- Manual testing is a crucial stage in any software development process. The software is most likely to have many bugs and errors. Such errors are usually introduced by non-programmers. For example, developers forget to include a feature or integrate a bug fix into the code base. In manual testing, it is essential that only experienced and professional testers conduct the tests. They know where to look for bugs and how to explain them in an objective way.
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Manual testing is a crucial stage in any software development process. The software is most likely to have many bugs and errors. Such errors are usually introduced by non-programmers. For example, developers forget to include a feature or integrate a bug fix into the codebase. In manual testing, it is essential that only experienced and professional testers conduct the tests. They know where to look for bugs and how to explain them in an objective way.
Testing software manually is a very useful technique. It enables you to thoroughly check for bugs and other errors with the software. It also gives you the opportunity to create and collect new requirements.
The projects’ programmers need not participate in manual testing throughout the project life cycle since programmers can be involved only when there are major changes required in the code or as they are required to prepare for manual testing (e.g., fixing minor bugs and creating test cases).
The requirements of the project should be available before starting the testing process. However, it is not always possible to have all requirements as they evolve. It is also possible that some lack or misinterpretation of the requirements occurs during testing, which can jeopardize the performance of the product.
When there are bugs, creating test cases can help programmers to fix them before coding new functionality. That way the bugs do not affect the entire product.
A manual testing team consists of two types of testers: those who perform manual testing, and those who generate test cases from the tests performed. Manual testers can be paid to test software or they can be volunteers.
In addition to performing regular manual testing, some organizations allow their programmers to become very familiar with the process and create their own test cases for various release builds for particular functions so that it is possible to detect any problems as early as possible (prerelease cycle).
Some companies have employees that are assigned solely to this task. In such organizations, it often happens that a programmer is assigned to manual testing for more than one software.
Any testing situation should begin with the goal to identify a large number of defects and proceed toward identifying the ways in which all those defects should be fixed. Achieving this course will require thoroughly identifying each defect to be fixed. Once the defect is defined, its context must also be defined. That means that each set of preconditions that can lead to a defect must be outlined as well.
The final task would be to test out each condition listed. So it becomes necessary for programmers to write down all aspects of their work beforehand so they will not forget anything.
Shortcomings of manual testing
- Lack of information – which is often used to introduce bugs in software. Programmers must be very thorough in defining the context of every defect. If they don’t think a particular test case will show a defect that does not exist, then they should not write it in the first place or try to include it as an error during implementation later on. However, this can be very difficult if the programmer must come up with all sets and combinations of conditions that might affect each function or feature of the software.
- Lack of test data – Testers must understand and prepare all test data that are required to execute test cases accurately. Testers should also know what are the limitations and strengths of automated testing tools and how these tools work with particular programming languages (if used).
When the life cycle of a software project reaches to the end-to-end testing phase, it is required that automatic testing tools are used. If manual testing is being carried out, no automation is needed since a tester can manually test every aspect of the software project. If there are significant complexities in the software project or it takes a long time to execute test cases then manual testers can be given support by automation tools.
Testers should also be able to understand the coding standards of the application so they can detect bugs. If it is a well-written application, no manual testing is required. However, in projects where there are significant complexities or multiple programming languages used then that will be a more advanced manual testing phase since testers must become familiar with those programming languages used in the project.
Once a project reaches its end-to-end testing stage, it must have all Defects and Defect Severities identified as well as how to fix them. In some cases, defects are old ones that were not identified earlier because of a lack of knowledge. So in those projects, the tester must get full details about each defect that was not fixed earlier. That means that the tester should know the workaround as well as possible solutions for each defect. The tester has the information needed to create test cases for each defect so it becomes possible to find out the root cause and a solution.
Testers who have more experience in manual testing often create their own test cases.
Types of manual testing
Active vs passive testers
Both types require the tester to manually carry out tests, but only one type requires manual testers to take an active role in testing, while in the other case, they simply wait passively. Active testers can perform manual testing themselves, perform automated testing, or both. Passive testers can wait for automated testing to be done or perform manual testing only.
Manual testing is a form of software testing and is also a type of software QA or quality assurance. As such, manual testing usually overlaps with other types of QA (such as security and requirements) at the project level, but manual testers usually focus on only one aspect of the software or one particular feature. Testers who are doing manual testing have to know how to deal with all aspects of the software from writing test cases, defining the context and preconditions in detail, executing those test cases, identifying defects in an effective manner, etc. Testers should be familiar with both automated and manual ways of finding defects.
Read more about things to consider when choosing a software tool.