Every product should go through quality assurance or testing, before going to market, to make sure that the product is developed as per expectations. This involves various testing phases such as build testing, smoke/sanity testing, feature testing, regression testing and sometimes products need to go through performance testing as well. All these phases help make the product stable. All bugs related to coding, logic, environment, and configuration need to be eliminated so that product can be launched with strong sales and tech support.
The quality assurance phase of the product life cycle is as important as the development phase. The QA phase verifies and validates each feature and CLI and GUI operations. The QA phase ensures stakeholders of high product quality. This helps stakeholders understand how products will sell, their selling point, ROI, etc.
The number of bugs that are discovered is directly proportional to the amount of testing performed. In order to achieve high product quality, more testing is required which in turn requires more time. In a typical product release cycle, the amount of time allotted for testing is typically quite short, since the product needs to be shipped as early as possible to gain advantage over competitors. Testing the entire product end-to-end in detail along with regression testing is a very time consuming process and cannot be performed manually.
Testing all features manually within a limited time span is very difficult. If you want greater test coverage within a short time span, then you need a large number of manual testers. With this approach, as the number of testers increase, so does your budget. Which means that you need to spend more money to get the job done. Thus, the overall budget increases for developing and testing that product.
If you want to test everything in the product, from sanity to regression including performance, then automation is required. Automation helps test maximum product area with minimum effort and time. It is accurate, no human error is involved, works perfectly and leads to maximum bug discovery. Nowadays, automation is an important phase of product release, and most product development companies are lowering the number of manual testers and moving towards an increased automation policy to deliver products with high quality on time.
So one questions arises, as automation is more helpful than manual testers – Will QA/Testing get completely replaced by automation?
I would say automation will not completely replace manual QA, but yes to a certain extent automation is always better than QA effort. Also, there are some situations when manual testing is preferred over automation –
- When product is at an early stage and is not stable or there are frequent design changes, then testers are needed to test it manually and carry out manual observation.
- When the product is not stable, or has a blocking issue, in that case automation can’t help in testing the product seamlessly.
- When automation framework and all its components and scripts are not stable.
- When extra budget is not available for automation and skilled testers need to automate
As soon as we pass through the situation above, then testing the entire product within a short time span becomes easy with automation. Initially, a certain amount of effort is required to put automation in place. Once automation is in place, it helps test the product rapidly with agility. As we have discussed, when automation is not suitable there are many situations in which automation is the only solution. The points below indicate that automation is always an advantage in the product release cycle:
- Regression testing: Performing repetitive tasks is not efficient, many times during testing we need to test same thing over and over again. This is time consuming and instead of spending time to test any new things we end up performing the same repetitive job. Automation is helpful in this situation to carry out regression testing and verify changed and unchanged areas in the code.
- Performance/Load/Stress testing: It is very difficult to test such scenario manually. With manual, we won’t get that accuracy so we require automation to test the product against performance, load, and stress scenarios.
- CLI Testing: Testing each option of CLI is very tedious and time consuming. Automation is needed to test all such product features.
- GUI Testing: Manually testing GUI has a lot of limitations. Testing all GUI operations with all supported browsers on all OS platforms is not practical. So, automation is an absolute must for such testing.
- 24×7 product testing: Sometimes, we need to test the product continuously for 24 to 48 hours to check its functionality and how it is running. For this we require automation. We will monitor it automatically through scripts.
- Automation is reusable, you don’t need to write scripts each time, you can use it multiple times to generate the same scenario and test/verify the same scenario without any missing steps.
- When the product is tested with an automation script, then you can say that the testing is more consistent and reliable as the product is tested with standardized steps.
- Main advantage of automation is that we can test multiple feature or product areas simultaneously. It helps testers to complete testing within schedule.
- Automation is useful in scalability testing. Automation helps test the product against large data volumes.
- Automation helps testers test future product requirements. Using the same automation scripts, testers can test the product against new security patches, protocol changes, or any change in platform configuration. It saves manual effort while performing testing.
Finally, we can conclude that organizations need testers who are also skilled at automation. The QA domain is moving towards automation and the industry needs automation which is tester friendly.