framework and overall test schedule.
Tip #3 – Adopt an Agile approach
Manual testing thrives in an Agile environment where continuous product iterations are tested and shaped by the input of cross-functional teams. Involving technical, development, QA and business teams in testing helps give a fuller appreciation of the end-user experience.
Tip #4 – Target your manual testing resources
Asking your QA team to repeatedly perform manual testing is a waste of their time and talent. To streamline the process, be sure to remove any duplicate test cases or those that cover the same scenarios. It is also important to clearly define your reporting and tracking processes so that information is secure, accessible and actionable. Manual testing requires patience and focus; do not increase demands through sloppy procedures.
Tip #5 – Compartmentalize your product
Prioritize your manual testing efforts to cover the aspects of new or changed functionality that closely align with your core product requirements. Not every component needs to receive manual testing scrutiny. Your QA partner can guide you through the range of automated testing tools that can perform aspects of testing often reserved for manual attention, such as usability or complex scenarios.
Manual testing is a necessary component of any comprehensive testing regime. By following the advice above you can maximize the return on this insightful yet resource-heavy approach.
Ask How to Improve Manual Testing Processes
The best advice we can give on improving your manual testing process is to seek further advice. Every product is different, every developer is unique, and every industry has its own regulations and standards. Engaging with a QA expert will allow you to best apply the advantages of manual testing for your product.
When it is done correctly, manual testing will let you see through your development and testing phases and on to the ultimate destination, your end user in the marketplace.
QASource’s engineers have a rich history of balancing automation and manual testing toward maximizing the user experience. Our team has been responsible for $11 billion in successful customer exits, and they know how to apply manual testing to create better products. Get a free quote or call +1.925.271.5555 today, and start improving your QA testing process.