What Is Regression Testing?
Small changes can have big consequences. That’s why teams do regression testing. Regression testing makes sure that code changes don’t break anything. It catches bugs early on in new builds. Without regression testing, it’s more difficult, time-intensive, and expensive to find defects. Get the ultimate overview of the role of regression testing in software testing in this blog.
Read along or jump ahead to the section that interests you most:
- What Is Regression Testing?
- What Is Regression Testing in Agile?
- Why Automated Regression Testing Is Important
- The Benefits of Regression Testing in Agile
- How to Manage Automated Regression Testing
- Best Practices for Automated Regression Testing in Agile
- Get Started With Regression Testing Software
What Is Regression Testing?
Regression testing means software testing that verifies recent changes — either to the program or code — didn’t negatively impact the existing features of the software.
What Is Regression Testing in Agile?
Regression testing makes sure recent changes don't impact existing features. In Agile, regression testing means helping teams focus on developing (new) functionality while maintaining a stable product.
Regression testing in Agile is best done with test automation and continuous testing tools. This keeps teams focused on innovation through new features and releases. It reveals defects early on in the process. This reduces risk as well as the time it takes developers to fix them.
Why Automated Regression Testing Is Important
Regression testing can be done manually. But it's better to automate it. Automated regression testing is important to ensure test coverage and accuracy as your regression test suites grow.
As software features are released at a record pace, new updates are useless if they break other program features. Companies must make sure their software is performing at peak potential with every single update they release.
It can be tough to keep up with all the requirements changes, feedback from production, and the timing of new software iterations. It’s difficult to stay up to date — and more importantly — to appropriately adapt.
That’s why you need test automation.
The Benefits of Regression Testing in Agile
Now that you know what regression testing means, let's discuss its benefits. Simply put, it's an essential piece of the testing lifecycle and DevOps process.
It helps find major defects after an update and soon enough so that it can be fixed with minimal impact on customers.
It creates a risk mitigation strategy so that companies can stay ahead of the curve with changes and fix problems before they really become issues.
It modifies code for new features so that the software can still meet any requirements or business flows without causing problems.
It can run 24/7 which frees up testers for exploratory testing.
How to Manage Automated Regression Testing
When it comes to managing automated regression testing, there are a few must-ask questions and key considerations to keep in mind.
Test Case Certification
Which test cases are certified and which aren’t? This will help you determine which to include in your regression suite. Check out this free on-demand webinar that will guide you to know exactly which tests to automate.
What does your execution schedule for the regression suite look like? Think about whether it will be beneficial to do this weekly, daily, or by some other schedule.
Execution From the Main CI Engine
Will all regression tests in the regression suite be executed from the main CI engine? Or are there others executed from a different scheduler?
Maintenance and Improvements
What triggers regression suite maintenance and improvements? Are there certain events that inspire maintenance?
Are you continuously analyzing the value of your tests? Find out which are flaky, which aren’t producing the value you need, etc. Adapt to what you determine your testing needs.
One round isn’t enough. Performing continuous testing is how you’ll get the most out of your regression tests, and it should be a process incorporated into overall DevOps.
Best Practices for Automated Regression Testing in Agile
Here are our top best practices for leveraging automated regression testing in Agile.
1. Understand Scope
Testing can vary in scope, time windows, platform coverage, and objectives. It’s important to understand the differences in these scopes if you’re running sprint-level regression tests or full regression test cycles.
2. Stay Up-to-Date on Regression Suites
Like all types of testing, you need to stay up to date with your regression suites. Keep in mind both the high-value functional and the non-functional scenarios. Always maintain the high-priority, high-value test cases in your suite. Ensure that your entire team is aligned to which test cases are top priority.
3. Automate the Right Tests
If a test is difficult to automate or scale, you’re risking the whole cycle and are better off leaving it out. If a test is not able to be automated, strongly consider leaving it out of the regression suite.
4. Stay on Top of Change
Change is a constant, especially in web and mobile software development. This means you must have a process to stay aware of necessary modifications, whether it is changes in features or Agile requirements. Communication among developers and testers is essential so that changes do not fall through the cracks.
5. Track ROI
ROI is important. Teams should always keep track of the ROI of executions. Make sure that regression suite reports are transparent, and that you can see the real results of test executions over time.
6. Grade Test Scenarios
Compare and track what the differences are when processes and tests are run on different platforms. We also recommend assigning grades to test scenarios, so that you’re ensuring you’re properly prioritizing.
Know why tests failed and fix them quickly with Perfecto’s test reporting. See all your test results in one unified place — including a CI dashboard, heatmaps, and individual test reports. Rich artifacts like screenshots, videos, HAR files, and vitals help you understand what went wrong. And ML-powered noise filtering keeps you focused on real defects, not noise.
Perfecto can help you leverage automated regression testing — and test more, faster. Try Perfecto’s all-in-one cloud testing platform. See how easy it is to create, execute, and analyze tests. Explore for 240 free minutes, test real user conditions, and get detailed analytics.