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Beginner's Guide to Manual Software Testing

When conducting manual testing, the goal of software testers is to break the system and understand its response to various scenarios. They are always cross-checking the observed system behavior against the expected behavior and, if there is a difference between them, raise the issue and report it as a bug.

Beginner's Guide to Manual Software Testing by Testing Hero

What are the types of manual testing methods?

There are three main types of manual testing methods:

Black Box Testing

In this method, testers do not know the code or structure of an application. They interact with the application and test its functional and non-functional behavior.

White Box Testing

Testers using this method know the code and structure of an application. Also known as glass box and transparent box testing, it is used to perform unit testing. White box testing techniques include branch testing, control flow testing, data flow testing, decision coverage, statement coverage, and path testing. Take note that this method is commonly used by developers and not testers.

Gray Box Testing

This method is a combination of white and black box testing. It aims to identify the bugs and defects either due to the structure or improper usage of the application. It is commonly used when you need to fix a critical issue in web applications.

What are the stages of manual software testing?

When testing is done manually, a software product goes through the following stages:

1. Unit Testing

From the name itself, this type of testing involves testing of the software’s individual units and components. It uses white box testing method and is usually performed using a programming language. It is essential for developers to unit test the software before handing it to the QA team. Why? It makes code reusable as you need to use a modular approach for coding when unit testing. It also makes debugging a lot easier.

2. Integration Testing

This type of testing is performed when different units, components, and modules of the software are integrated together. Its purpose is to verify the functionality, reliability, and stability of the modules. Its main focus is the features which can take information from one module and produces output in the other module.

3. System Testing

System testing is performed on a complete, fully integrated software product to evaluate system behavior and its compliance with its software requirements specification. It can be tricky as you do not get enough time to carry it out. To make sure that the system as a whole meets the users’ requirements, it is recommended to make the test environment identical to your production environment and generate real-world data.

4. Acceptance Testing

Also known as user acceptance testing, this type of testing is performed by users before they accept a software product. It usually covers the scenarios from the end users’ real-world scenarios. For this reason, users who have different roles and privileges in the system are the ones performing it. This testing should be conducted intelligently as it will provide you with the result on the basis of what software product will get the approval or rejection of the senior management.

What are the techniques used in manual software testing?

Testers can use several manual testing techniques to test every aspect of the software — both the functional and non-functional ones. Here are the most commonly used testing techniques that are essential to learn about:

Exploratory Testing

Using this testing technique, testers experiment with the software application to familiarize themselves with its features and functionalities, and also observe its response to different inputs. This testing seems very efficient at first (as you do not need to spend any time or effort in creating the test cases) and yields results quickly. But most likely, testers miss a lot of cases, especially those related to business rules, when they are not following a set of test cases or test scenarios. Still, it is useful for keeping records and helping the QA team keep themselves on track.

Regression Testing

This technique is used to perform integration and system testing. It focuses on testing the existing functionalities which might have affected by any bug fix, new feature, or change in code. It can take a lot of time for bigger applications so it is very important to know how it can be performed effectively.

Smoke Testing

This technique tests the big functionalities of an application. It is used for final checking when the release is to be handed over to the client or users. Preferably, it should not last for more than 30 minutes.

Though usability is a vague concept, there are a few common grounds on which the usability can be measured — such as consistency, layout, and intuitiveness of the software application to guide users and take them to what they are looking for. Usability testing aims to deliver both functioning analysis and behavior logic to determine the software ‘fit for purpose’ status. Usability testing consists of user-focused scenarios designed to improve UI intuitive adoption, functional redundancies, graphical synchronicity, feature functionality, performance, and stress analysis.

What are the test management tools used in manual software testing?

When testing manually, it does not mean you cannot use any testing tool to facilitate the software testing process. There are a lot of test management tools available in the market to help you perform testing more efficiently. Here are some:

PractiTest provides end-to-end QA management for your manual testing, ensures visibility into your project with the help of great dashboards and professional reports, captures and organizes test requirements, manages bugs and integrates existing bug tracker into the software testing process, organizes your work with smart filters, customizes projects without writing a single line of code, and helps plan testing assignments with its time management feature.

Using QAComplete, you can manage, organize, and report on all your testing efforts in a central place. The testing tool allows you to combine automated and manual tests as part of one run. Also, it helps create bugs and raise issues in other bug tracking tools such as Jira. Aside from these, it allows you to prioritize tests based on risk assessment level of requirements or user stories and comes with built-in modules for requirements, test, and defect management.

QMetry’s digital quality platform provides integrated test management, test automation, and quality metrics with cloud-secure features. A complete agile testing solution, it is designed for agile testing and DevOps teams to build, manage, and deploy quality software faster and with confidence.

qTest Manager provides teams with a robust and easy-to-use test management solution that integrates with Jira in real time. It offers flexible options to organize tests and reporting to track results across projects.

TestLog provides an integrated management environment in which you can create and manage your entire test plan and not just your test cases. It gives a structured approach to the software testing process but can fit any existing methodology. It uses a lightweight XML database which makes installation and configuration a lot easier. Also, it provides features which allow your test requirements to be assigned to individual test cases, so you know who and what are needed when. In addition to these, the testing tools online reports quickly generate statistics, showing the progress of your project and estimating if it is still keeping to the schedule.

The types of manual testing methods, as well as the stages, techniques, and test management tools discussed in this article will altogether help you carry out the testing successfully. In addition to these, it is essential to know when to use manual testing to get the most desirable results from it.

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