As the world shifts to an era of digital enhancements with ML and AI, automation has been the buzzword for a while now. But this brings forth an important aspect of whether automation is an absolute necessity today or is functional testing still standing strong. The latter seems to be true and relevant. With a need to retain core functional requirements, the ability of automated functional testing to completely replace manual testing is not possible. However, this aspect is not given due consideration today as there is a shift towards test automation. Functional testing has already paved an important path within other attributes of performance testing, accessibility testing, usability testing, security testing, etc., that makes it an epicenter of any testing approaches in itself. Thus, it is important to look at how well functional testing can have an integrated approach, wherein manual testing approaches for core functional requirements are held onto as equally as automated functional testing.
Why is Functional Testing Important?
With the basic goal of ensuring that a software product runs the way it should, functional testing cements the foundation for delivering a seamless application to end users. The key of functional testing is to meet the business requirements by aligning the test results with the same. In other words, ensuring that the inputs are in consonance with the outputs and the desired goal is achieved by a perfect match, is what functional testing is all about.
This can thus be achieved in two ways: via manual testing or automation testing. To just opt for one, which with the growing age tends to incline towards automation, seems to be an inconvenient way of going forward. Thus, to have an amalgamated lens of putting the two together and following an integrated approach towards a comprehensive functional test strategy, provides a viable option. To understand the nuances within this, let’s see how the two play their different roles and a complete replacement of manual within functional testing isn’t possible. Yet, why does the dilemma still exist?
To be, or Not to be
The famous question penned down by Shakespeare thus, comes to mind when trying to weigh manual testing against automation testing for a comprehensive test strategy. Hence, to understand what to choose, let’s first understand the roles of both:
- While manual-functional testing comprises testing new requirements/stories, automated functional testing leans towards automating stable test cases and features. This is done to ensure that the new features get hammered down by the Manual-Functional Testing Engineers with all scenarios and edge cases. The Test-Automation Engineers on the other hand are kept busy with automation of stable features and maintenance of existing scripts.
- An exploratory test strategy is adopted by Manual-Functional Test Engineers to identify different scenarios, edge cases and bugs during the process whilst the focus of Test-Automation Engineers is on making the scripts compatible scripts on various platforms, be it web or mobile browsers, etc.
- With manual-functional testing, verifying smaller or single tests becomes easier, while with automated functional testing, either specific modules or the whole product can be tested comprehensively along with parallel execution of the scripts on multiple platforms very fast.
Even as automated functional testing seems a cost-effective and time-saving approach with a reduction in human resources, the need to retain manual testing for core functional requirements still seems viable since human instinct is a characteristic that can never be duplicated. That being said, with their distinctions in place, their main focus lies in verifying bugs and reporting defects. With test automation additionally taking into account the maintenance of scripts and any updates needed for UI variations, functionality changes, test-data, etc., it becomes an equally tedious approach if the requirements keep varying constantly compelling the automation suite to be revamped every time.
Thus, while dwelling on the dilemma of choosing the right approach, following an integrated one seems to be a pragmatic approach. Knowing that human intervention is extremely imperative while identifying and eliminating any faults or bugs in a product, automation simultaneously comes in handy for providing an economical and convenient way of handling other parts of the testing process. As both can work side by side, it becomes significant to realise that test automation isn’t a substitute but an aid to manual testing practices.
Thus, an integrated approach towards functional testing offers an inclusive test coverage and comprehensive results. An amalgamation of manual testing and automation testing approaches would give a better standpoint in covering the whole gamut of functional requirements. However, remembering that automated functional testing should be considered as an aid to a manual approach is important as there cannot be a do-away from manual testing for core functional requirements.
With QA InfoTech’s years of expertise in the domain with integrated solutions of manual and automated functional testing, contact us to know more and understand the nuances within.