Software testing is one of the most crucial stages in any development life cycle that is done to ensure the software performs in accordance with the existing requirements. Regardless of how well or poorly made the application is, there will be defects to find and fix before customers experience operational failures. Testing can be done either by a human manually entering data (manual) or by using tools and software to imitate user behaviors (automated).
Today we will focus on a manual method and the ways to improve it while implementing in the development process. The first item on our agenda is the definition of the manual software testing process itself.
What Is Manual Testing Process?
Manual testing is the process of manually performing some sort of quality analysis by a quality analyst (usually a tester) to identify any defects or issues before the software is released to the end user. As the name suggests, it is entirely done manually without the use of scripts or automation tools. Manual testing is an essential part of the software development process and one of the most widely used methods to find and remove bugs, ensure the quality of software, and confirm correspondence with the requirements. When is it necessary to use manual testing?
Manual testing is crucial in scenarios when the project has a limited budget or requires a certain level of expertise (that cannot be replaced by automated means). It is the first and most important form of testing to undertake when starting an application or any other software.
Main Reasons to Improve Your Manual Testing Processes
Since the process of manual testing has always been at the heart of testing, the procedure should be constantly monitored and, if possible, enhanced. This is relevant for a couple of reasons.
Manual testing increases agility while reducing lead times. When testing manually, testers quickly adapt to any changes in requirements or customer needs. The defects are caught early in the process, so the time required to fix them later in the process is reduced. The test coverage within a test cycle increases.
Manual testing is useful for UI validations when a tester directly interacts with the UI, verifying the elements without the risk of them being misinterpreted. Manually clicking on each element verifies that its placement, appearance, and functionality are visually appealing, easy to use, and behave as desired. If something is wrong, the tester catches the discrepancy right away.
Some testing scenarios are either designed to be done exclusively manually or are not worth automating. In other words, it is either not practical in terms of cost and time or possible to accomplish other than manually. Even when it might not appear to be so, manual testing is always on point.
Manual testing, particularly exploratory testing, enhances bug detection and adaptability throughout the process. Relying on a tester’s expertise and background in the industry, for example, makes it easier to spot potential flaws and tricky issues that might not be caught as quickly if utilizing scripted approaches. QA specialists immediately adapt to newly occurring changes, adjusting test strategies as the process goes on.
Empathy in Testing
Manual testing allows testers to empathize with the end user by mimicking their experience while interacting with the application. This human perspective is essential for identifying usability issues and understanding how users may feel while using the product. Testers can provide valuable feedback on the overall user experience, which may not be possible with automated testing alone.
Manual testing enables testers to simulate real-world scenarios, including the unpredictable ways users may interact with the application. This helps identify potential bugs or issues that automated testing might miss, as automated tests are typically designed to follow specific, pre-defined paths. Testers can explore different scenarios, taking into account varying user behaviors and environmental conditions, to ensure the application functions optimally across different situations.
Testers bring their intuition and experience to the manual testing process. This expertise helps them to recognize patterns, identify potential issues, and apply their judgment to determine the best course of action. Manual testing allows testers to apply their critical thinking skills to find defects that might not be captured by automated test cases or scripts, improving the overall quality of the application.
While automated testing has its benefits, it can be expensive and time-consuming to implement and maintain. Manual testing is often more cost-effective for small-scale projects or when dealing with rapidly changing requirements. Additionally, manual testing can be used to supplement automated testing, providing more comprehensive coverage and helping organizations to optimize their testing efforts without incurring excessive costs.
With manual testing process improvement, a company can obtain instant results with customer satisfaction and quality, deploying the product to the market more quickly and less expensively.
The Advantages of Improving Manual Testing
Enhancing the testing process can benefit organizations by improving the overall quality of their software. It has a direct impact on the internal process throughout the development cycle while providing a competitive advantage in the market.
- By improving manual testing, you boost customer satisfaction. The product can be extensively tested, with extra attention paid to how it looks and feels, which influences a brand’s reputation in the marketplace.
- The majority of UX/ UI- related issues are discovered through manual testing. The higher the level of testing, the more layout/ text issues will be resolved.
- The cost of a checkup will not be drastically increased even if you continuously improve the process, since no extra tools or scripts are required to execute test cases.
- The more advanced the process, the easier it is to incorporate unplanned modifications into the software as they arise. Manual method is adaptive to various changes.
- Enhanced manual verification allows for a more in-depth analysis of the final product’s usability. It provides humans insight into the testing process. Real people test the product and provide feedback based on their knowledge, technical skills, intuition, and direct observation.
How do you get from where you are to where you would like to be with a manual testing process? What kind of changes have to be made?
Steps to Improve a Manual Testing Process
To optimize the effectiveness of manual testing, it is essential to continuously improve and enhance the procedures involved. In this guide, we will explore various steps to improve your manual testing processes, enabling you to increase efficiency, effectiveness, and ultimately deliver a high-quality product to your users. To optimize manual testing flow, consider the following steps to take.
- A Good Test Plan. Develop a comprehensive test plan with clearly outlined objectives and strategies. A well-written plan consists of the expected deliverables, scripts and reports, resources, metrics, test environment description, and the estimated period for each testing activity.
- Clear Requirement. Clear requirements make the process more efficient. Requirement reexamination and explanation reduce rework that happens when functionalities and features are not understood correctly the first time.
- Write Test Scenarios. Test scenarios are created once the requirements have been explained and queries have been handled to guarantee that the objectives and outcomes are appropriately identified by a team. They provide a visual representation of the entire test coverage situation throughout the process.
- Reviewing The Test Cases. Analysts and testers should regularly review the test cases and the overall test plan to ensure that all testing scenarios are covered and there are no inconsistencies or redundancies. This cuts down on the time and effort required to run unnecessary tests.
- The Validity Of Tests is essential for increasing the state and quality of manual testing. It is up to a tester to go through the application from the end user’s perspective, following the procedure step-by-step through various test cases. Any subjective or personal biases are completely avoided by using valid test cases. As a result, the software desired behavior is measured as precisely as possible.
- Defect Management. During the test execution phase, a number of defects will be identified and collected. The task of a tester is to organize and present them to developers in a way that makes them easily understandable and reproducible for everyone. Defect reporting should include all the necessary information for a developer to investigate a bug and implement a fix: severity, priority, description, environment, test data, steps to reproduce, screenshots of failures, date reported, status, etc.
- Pertinent Manual Testing Usage. To maximize the efficiency of manual testing and amplify its influence, fully comprehend both the strengths and limitations it has to offer. Apply it in the right way and at the right time where it is required most: early defect detection, newly added or changing features, complex functionality analysis, user experience and interface evaluation, testing while simultaneously learning about the behavior and functionality of a product, etc.
- Implementing the Expertise of a QA Partner. An external QA partner brings a wealth of expertise and experience to a team. When you invite experienced QAs, who are not part of your team to join the project, you introduce a new objective perspective on the application under the test. Hiring and maintaining an internal testing team is less cost-effective than cooperating with external experts. Of course, they should possess a certain level of proficiency with the tools and technologies involved to accumulate superior outcomes and improve return on investment. Outsourcing allows your company to focus on core competencies and business objectives rather than manage every detail of manual testing by yourself.
The improvement of manual testing ensures that it always remains relevant, effective, and efficient, tailored to the business goals and utilized technologies. When testing adequacy is high, your confidence in the goodness of the upcoming product can be high as well.