Software often changes due to additional source code, new security patches, or functionality updates. But these changes need to be verified via regression tests. So, what is regression testing?
Regression Testing Explained
Regression tests ensure that the previous functionalities of software continue to operate after adding new ones. Any changes in the source code of one part of the software can cause an unwelcomed impact on other functionalities. That is why regression testing is a critical part of testing and QA. Regression testing catches bugs that may have been introduced into a new build, apart from ensuring that the previous bugs no longer exist. So, efficient regression testing is crucial to all testing cycles.
But how does one improve regression testing efficiency without leaving out critical test cases? The answer is by prioritizing regression testing of those areas of the software that are most likely to be affected by the recent changes.
Why is it Necessary to Prioritize Test Cases for Software Regression Testing?
Over several development cycles, regression testing suites can become humongous, with thousands of different tests to cover. So, regression testing can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, making it vital to pick the correct, high-priority test cases.
● Large projects can involve several thousand hours of regression tests. There are also cases wherein test execution can take up the entire sprint. Not only does this take up time and effort, but it also makes software regression testing an expensive affair.
● Regression tests usually involve a certain degree of retesting, i.e., the same tests run iteratively. These repetitive tests put testers under tremendous pressure to find critical bugs. Sometimes bugs slip through despite best efforts. Here, test case prioritization becomes all the more necessary.
● Prioritizing test cases will reduce the overall time spent on testing and reduce costs, apart from enabling a faster time-to-market.
● It motivates testers to practice critical thinking and focus on higher-value tasks.
● Additionally, testers can identify all the critical faults early in the cycle and reduce the associated costs to correct them.
How to Select Suitable Regression Test Cases?
To answer this question, one must go back to the basics of regression testing. Since regression testing is the last phase of testing before market release, it becomes a critical activity. Any delays can lead to negative marketing, missed deadlines, and angry customers. On the other hand, prioritizing test cases based on time and importance will ensure the timely completion of a test cycle.
Here’s how you can identify the test cases for your regression test suite.
● Test cases that yield bugs frequently
Over the production cycle, one can identify test cases that fail more frequently. The areas of the software that these test cases cover are often fragile and usually malfunction after a change. These cases need to be prioritized and added to the regression test suite.
● Test cases that cover business-critical functionalities
Based on the business requirements document, you can identify the core aspects of the software. Ensure the regression test includes all the test cases covering these core functions. You can also use a traceability matrix to round up all high-priority cases.
● Test cases that cover frequently altered pieces of code
Many parts of the software undergo frequent changes. These parts are more susceptible to defects. So, you should include them in your regression suite. Moreover, include test cases for functionalities that have recently changed.
● Integration test cases
In practice, integration tests are in a separate module. But it’s critical to include them in the regression suite too, which will ensure no last-minute changes disrupt the flow between different modules.
● Field validation test cases
These are negative test cases that cover field validations. Mandatory fields in a form need to be filled, without which users cannot move to the next stage.
● Complex test cases
Many system functionalities depend on complex pathways that involve GUI sequences. As the system becomes complex, issues can creep up in sequencing. Thus, complex test cases also need to be covered in regression tests.
Most experts advise using a risk-based testing approach wherein test cases are ranked based on certain factors and then chosen according to priority. These prioritized tests guarantee time, effort, and cost savings.
For simplification, test cases fall into three classes.
● High priority – These include business-critical functionalities, error-prone modules, and recently changed modules. These test cases deliver very high project value.
● Medium priority – These include negative test case scenarios and complex test cases. These test cases can also significantly impact business value.
● Low priority – The are UI and other stable test cases. These are last on the priority list and should only be included if necessary.
High and medium priority test cases should be a part of every regression testing sprint, while low priority cases run only once before the final release.
Regression testing is a crucial part of every software development cycle. But the time it takes to complete, along with the added costs, can be a hindrance. So, a solid test automation solution can bridge the gap. Avo Assure is a robust, no-code automation solution that allows end-to-end regression testing with more than 90% coverage. Moreover, it offers a suite of features such as a pre-built keyword library, intelligent reporting, and cross-platform testing that make setting up regression test cycles much easier. Avo Assure also helped a leading financial institution in the US automate their regression testing, reducing their testing time from 3 weeks to a mere 21 hours.
To learn more about how Avo Assure can help your enterprise automate software regression tests, schedule a demo today.