Testing Basics: How Do You Prioritize Manual vs Automated Testing?

This blog post is all about the trending query of "how do you prioritize manual vs automated testing". If you are just starting with your next software project, then this article is for you.

In the world of software development and testing, there has always been a discussion about the type of testing approach to be used to deliver a high-quality software product. Manual testing is when testers manually test every feature in an application using their computer or any other device and validate whether it's working properly or not without using any automated scripts for execution. On the other hand, automated testing is when testers write code (scripts) that executes some of the test cases and compare the results with expected ones.

Manual Testing:

It is a testing process where a tester manually tests every feature of an application using the GUI and validates whether it is working as per the business requirements or not. It requires a tester to perform exhaustive test cases to cover all the possible combinations of input values and verify the output against expected results. In manual testing, you have to create test cases for each requirement that you want your system to support, and then test those functionalities manually. This is usually done by getting your hands dirty with some coding knowledge and learning how things work at a lower level than just using them through their graphical user interface (GUI).

If we have a project where we need to verify that every single feature works, then we have no other choice but to test it manually. Such projects usually have a short life cycle so there's no point in investing time in creating automation for them.

Automated Testing

Automated testing is the process where a special piece of software is used to execute some of the test cases and compare the results with the expected ones. The goal of automated testing is to put less effort into achieving more coverage on test case execution, so that not only repetitive regressions but also negative and edge case scenarios are being checked. The main advantage of this method is the possibility of executing a large number of tests very quickly. The biggest disadvantage is that it’s hard to maintain an already huge pile of automated tests, which leads to problems in maintenance and support tasks (like updating them after changes in product architecture).

When we work on large projects with long life cycles, creating automation for all of the features will be a waste of resources because many of them will be dropped or changed before we can even think about automating them. Thus, creating automation for such projects makes sense only when we are dealing with stable features which are needed for regression tests or if we want to run tests in parallel on different environments or devices. How do you prioritize manual vs automated testing? There are a few factors that should be considered:

Budget and Strategy 

Many companies don't have the resources to implement automated testing into their development workflow immediately. The first step towards automating your testing is learning about the different types of automated tests and how they help you achieve your goals. It's important to prioritize manual tests over automated ones to improve your overall quality. If you're new to testing, then it may be best for you to start with manual testing before moving on to more advanced techniques such as automation or cross-browser compatibility issues.

The Depth and Breadth of Your Tests

Test coverage can vary based on the size of your application, how many developers are involved, how much time you can devote to each iteration if it's web or desktop-based, and how much risk you're willing to assume. As a general rule, if your application includes more than 50% unit tests with good code coverage or integration tests that cover most flows through the application, then consider automating other parts of your application. For example, you might want to consider automating functional tests because they run across multiple layers of the stack.

You Can Do Some Things Only Manually

In some cases, manual testing is the only way to go. There are certain kinds of tests that you can only perform by hand. For example:

  • Complex tests that require an expert tester to interpret the results and make decisions on what actions to take next
  • Tests that need to be conducted in real-world conditions with users interacting with the system as they would in real life (for example, a mobile app is tested on a variety of different devices)
  • Tests that require multiple people or teams working together simultaneously (for example, testing an application live at a trade show)

Some tests typically need to be run many times, which is the domain of automation.

Automation can be used to speed up testing and get it done with less human effort. However, some tests typically need to be run many times, which is the domain of automation. If a test has a large number of variations in data and inputs, then it is highly likely that an automated tool will not be able to get the job done on its own (unless you have a lot of time on your hands).

Some tests are very fast to run and are difficult to automate cost-effectively.

What if you have a test that is very fast to run, but it's also difficult and expensive to automate? You'll probably end up with a manual test anyway. If you're going to choose automation tests, make sure they offer the most value for your organization. You also want them to be easy or possible to automate; otherwise, I'd just go ahead and stick with manual testing. There are some interesting things about automated tests that can save time when running them over again after making changes in your system:

  • They don't require any human intervention (no more waiting on someone else)
  • They can run thousands of times faster than humanly possible (automated systems can do this because they follow specific instructions).

Using automation helps you create an audit trail of executed tests.

Automated tests are more reliable than manual tests. This is because they are not subject to human error, which tends to creep into our work as testers. Additionally, automated tests can be run very frequently (or even continuously) and will always give you the same result—unlike manual testing, which requires someone to determine whether a specific test worked correctly or failed. This is why automated testing tools also allow you to create an audit trail of executed tests so that you can see what’s been tested, how many times it was tested, and when it was last executed. This information helps ensure that all of your needed tests have been run at least once by each member of your team without having someone miss out on any important steps along the way (and helps prevent any surprises during release).


This concludes the blog post for the topic "how do you prioritize manual vs automated testing". In this article, we discussed the basic definitions and how to prioritize manual and automated testing. We also looked at a few factors that should be considered when deciding which approach to use. The most important thing to remember is that the decision should be made based on what works best for your team, the project requirements, and the risks involved in each scenario.

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