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The Important of Manual-Stage Testing

John Kensinger

In a recent post on entitled, “Get Testing Bottlenecks Out of Your Pipelines,” Lisa Crispin drives the point home regarding the importance of manual testing steps in the deployment pipeline.

“I think a lot of times people forget about these important manual stages… Though we can do more and more with test automation, thanks to improving technology, manual testing activities are here to stay in most business domains.”

We couldn’t agree more. Today, there is a hard push toward testing automation because manual testing, historically, hasn’t been known to be the most agile process. Testing automation can be a real timesaver since you can integrate it into your software development life cycle and initiate tests on a continuous basis.

But even with 95 percent test coverage:

  • There is still a possibility of shipping flawed code
  • Your team must create the test scripts and testing framework, slowing them down, creating bottlenecks, and driving up costs

If you’re ready to supplement your automation or dive into a different approach to QA, your team could benefit from performing exploratory manual testing. Skeptical of focusing more on manual testing in-house? Maybe because:

  • Performing manual testing in-house and providing feedback to developers takes time
  • You need the right personnel ready to test
  • It requires an array of devices to test on

As Lisa puts it...

“Manual exploratory testing is likely to take longer than the automated test suites. If user acceptance testing needs to be done by certain business stakeholders and they aren’t available at the right time, that holds up the release.”

So, how do you speed this up? According to Lisa, you can:

  • Have everyone on your team help with exploratory testing -- a division of labor and timeline allows for not only a better distribution of work, it also includes different perspectives (potentially from different functional areas) that result in more creative solutions
  • Use feature flags to hide changes from customers until testing is complete - this allows your team to push changes as they are confirmed, without having to wait for a complete product before sharing your updates with customers

At test IO, we have another solution to these issues: a fusion of the automated and the manual, through access to our agile testing platform and thousands of qualified testers who can perform the tests you need on-demand. This type of speed and efficiency eliminates those bottlenecks associated with manual testing while providing your QA team and developers with detailed bug reports, usability feedback, and bolstered confidence in your testing processes.

We take the principles of manual testing and mesh them with the practices of automation:

  • We employ thousands of crowdtesters accessible at any time
  • Your team won’t have to do the tedious work of writing code for testing; instead, they can write out testing specification in plain English
  • They can perform various types of tests, from regression to usability
  • Your developers can see test results in real-time within hours of initiating a test (if you’re using Jira, you can use our plugin to easily incorporate test IO)

Across the board, the goal is clear. As Lisa suggests...

“Automate all the things where it’s feasible. Use the time you save to optimize the way you accomplish manual testing activities and possibly automate more of them.”



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