Folks in the software industry, particularly developers and testers, would agree that more the features introduced in the product, there is a higher probability of bug discoverability. Does this mean that the respective teams are lagging behind in rigorously testing the product? Definitely not!
With Agile and Continuous Testing becoming more & more relevant, software teams have to ensure that the introduction of new features is not hampering the workability of the existing product features. Every time the application undergoes changes, teams need to perform timely regression testing. Partnering with a regression testing company can help businesses in formulating & optimizing regression testing strategy.
Focus on regression testing also makes technical and business sense, since a significant part of the software life-cycle consists of maintenance and feature upgrades. The impact of the regression test suite(s) depends on the overall design of the test suite(s), which is the point of discussion of this blog.
The first & foremost thing is avoid the usage & maintenance of decentralized and redundant regression test suites. By the end of this blog, you (and your team) would be in a position to optimize regression tests for driving faster impactful results.
What is Regression Testing?
As discussed earlier, new feature enhancements or bug fixes must not cause any side-effects on the working product functionalities. Unit testing might not suffice in such cases since that will only test ‘single unit’ of the product. In other words, it only tests a particular module and issues might occur when it is tested in the integration stage.
Rigorous regression testing can come handy in testing the new features to ensure that no side-effects are introduced on the working functionalities of the product. Though QA engineers are involved in running the regression test suites, it is recommended to also involve developers in the test process.
The collaboration helps in improving the test coverage and unearthing more bugs using regression test suites. The effectiveness of regression testing purely depends on the design of the suite, which is why it becomes important to optimize the suites.
How To Optimize Regression Test Suites?
As per my experience, here are some of the proven & effective ways for optimizing regression test suites:
Test Selection for Regression Test Suites
The fundamental question that needs to be asked is “What tests should be a part of the regression test suite”? Tests that help in testing the various aspects (or features) of the product must be a part of the test suite.
Akin to code reusability, emphasis must be given to reusable regression tests (or test suites), maintainable regression tests, and re-testable tests. Periodic analysis of the tests have to be done to ensure that obsolete tests are no longer a part of the suite.
Testers (with support from developers) must design regression tests in a manner that they are more reusable and maintainable. A different category of regression tests has to be created for covering tests that are currently not a part of the suite. Such a strategy will improve the effectiveness of the regression test suites.
Rigorous Tracking of Regression Test Suites
Just like software testing mechanisms, checkpoints should be kept in place for effective tracking of the suite changes. An ideal manner to achieve the same is by creating a way of connecting the ‘test scenario’ with the corresponding ‘product feature’.
Such a mechanism goes a long way in updating the respective regression test whenever there are changes in the feature that is being tested through the test.
In ideal scenarios, the test manager along with the team of QA engineers must shoulder the responsibility of tracking the changes in the regression test suites.
Cleanup of Regression Test Suites
How is tracking different from cleanup of tests? During the process of product development & testing, there is a possibility of adding ad-hoc test scenarios that might not hold relevance in the long run.
An example is a test scenario that was written for testing feature(s) that is no longer a part of the end-product. Not only this, regular reviews of the regression test suites will be helpful in improving the maintainability of the suites.
Bloatware must not be a part of the development code as well as the test code. Regular cleanup and review of the regression tests will go a long way in improving the quality of the tests.
Devise Performance Metrics
As mentioned earlier, ad-hoc changes in the regression tests will only dilute the overall purpose of the tests. Hence, regular cleanup of the regression tests is an absolute necessity.
Even after the above best practices are followed, it still becomes important to devise a mechanism to measure the effectiveness of the regression test suite. The performance of the test suite can be measured by creating a metric that tracks the ‘number of defects’ found using the respective regression tests.
Lower the number means that the corresponding regression test suite has not been effective in identifying issues in the product. The intent must be to improve the ‘metric numbers’ so that regression tests in the suite help in unearthing problems in the product.
Partner with Regression Testing Services Company
What if the team does not have expertise in devising maintainable and reusable regression tests? In such cases, it is recommended to onboard a proven regression testing services company like KiwiQA that has expertise in developing regression tests for a wide range of clients.
Such a partnership will help in accelerating the regression testing efforts, which in-turn helps in reducing the time to market. This is because both development and testing can be executed at a faster pace.
Regression testing is an important part of software development and testing. Hence, it is important to devise a robust regression testing strategy. To enhance the impact of regression test suites, it is recommended to partner with a proven regression testing services company that has expertise in devising and running regression tests at a large scale. The pointers mentioned in this blog will be helpful for organizations looking to leverage the potential offered by regression testing.