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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.
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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. Recent changes can range from fixing bugs to adding or updating features.
Software 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.
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.
When it comes to managing regression testing with automation, there are a few must-ask questions and key considerations to keep in mind.
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.
Will all regression tests in the regression suite be executed from the main CI engine? Or are there others executed from a different scheduler?
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.
Here are our top best practices for leveraging automated regression testing in Agile.
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.
To build a successful regression testing suite, it is essential to clarify what’s important for you, as well as the product team, your customers, and other stakeholders.
Questions you should ask yourself include:
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.
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.
Change is a constant, especially in web and mobile software development. This means you must have a process to stay aware of necessary modifications, from changes in features or new Agile requirements.
Another area of web and mobile software development that is constantly changing is the application capabilities themselves. Teams must be prepared to incorporate testing of these more advanced features into their regression testing suites, such as:
Communication among developers and testers is essential so that changes do not fall through the cracks.
There are various tools out there to help you organize and scale your regression testing processes, such as CI/CD tools. But it is important to organize your tests first before getting involved with CI/CD; Scaling too quickly might lead to wasting valuable resources.
ROI is important. Teams should always keep track of the ROI of executions. Make sure that reports from your regression testing tools are transparent, and that you can see the real results of test executions over time.
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.
DevOps Chief Evangelist & Sr. Director at Perforce Software, Perfecto
Eran Kinsbruner is a person overflowing with ideas and inspiration, beyond that, he makes them happen. He is a best-selling author, continuous-testing and DevOps thought-leader, patent-holding inventor (test exclusion automated mechanisms for mobile J2ME testing), international speaker, and blogger.
With a background of over 20 years of experience in development and testing, Eran empowers clients to create products that their customers love, igniting real results for their companies.