Life is too short for manual testing. Would you agree?

While going through some blogs over the internet, I came across a statement that caught my attention. It read "Life is too short for manual testing." and quite a few people had agreed to it and commented that automation will be taking over completely and manual testing will perish soon.

Now, I was left in a dilemma that was I reading it right? And I started to wonder is Wall-E is for real, and that I-Robot and Terminator are not just movies.

Personally this is what I think about such a question - Life is never too short for manual testing! There is no such thing as 100% automation and whatever can be automated, has to be "automated manually" at least once.

Of course there are a huge list of automation tools available in the world and many of them are really good, but to use them people need to write code manually(In a sense to program to test a program), then again would that code need to be tested? After all its written by a human being similarly as the code which it is suppose to test. Then again people will say there a so many tools with AI that will capture User Interactions with the browser or the screen and generate the script for you! Yes, that is true, but how reliable are those tools for the job? And is testing only the UI sufficient?

Lets talk a little about the reliability of the record/playback tools. I had a first hand experience with a couple of them, where I records a script for a registration page. It captured all the notification, input values, fields and all the actions I performed perfectly and when I hit the Stop button, There it was - My perfect script to test the registration form. I thought now I wont have to repeat all the different cases manually. All I will have to do is copy the script change the input values and monitor the result. But before doing that I thought why not try and run it without any changes, so I hit the Play button. The script started off well it opened the page in browser, navigated to the respective field and inserted the values, but as soon as it hit Submit the notifications did not show up and the script hung up. So the extremely intelligent tool could not even repeat what it captured, then how can I expect it to deal with changes?

That was just a one example, think about the case where the requirements are constantly changing, how will you deal with that? While the code is being written, in the same duration testers write the scripts for testing, so how will that scenario be handled? I mean if you keep changing the scripts according to the changes in the requirements, then when will you perform actual testing? And lets say the requirement doesn't change, but still the scripts are written in advance, and when the code is delivered for testing, the parameters you pass in your script do not match that of the code(For example, in an input form, the field name or id is not what you have declared in your script. If in the script Fname is passed as parameter for First Name text field and in the code it is written as F_Name, what happens then?), in such a case your script will fail to read the field and will generate a bug even though the functionality is working properly.

Even you people come up with a tool to overcome all this, how will they test that tool? Eventually that tool itself is a software and it will also need to be tested? will they develop another tool to test that? Then again how will they test that new tool? At some point they will always require a human being to test!

Yes, I agree that automation tools enhance the testing process and are a good aide, but they will never be absolute. A machine or a tool doesn't think on its own. It will always need instructions to perform actions and those instructions come from a human being.

Therefore, in reality there is no such thing as pure reality and the manual testers will keep on living as long as the software exists.

I'm sure there's much more to this and I may be a tiny bit biased with manual testing as I personally prefer a human hand over a machine, but that is all I could get to so far with my limited knowledge. I'd like you to comment your thought and add more so that I can learn and grow as a Tester!

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Comment by Juhi Bansal on June 27, 2014 at 6:36

I agree with you completely. I think our testing industry needs to come out of this myth that automation tools are a necessity. We need to understand the fact that even if it is a tool , it is a machine, does not have brain and needs instructions from a human being. We need to understand the fact that the scripts executed are also written by the human beings only. Also, as you gave the examples, you cannot rely on automated tools. They do not have the capability to adjust to changes. I think manual testing can never be replaced ever. I read something similar on Ministry of Testing by Rosie some days back. 

Comment by Rajendra Hiremath on May 21, 2014 at 13:42

- I personally appreciate your visualization on Manual and Automation testing 

Even though I would like to add couple of points, which may give some more insights 

- Please remember that if you are tester try to understand the architecture of system first (Application), then only you will become very good tester. Before you test any component in the application, you should know why that component is designed?  what is the purpose of that component ? how exactly it interact with other sub components? so on......In totally understand the complete blue print doc of an application you are about to test.

- Automation won't replace manual tester, remember that  tools are helping hands for completion of your job quickly, and make your life easy (comfort), tools don't have intelligence to find the defects, but by using your skills with the help of tool you can make your test effort pretty easy. 

-  I would say you try to visualize with real life scenarios, by that most of the answer about manual and automation testing you'll get it.


Comment by kinofrost on April 28, 2014 at 10:18

Testing cannot be automated. Automation is just use of tools to aid testing - usually programming and running some checks and returning some results in some format. If it were possible to completely replace the activities of testers with automated testing then it would be possible to completely replace the activities of programmers with automated programming.

Comment by TESTasy on April 28, 2014 at 4:55
Hello Raj,
Thank you for helping me prove my point here!
Comment by Raj Patap on April 25, 2014 at 23:36

I 100% agree with your statement " manual testers will keep on living as long as the software exists". Being a tester myself, I wanted to show the following examples to reiterate your statement. 

A sentence in your paragraph "Then again people will say there a so many tools..." supposed to read "Then again people will say there are so many tools..." but the COMPUTER was not able to detect it. 

In another sentence "where I records a script for a registration page..." there should not be any 's' after 'record' but the automatic grammar check was not able to detect it. 

My intention of the above examples is not to point out grammatical errors in the article but to reiterate the fact that "manual testing is here to stay". 

Comment by TESTasy on April 17, 2014 at 4:18

Thats a good one Jeff... very nicely done!

Comment by Jeff Lucas on April 12, 2014 at 17:43

I love it when we get better discussions on blog comments than in the discussion forum. ;o)

Here's a good analogy for this topic: You can dig a ditch with a teaspoon and you can stir your coffee with a backhoe.

I wouldn't recommend either one.

Comment by TESTasy on April 12, 2014 at 4:34

I agree with you that you can use automation as a tool to enhance your testing. This post is about what I felt after seeing a lot of people saying and believing that automation will take over manual testing completely.

Comment by Nick McCullen on April 9, 2014 at 8:13

Life is not too short for manual testing. At the end of the day you need both. As someone has already commented with automation testing with no change in the test scripts you will eventually reach the 'Parasite Paradox' where no more new defects will be discovered and would then require a modification in the tests run. Where I work we have manual and automated testing because of the nature of our business (Digital Broadcasting), the automated testing comes into its own with regression testing and manual when there are either new hardware products being introduced and the need for new features in the control and health monitoring software we produce. Last year I attended a course where it covered manual testing techniques in an agile environment, where this highlighted the fact that you can never solely rely on one or the other types of testing but need both. As most products have humans as the end user then it makes sense for a 'human' to manually test the functionality of the product. By doing so it is more likely to uncover defects because we all think and act differently.

Comment by TESTasy on April 6, 2014 at 8:11

Good points parthiban! And that is exactly what I'm trying to say...


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