August 2, 2023

How Are You Testing?

by Tamara Pomerantz

What are Manual and Automated Testing?   

Testing is the process that is carried out throughout software, technology, and operational workflow development and deployment.  It is used to verify requirements, confirm functions, and validate workflows.  Two options for testing are manual and automation.

Manual testing can be defined as the process where human users conduct the testing process with or without pre-defined test scripts.

Automated testing is a process of running a set of specific, predefined test sets without having humans execute them manually.  Automated testing often requires knowledge of coding languages to support development, functionality, and execution by the tool.

Generally, manual testing is used for complex test cases, while automated testing handles simpler, more repetitive tests.  Repetitive, high-frequency simple test steps can often be  automated and may be ideal for automated testing.  However, test steps should not be  automated if they are complex, require flexibility in action or decision, are subject to change, occur infrequently, support high risk workflows, or may require feedback.

Testing automation cannot replace manual testing.  Both manual and automated testing have advantages and disadvantages, and they both can serve various purposes and be applied to different types of testing.  To choose the best option, you need to evaluate your testing needs. 

“Automation applied to an inefficient operation will magnify the inefficiency”       - Bill Gates

Manual testing may be a better option when:

  • You have complex processes or require flexibility and feedback in testing results and workflows.
  • You need to test usability or verify completeness of scenarios and workflows.
  • You need to test a small change or short project, and the cost of programing automated testing is higher or takes longer than manually testing.
  • You have operational process management and communication challenges.
  • You don’t have the expertise to build, maintain, and run complex automated test scripts.
Review the table below to help determine when to apply manual versus automated testing

5 Testing Myths

1.  Automated testing is more efficient than manual testing.  

This is only true if testing is limited to highly repetitive predictable tasks that have to be performed in large numbers with simple outcome possibilities not requiring validation or feedback on usability or compatibility.

2.  Automated testing is cheaper than manual testing.  

The resource and time cost for humans to actually execute test scripts may be less with test automation, but it does not eliminate human engagement.  Hidden costs of automation include the coding and re-coding of the testing system as well as the development and upkeep of test scripts each time there is a change or something new to be tested, tool system maintenance, human intervention, and manual re-testing when there are testing failures.

3.  Automated testing is more reliable than manual testing.

Automating the execution of test scripts may reduce human error if the coding of the test system and the testing scripts are consistently maintained or the processes or functionality being tested do not change. However, the quality and reliability of automated testing can significantly diminish if the workflow processes being tested require decisions, insight or intuition, or may require identification and interpretation of unexpected outcomes or impacts outside a predictable scenario.

4.  Automated testing does not require application or process knowledge.

Proper knowledge of the application and workflow process is required to develop and  maintain the test scripts used in automation.  Additionally, knowledge is still required to evaluate and resolve issues identified in the testing process.

5. Automated testing is better for routine testing.

This is only true if routine testing requires constantly testing the same repetitive and unchanging tasks that do not require validation of usability and compatibility.

How MAKE Solutions can help

Both manual and automated testing are beneficial. Understanding how the different testing processes should be applied is the key to selecting the right tool for the job.

MAKE’s TransIT tool and services can help you optimize workflow development and manual testing to gain significant efficiencies and enhance your testing strategy by:

  • Improving test documentation and script development
  • Advancing test coordination, management, tracking, and communication
  • Reducing time spent across the testing process
  • Decreasing time spent maintaining test scripts· Increasing testing accuracy
  • Expanding user adoption

Check out our TransIT tool and contact us for a demonstration.

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Tamara Pomerantz

About the author

Tamara Pomerantz has spent her career as a trusted advisor to healthcare organizations across the country. Over her 25 years in the industry, Tamara has proven herself to be an experienced leader, mixing innovative solutions with industry best-practices to create change and deliver results. She specializes in Operational Excellence to develop strategic and operational goals, installing process and data-driven performance metrics, motivating operational change, and providing consulting services.

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