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QASource Blog What Are the Limitations of Automation Testing?

What Are the Limitations of Automation Testing?

What Are the Limitations of Automation Testing?

We all have our limitations. Every business model we use has them, as does every system we engage to guide us through software development and quality assurance. The key is to understand these limitations and to overcome them.

Automation testing is by far the quickest and most cost-effective method of QA testing, but it cannot do everything, and there are times when it is not suitable. Some limitations of automation testing are built into the system and must be balanced against manual testing. Some are the result of inexact pre-programming, such as a failure to develop effective automation test hooks. Still, others can be attributed to complex dynamic application designs.

None of these limitations, however, need be fatal to your project. With the right approach to test automation, you can still save time and money, ultimately increasing your ROI within the release cycle.

The Limitations of Automation Testing

Here are a few of the most common limitations, or disadvantages, we encounter. Which are familiar to you?

Automated Tests Only Check What They have Been Programmed To Check

Automated testing of the core, code-level functionality should give you a keen understanding of your application’s overall build strength. Fail to build a comprehensive test case, however, and the automation testing process can provide a false sense of security by not picking up failures it was not programmed to detect. It is the old computer truism of “garbage in = garbage out”, and it can undermine your entire QA process.

Early-Stage Time

Again, this is the kind of limitation you encounter as soon as the automation test process begins. There is no substitute for quality test case development, but that process takes time, the time you can jealously guard within the release cycle. There is also a time cost involved in upgrading your test schedule and parameters as the QA process progresses. It is worth it, but it does consume time.

It Is Expensive

The additional layer of complexity introduced when you adopt the best approach to automation testing bring with it an increased labor cost. You can reduce that cost through offshore outsourcing.

Loss of the Human Element

Removing the human element from testing can siphon off creativity and native experience of engineers. A test script can only report on errors, but the human mind can see between the lines of a bug and proactively seek a solution. Some aspects of QA testing just are not compatible with automation, including subjective validation, adaptation to new functionality, testing while strategic functionality is still being developed, and the user-focused areas of GUI testing.

Just because you have come up against the limitations of automated testing does not mean it is not right for your project. You just need to search for solutions without throwing the entire QA process into the bin.

Finding Balance in the QA Process

The best approach to the QA process is to seek balance. One way to do that is to balance manual and automated testing. There are clear phases of the QA process where the speed and broad coverage of automation are needed, while other phases (e.g. usability) require the human touch.

We understand the limitations of automation testing because we are immersed in it every day. Our more than 400 QA engineers have a collected experience of more than 1,000 years in the industry, and they have generated more than a million automated test cases.

Every aspect of the development process has its limitations, but that does not mean they do not each hold value. It is good to know your limitations, just do not be defined by them. At QASource, we know that the only limitation to your automation testing is your team’s experience. Put ours to work for you. Contact us today for a free quote: Email or call +1.925.271.5555 to get started.


This publication is for informational purposes only and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.