How Does an Automation Test Plan Differ from Manual Testing?

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An automation test plan allows teams to transition away from traditional processes that have involved taking on new considerations for manual testing and ensuring that these practices are properly supported by advanced current operations. Test planning for agile testing methodologies, for example, has introduced a number of factors, including how to handle different types of testing approaches. Manual and automated testing are fundamentally different entities and there are unique discussions that must be had for how to plan for each process.

Test Plan Examples & What They Costs

One major difference between the two methods is planning out expenditures. With manual testing, funding is often mostly focused on time, training, infrastructure, people and tools used to manage tests and defects. Software Testing Help noted that while the automated test plan examples cover these elements, they must also account for automation tools, specific training for these resources, framework setup and add-ins to support this type of environment. Although the costs for this automation testing approach will be larger, the decreased time to market and ROI yielded through automation can allay these expenses.

"If you are going to propose an automation solution, be sure to choose cost-effective tools and solutions to make sure that the automation endeavor does not burden the project," Software Testing Help stated. "It is important to set the expectation that ROI for an automation project cannot be positive immediately but can be clearly seen over long periods of time."

Follow The Master Test Plan Template

This area of the automation test plan will look significantly different from the manual testing approach. With a master test plan template for automation testing, for example, quality assurance teams are going to be able to follow a plan, that will allow them to focused on determining which test cases will be viable to be continuously regressed across multiple cycles and which scenarios will be reusable. Manual testing, however, will include things like exploratory testing and other cases that don't work well with automation integration.  These often revolve around test cases that require hands-on test execution and analysis, especially when addressing user interfaces and ease of navigation. Scenarios like this are unlikely to be included in an automated testing plan, and each case should be thoroughly evaluated to ensure it gets the attention it deserves.

Defect mitigation

Although both paths will do their best to eliminate and track issues, their approaches to doing so will differ slightly. Industry expert Rakesh Hansalia noted that QA will need to use a tool to track the severity of the problem and a test management solution to store all of the information related to these events.

With automation, any vulnerabilities can be immediately logged and QA will be notified to respond accordingly. In manual plans, defects must be entered by hand, and this information can take time to sort out. However, both testing methods can utilize best test management software to easily access tasks, and ensure that any problems have been dealt with. This will help teams reclaim time and prevent bugs from causing major damage.

Although there are a number of things that automation and manual planning have in common, the costs, scope and defect mitigation processes are all going to differ. By understanding these characteristics, QA teams can create a more successful automation test plan and approach their projects with confidence.