In the previous company I worked for, we had manual tests since 2004 and until I left. In the beginning, these were very simple Word documents with 3 columns. The first column contained an icon, one for a step and one for verification. The second column contained an instruction to the tester. The third column was empty for the result. It looked like this:
Then I changed the company and found that the new company has a similar approach, but using three different file formats: Excel (very similar to above Word documents), plain text in Notepad++ and manual tests in MicroFocus QADirector, but only using the most basic Yes/No-style questions.
Problems of this approach
The problems I see with such a manual approach:
- the overall result of such manual tests must be determined by someone in a manual and error prone way (Word and TXT at least, Excel could depend, QADirector was the only format calculating it).
- missing metadata makes it almost impossible to select a subset of tests for retesting.
- testers unlike developers are not familiar with version control, so there is seldom a "backup" or base line available.
It's now 2015 and there are lots of tools for automating tests. On the long run, automating tests saves effort and money.
Are manual tests in pen and paper style still popular or is it just a statistical accident that I worked in two companies doing testing like this?
If it is still popular, why? I see the problems, but what are advantages of such an approach?