Regression is a series of vital tests relevant for prior release reruns to ensure no critical system functionality is not compromised.
The primary goal for conducting regression is timely bug identifications ensuring no high priority defects aren’t underlying softwares prior releases.
However, successful regression requires smart decision making for testing protocols, the answers to all the whys and hows is key.
Else regression can oftentimes turn out to be a counter productive tedious job for the testers without adding in any significant software quality benefits.
In this detailed FAQ, we cover the basics and the basis of regression testing, how to get it started the right way, how to overcome the most commonly faced hiccups and challenges, with additional tips and best practices for improving software quality without wasting any valuable production time and resources.
Here’s the bottomline questions and answer list for today’s topic theme- Regression 101.
1. Define software regression testing?
Regression testing is primarily the ultimate last step prior to the software release process focusing entirely on testing the high priority login functionalities or the main user paths accessibility of the entire application rather than the new code changes in specific.
Regression can be performed both ways – manually or with an automation platform. While manual testing doesn’t require any special tools or domain specific knowledge, it’s often tedious,slow, time-consuming, and highly prone to errors. Most teams (especially teams deploying the agile) eventually would need to automate regression suites when keeping up with release deadlines without compromising on the software quality.
2. Who can deploy regression testing?
The written, reruns, and maintenance for regression test suites will solely depend on the deployment type of regression testing tool of choice.
Regression testing tools fall into two major categories: coded frameworks and no-code tools.
Coding frameworks, like Selenium, provide developers the option to automate processes via browsers by written test scripts using a programming language.
On the other hand, most no-code (or ‘codeless’) testing tools auto generate coded test scripts via past system interactions within the application or via accessing the test library of pre-written actions. However, they have limitations in the types of test cases that can be deployed without additional pre-written code. Eventually, teams need someone with prior coding experience to further create the necessary test cases for a seamless regression procedure to follow suit.
3. Test cases that should be included in regression testing?
Test teams often try to create an individual test case for every user access path to ensure the entire application or software is rendered defects and bug-free. However, for most teams, complete test coverage is excessively time consuming causing unprecedented delays in the release cycles.
The silver lining here is that even a minor regression suite can significantly alter the quality of your software for the better.
However, all test cases created aren’t equal. Especially with the right things not being tested, more testing would imply more work.
Determine test cases to start with. Firstly, you focus on clearing the high priority ones. Then, as time permits before the next re-run allows for looking into major system functionalities.
Likewise, it’s suggested to focus the testing efforts on the primary user paths of the application that’s accessed by most users and covers some highly critical functionalities (such as a login form or a payment gateway or a checkout process). From there on, add-on more tests as the software grows or as and when quality goals change.
4. Major challenges of automated regression testing?
With any type of software testing, one of the major challenges is allocating enough time for the entire testing process completion while keeping up with the release schedules. This holds particularly true when coming to regression testing as regression typically commences at the end of the software development lifecycle when there’s often some extra pressure to release as quickly as possible.
In this segment, we’re covering the three primary arenas that might potentially slow down regression testing.
- Outline an automated testing strategy with consistent updation – A testing strategy helps determine priority user paths to be covered via test re-runs deploying the best regression technique to reach quality goals. Pre-planned test strategy can also help establish testing and tester’s decision making protocols and processes, for building a successful automated regression testing strategy.
- Building a test plan – With a test plan in hand, get specific coverage, the correlates and inter dependencies of different test cases, mapping success criteria for testing a specific feature. Ensures each test case is contributing quality goals without adding in extra work. A pre organized test plan also aids with test case prioritization. Prioritizing your test cases from the very beginning allows quick decision making for selective regression processes, especially when you don’t have time to run- a retest all strategy for the entire regression suite.
- Managing automated and manual testing via the same platform – Automation can help achieve better test coverage and less resource deployment.
However, some test cases shouldn’t ideally be automated. Including test cases with steps involving human interpretation or user paths experiencing constant change. It’s imperative to deploy expert judgment when using manual vs. automated testing here. Even if a test team can handle a few manual test cases early on, as the software continually grows, it can often become increasingly difficult to manage manual testing without adding in additional headcounts. And here’s where automation can be highly of help.
- Minimized test maintenance – As we mentioned prior, the counter effect of a new build is an absolute necessity for test maintenance. Test maintenance is often the major contributor to an ineffective or slow regression testing process, finding ways to minimize it can help speed up and improve your testing protocols significantly. With the standard best practices for reducing test automation maintenance being consistent re-runs without failure.
- Deploy an automation tool to scale regression as the software grows. Some platforms can lock in contracts limiting the average monthly testing protocol deployment. With fluctuating testing needs, many QA testing teams end up paying for automation tools more than they need some months and being unable to conduct testing in others. That’s why it’s recommended deploying an automation tool with the right usage-based pricing that allows a significant scale up as per requirements.
5. Industry best practices for automated regression testing long-term?
Most QA teams believe that some testing is always better than no testing when it comes to the quality of your software.
While this claim holds ground, testing the wrong things in the wrong way can often cost in for a lot of time and resource investment without yielding in much visible results or significant quality improvements in the existing software.
Here we’ve covered a few detailed industry best practices that can help optimize testing practices right from the start and ensure zero time wastage or prevent unwarranted resource wastage and diversions.
6. Options available for automated regression testing tools?
Deploying a true no-code regression testing tool replicating real user behavior as per system UI, can help save time on maintaining test re-runs while tracking results for faster releases and time to market. Effective regression testing can be extremely beneficial at a relatively acceptable cost and time investment with the right tool deployment and decision making via the experts.
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