I often hear skeptics question the value of test automation. Their questioning is healthy for the test industry and it might flush out bad test automation. I hope it continues.
But shouldn’t these same questions be raised about human testing (AKA Manual testing)? If these same skeptics judged human testing with the same level of scrutiny, might it improve human testing?
First, the common criticisms of test automation:
- Sure, you have a lot of automated checks in your automated regression check suite, but how many actually find bugs?
- It would take hours to write an automated check for that. A human could test it in a few seconds.
- Automated checks can’t adapt to minor changes in the system under test. Therefore, the automated checks break all the time.
- We never get the ROI we expect with test automation. Plus, it’s difficult to measure ROI for test automation.
- We don’t need test automation. Our manual testers appear to be doing just fine.
Now let’s turn them around to question manual testing:
- Sure, you have a lot of manual tests in your manual regression test suite, but how many actually find bugs?
- It would take hours for a human to test that. A machine could test it in a few seconds.
- Manual testers are good at adapting to minor changes in the system under test. Sometimes, they aren’t even aware of their adaptions. Therefore, manual testers often miss important problems.
- We never get the ROI we expected with manual testing. Plus, it’s difficult to measure ROI for manual testing.
- We don’t need manual testers. Our programmers appear to be doing just fine with testing.