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QC Sprinter Whitepaper

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  • How to increase the efficiency of manual testing

    Business white paper

  • Table of contentsExecutive summary ..................................................3Introduction ............................................................3The real challenges of manual testing .........................5Reporting a defect ...................................................7Data injection .........................................................8Mirror Testing .........................................................9Reporting .............................................................10Conclusion ............................................................ 11

  • Even though nearly every QA team in the world still relies on manual testing, the actual process of manual testing hasnt improved much in the past 10 or even 20 years.


    Executive summaryManual testing remains the most popular method for validating the functionality of software applications. It is simple, straightforward, and doesnt require advanced technical knowledge or programming skills. However, as technologies have progressed and applications become more complex, the process of manual testing has stayed mostly unchanged. It is still a very resource-intensive and often repetitive effort that requires monotonous reiteration of the test steps and manually entering large sets of data. Manual testing can also be highly error prone, resulting in overlooked defects and false positives. Over the years, several solutions have been introduced to the market to help run manual tests, but they still failed to solve the fundamental problems that plague most manual testing teams: data-driven testing, accurate defect reporting, better communication with developers, and replaying the same tests in multiple environments.

    This paper explores the challenges of traditional manual testing methods and discusses the advantages of HP Sprinter a unique solution for maximizing the efficiency and precision of manual testing, streamlining communication between testing and development teams, and reducing test cycles.

    IntroductionApplication testing has been around for decades. Ever since the first software applications were built, there was a need to validate an applications functionality before releasing it into production. The original validation method was manual testing. A software testeror sometimes a business userthrough a series of steps, would interact with an application and document any problems encountered along the way. Naturally, this process was often monotonous, time consuming, and error prone.

    Advances in technology brought new ways of application testing, including automated functional testing. At first glance, automation looked like the answer to all of the problems with manual testing. It didnt rely on a business user to execute repetitive test steps; it was scalable and reusable; and it could run tests all night, unattended, and test different business processes with various sets of data. However, QA teams quickly realized that not all applications are good candidates for automated testing, and that the best testing strategies always involved a combination of automated and manual testing elements.

    Manual testing is here to stay. There will always be applications or parts of applications that should be tested manually by a business user who is familiar with

  • 4the business process flow. And there will always be times in the application lifecycle where quick manual exploratory testing will provide just enough information for developers to capture early defects, before they turn into larger problems downstream. But even though nearly every QA team in the world still relies on manual testing, the actual process of manual testing hasnt improved much in the past 10 or even 20 years. It is still a very resource-intensive, time-consuming, and often tedious effort, which involves endless repetitions of the same steps, and copying and pasting countless sets of data. Several test management tool vendors have offered manual test runners in the past, but business users are reluctant to accept them. Most testers still prefer to print the test steps from the tools repository and continue to run tests in the old way, often losing the traceability of the test execution results.

    Most importantly, traditional manual runners dont solve the main problems that plague manual testing: data entry, inaccurate and inadequate defect reporting, and replaying tests with multiple configurations.

    HP sets out to change the way QA organizations view manual testing. HP Sprinter software is a truly revolutionary approach to all of the aspects of manual testing: from maximizing the real estate on your screen for easier interaction with an application, to accelerating the capturing and reporting process of relevant defects, injecting test data, and even replicating test steps across multiple environments on remote machines. Intuitive and easy to use, HP Sprinter is one of the only solutions that helps preserve the benefits of manual testing, while significantly improving its efficiency, accuracy, and speed.

    Figure 1: HP Sprinter features an easy-to-use, unobtrusive interface

  • Test data entry can now be completed in a matter of seconds, significantly reducing test execution time and helping organizations release applications faster.


    The real challenges of manual testingThe advantages of manual testing are undeniable. It doesnt involve complex preparations, script recording, or coding. It can be performed by a business analyst or any other application end user without requiring any particular technical knowledge, specialized tools, or intricate setup. Manual testing can be run at any stage of an application lifecycle, making it even more popular with agile development teams.

    But traditional manual testing has some very serious drawbacks as well. Not only is it monotonous and repetitive, it can also be highly error prone, where a missed step or incorrect data can lead to overlooked defects and false results. Data-driven manual testing also presents a considerable challenge: To validate the

    applications functionality with different sets of datasuch as login names or credit card numberstesters usually print out a spreadsheet with available data and then manually enter this information into an application. Alternatively, they may toggle between an open spreadsheet and the application under test, copying and pasting data into required fields. But when schedules get tighter and testers are under pressure to finish validating the applications functionality before the release, they often resort to entering bogus data into form fields, missing potentially critical problems.

    It is also extremely difficult to achieve good coverage of different environments and platforms when testing manually. Testers simply dont have the time to repeat the same steps over and over, on different machines running various combinations of

    Figure 2: HP Sprinter offers multiple ways to log defects to give developers detailed information about the issue

  • Sprinters Mirror capability allows for much faster (>80% productivity) Web application Browser Compatibility testing

    Anonymous customer, TechValidate survey, October 2010


    browsers and operating systems, to look for differences in application behavior under diverse conditions. QA managers end up choosing a singleand typically the most commonplatform to test the application on, ignoring other possible combinations and use cases.

    Finally, when defects are found, manual testers typically dont have the tools or skills to properly communicate the problem. As a result, the developer who is investigating a particular defect has to try and reproduce it with only minimal information. If the developer knew which steps the tester took before arriving at a problem, which conditions the application was tested under, or what data was entered, the resolution time could have been much faster. Instead, developers often have to rely on poorly constructed and incomplete defect records, which cause unnecessary delays and frustrations. This is especially true in agile

    exploratory testing, where testers poke around in an early build of an application without following any formal written test steps or procedures. If a defect is found, testers often cannot even recall which path they took through an application to arrive at that point. Naturally, recreating such defects is a challenging task for R&D.

    Introducing HP Sprinter: a revolutionary approach to manual testing HP Sprinter is a unique, innovative solution designed to increase efficiency, coverage, and precision of manual testing. A component of HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and HP Quality Center (QC), HP Sprinter is an easy-to-use manual testing tool that features an intuitive, unobtrusive interface and a series of advanced features to help testers improve testing speed, accuracy, and documentation. With HP Sprinter, testers no longer need to flip between

    Figure 3: Data injection helps to save a significant amount of time and helps to reduce errors

  • 7multiple screens looking for test-case descriptions. HP Sprinter can run as a collection of sidebars on the screen, which can be expanded or minimized as needed. It can also show test steps as one-line subtitles, maximizing the screen real estate needed for interacting with the application under test.

    HP Sprinter runs on your local computer. And, because it interacts with HP ALM software and HP QC software, it has full access to the tests that have been defined in your test plan, as well as complete information about the application under test. When you first open a test in HP Sprinter, you can select which application you