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Why the Two-Decade-Old Testing Pyramid Still Works

Automated testing (AT) isn’t a magical shield that keeps project quality intact, as we all know by now. That is a method of approaching it. Let’s examine the Testing Pyramid’s several versions before examining why it still functions.

It wasn’t long until the Testing Pyramid changed. The changing testing environment seemed to be accommodated by its revisions. Every iteration modifies the initial design while enhancing elements deemed impractical. Speaking of changes, let’s talk about the four main alterations. Check out the quality analyst courses online to learn more.

Unit – Integration – E2E

Why is this the apex of end-to-end (E2E) testing now, especially due to the UI’s constant changes? Regular changes result in additional testing and higher resource costs. QA engineers can verify user-oriented features that are unaffected by visual changes by using E2E tests at the top. As a result, you avoid unnecessary work and receive a thorough app inspection. 

E2E testing looks at entire workflows, from the beginning (like user registration) to the end (like receiving a transaction). By mimicking real-world user interactions, it guarantees a positive customer experience. Thus, in contrast to UI, E2E testing provides a comprehensive view of an application in practical settings. 

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Unit – Integration – UI & API – Manual & Exploratory 

In this paradigm, UI tests are not always necessary, thus APIs are added in the middle. For example, your application can be excessively complex or lack a web user interface. Instead of using UI tests, which are brittle, you might verify APIs. They don’t make many sacrifices or investments, but they do provide good coverage. 

Why the Two-Decade-Old Testing Pyramid Still Works

The top layer is occupied by exploratory and manual software testing. Why? due to their ability to identify overlooked problems and emphasis on user-centricity. For example, automated testing will not significantly improve accessibility or usability. However, exploratory and manual testing move you one step closer to mastery.

Unit – Integration – Contract (API) – UI – E2E – Acceptance 

It’s typical practice in software development to assign jobs to various teams. Thus, you must make sure that no inconsistencies exist in the independently developed modules. That is the exact topic of contract tests. This auxiliary layer ensures coherence amongst independently generated components. The scopes of UI and E2E tests separate them. This division allows you to choose, in a sense. 

Recall how the last two models introduced E2E, or the ability to bypass the user interface, and APIs. You can modify the testing structure in this iteration to suit the requirements of your project. Acceptance tests confirm that the system meets user and business requirements. They present a fair assessment of the features and worth of software. They now hold the highest position and act as a bridge between tests at lower and higher levels (E2E and unit). 

Unit – Acceptance – Integration – Monitoring & Alerts – Smoke – Manual 

Acceptance tests proceed downward in this iteration of the pyramid. They confirm that you are developing the appropriate product. And it’s best to be sure of it as soon as possible. Early acceptance testing essentially serves as a gatekeeper prior to implementing integrations. Acceptance testing will verify your thoroughness using unit checks, allowing you to proceed with confidence. A proactive strategy is motivated by alarms and monitoring. Using them, you can keep track of problems and quickly find solutions before moving on to more involved assessments. 

Smoke tests highlight important user pathways while rapidly validating system operation. They are few in number and non-intrusive. Therefore, testing and the final product benefit from their early implementation throughout development. Here, manual tests give priority to exploration in order to extract maximum value from them, whereas automation operates with expected outcomes. You can completely explore the system by deviating from the script. This additional layer is not necessary. However, it can demonstrate how consumers might engage with an application “in the wild.”

The Testing Pyramid in Practice 

Considering the preceding segment, one may wonder, “Why did the pyramid change at all?” The erroneous understanding of the testing procedure holds the solution to this query. For example, its initial form does not take into consideration the particular requirements of various projects. We will first discuss the benefits of the concept before moving on to its drawbacks. 


  • The hierarchy of the pyramid aids teams in planning how to conduct tests. 
  • Levelling out test coverage promotes a balanced distribution of tests. 
  • Because unit tests run quickly, developers can get feedback on their code more quickly. 
  • Error hoarding is reduced when unit and integration tests are run regularly to help identify problems early. 
  • Unit tests’ robustness and simplicity translate into less maintenance and more focused efforts. 
Why the Two-Decade-Old Testing Pyramid Still Works


  • Unit testing’s usefulness is increased by the Testing Pyramid. 
  • Although unit tests are necessary, putting too much emphasis on them might result in test coverage gaps. 
  • Moreover, the model prioritises UI tests over all others. 
  • However, they are more easily broken by changes. 
  • The consumer perspective is lost when technical details are the main focus. 
  • More complex techniques are required for real-world scenarios and user behaviours. 
  • The importance of manual usability testing is not included in the pyramid. 
  • It may not be appropriate for all projects and oversimplifies the testing procedure.

Striking the Right Balance 

The pyramid may not have a useful application in its current form. However, you can use its tenets as a guide. Therefore, the key to meeting your testing needs is to balance the tests and techniques. 

  • Identify the parts of your app that require a lot of testing, then concentrate your efforts there. 
  • Tests with higher values should be prioritised for flaw discovery. For instance, stay away from difficult exams if they don’t add much to the final product’s quality. 
  • Determine which areas are high-risk, such as security or essential functions, and focus your testing there. 
  • Keep your feedback loop brief to avoid accruing technical debt. 
  • Use user-centric methods to support automated testing, such as usability and beta testing. You can ensure a satisfying user experience in this way. 

Above all, take into account what makes your project special. Adjust your testing plan to correspond with them. For example, your group might be more skilled in specific methods. If so, allow them to maximise the value of the test by doing what they know best.

Conclusion To learn more about the Testing Pyramid in QA, check out our QA testing training online.

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