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Trade-off between automated and manual software testing


The study explores the current state of test automation in software testing organizations by focusing on the views and observations of managers, testers and developers in each organization. The case study was conducted in selected organizational units that develop and test technical software for industrial automation or telecommunication domains. The data was collected with 41 theme-based interviews in each unit. The interview data was analyzed qualitatively by using the grounded theory research method. It was found that although test automation was viewed as beneficial, it was not utilized widely in the companies. The main benefits of test automation were quality improvement, the possibility to execute more tests in less time and fluent reuse of testware. The major disadvantages were the costs associated with developing test automation especially in dynamic customized environments. Such issues as properties of tested products, attitudes of employees, resource limitations, and customers influenced the level of test automation in the case organizations.

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This study was supported by the ESPA-project (, funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, and by the companies mentioned in the project pages.

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Correspondence to Ossi Taipale.

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Taipale, O., Kasurinen, J., Karhu, K. et al. Trade-off between automated and manual software testing. Int J Syst Assur Eng Manag 2, 114–125 (2011).

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  • Software testing
  • Test automation
  • Manual testing
  • Benefits and drawbacks of test automation
  • Qualitative research
  • Empirical study