In the digital world in which we exist today, there is a saying—launch early and launch often. With this effort for continuous improvement and agile iterations comes the need to test updates and changes to every kind of software in every phase of implementation. So, while your dev team is working hard to find and fix defects, a key aspect of that work is the importance of using both manual and automated testing to ensure that the fixes did not damage other functionality. Regression testing should be inherent in every level of operations, and in every form of testing. In short, regression testing is everything! (Side note: Check out our blog on 4 surprising benefits of regression testing!)
What Could Go Wrong?
Developers all over the globe are on a mission to make products better and more efficient in order to grow a userbase and audience. However, along with that success comes even more website traffic and other complications that leave websites vulnerable to failures and crashes. A successful operation relies on regression testing to address the pain points that come along with growth and system changes. Making both manual and automated regression testing an integral part of a robust test process is the best way to stay relevant and to guarantee the integrity of products, even as they evolve.
Top 4 Pain Points
- Adding New Features: Testing will identify gaps in the functionality and performance to ensure the services aligns properly with the new features.
- Modifying Code: Regression testing will identify defects introduced from modified code before being pushed to production.
- Identify High Risk Components: Testing can monitor the aspects of the system or code that are most vulnerable to failures in code and function.
- Monitor Performance: Testing can provide ongoing verification of product quality at all lifecycle stages.
Your Product Stability Depends on It
Regression testing is not isolated to ensuring a seamless user experience. Rather, it is a phase of work that is critical to product stability and even website accessibility compliance. Benefits of regression testing include:
- Regression testing can identify issues introduced when remediating other problems. As unit changes occur, detecting new and/or reintroduced functional defects is critical to maintaining product quality.
- Regression testing is the most effective way to ensure your product works holistically. This end-to-end testing is particularly important because, as products grow in size, unexpected dependencies and hidden defects can occur. These dependencies can be missed while performing simple bug verification or feature testing.
- Regression testing can deliver a comprehensive product health-check snapshot so product owners and stakeholders can effectively plan future sprints.
- Regression testing can also expose usability issues that are often missed in highly focused feature testing.
What it Takes to Do it Well
Regression testing is vital in your effort to maintain the best user experience and to make sure that when a defect is fixed, it stays fixed. A complete system approach is needed in order to address vulnerabilities. QualityLogic gives focus to the following:
- Organize defect tracking to isolate and prioritize defect and correction verification tests
- Unique natural language recognition AI to identify duplicate test cases and improve the efficiency of the overall regression test
- Assemble regression test suites for each release
- Integrate regression test suites into the test framework for execution against evolving releases
- Parse regression tests to assist with assessment of development process improvements
- Develop a consistent policy for regression testing
- Identify application areas with high risk of failure
Big Picture Best Practices for Regression Testing
Based on the agile principles of continuous improvement, as software and hardware evolve, so too does the need for robust testing programs. It is also important to look at the big picture and how to be proactive in the pursuit of maximum functionality. QualityLogic has identified the following best practices for the development of regression testing systems today and in the future.
- Regression as a source of truth & evolution. The purpose of a regression test is to determine the actual state of the product vs. the historical state of the product to determine whether the functionality has regressed. The success relies on a well-defined suite of test cases that have clear, unambiguous pass/fail criteria. The goal is to take subjectivity out of the test cases so that many different people in very different frames of mind can all go through the test with a reliable pass or fail.
- Test cases are a source of truth. Because test cases represent tangible reality, they need to be very clearly defined in order to track the trends and quality of function. In order for the insight to be validated, there needs to be a clearly tracked history of passes and fails for test cases to ensure functionality is not regressing. Through this process, we can determine that the current state of the products have or have not regressed based on comparisons to the past state of the products.
- Holistic vs. focused regression testing. An important thing to understand from a business perspective is whether the purpose of the regression test is supposed to be holistic or focused. Will the regression testing exercise the entire product and its workflows or, for cost savings, will it be focused on specific areas of the product? A focused regression can be very useful due to its cost savings but it requires that the product be built in a very modular way such that there is a high degree of confidence that when code is altered in one area that it will not affect code in another area.
- Regular updates. Because regression testing is about the state of the product, the accuracy of our understanding of that state of the product is dependent on the test cases. However, it is undoubtedly the case that the features that the test cases describe will change as new iterations of the product are released. Thus, it is absolutely essential that the test cases are updated regularly to reflect the changes to the product.
Your Reputation is on the Line
All of this is to say that regression testing provides transparency that supports the organization’s understanding of exactly what the code will and won’t do. The regression test suite is the first line of defense against defect leakage into public releases. To be effective, it must be scrupulously reviewed and maintained.
Making regression testing an integral part of a manual and automation strategy is the best way to defend against errors that could compromise the stability of the product and the reputation of your company.
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