The 5 Main Issues with Your Regression Testing Strategy and How to Resolve Them

Testing your existing software to ensure that all its features are working fine, especially after newer developmental work, is called regression testing. Contrary to general understanding, such testing is essential to the development process because it can seek out defects in the early stages of production. When defects are spotted sooner, the overall cost of fixing them also lowers. The team makes collective efforts to implement regression testing in such a way that it renders itself effective and brings value. The plans followed by a team in this implementation attempt is called a regression testing strategy.

Regression testing strategies can face several hurdles in the way to succes. Common problems which crop us as challenges are as follows:

‌It is believed to add very little to the overall process of production since the same features are tested again.

‌It is considered un-appealing as a procedure by developers as well as testers.

‌ It is time consuming and seems at odds with agile methodologies.

‌It is not cost effective, hence making it difficult to justify its use.

‌ The visibility of real values is almost non-existent in the eyes of the management.

Regression testing adds little to the end product-

Many developers are reluctant to include regression testing in their software development procedure. The reason behind this is the idea that regression testing looks at those features which have already been tested once, and company coins could be better spent in testing new features. For the teams, it becomes difficult to draw the necessity of a regression test requirement. Hence, such testing is often neglected in favour of other novel, critical activities.

To improve your strategy

‌The whole team, at all levels, must be aware of the overarching benefits of bug discovery at early stages of development, and of other kinds of regression which may occur when there is an instance of development from one version to another, bringing in its wake, changes is- 1. Code quality 2. Development productivity 3. Reduced time and effort for manual testers 4. Acceptance tests.

‌The knowledge of previous scenarios where basic capabilities can stop working must be shared with the whole team, and even managers. The implications of such disturbances on the brand name and company activity must also be discussed in detail.

‌The statistical details on ROI on earlier bug detection must be shared as well.

Regression testing is critical

Since this process includes running same tests many times over, the team of testers can seem unmotivated to continue with the process. It is not an exciting part of the production procedure. The dull and monotonous nature of the tests sometimes demoralizes testers and developers to the extend that they miss tests, and sometimes misinterpret them altogether.

To improve your strategy:

‌It is important to remember that automated testing actually reduces the amount of manual labour which needs to go into testing.

‌To beat the problem of monotony, it is adviced that team members, or the whole team be changed in regular intervals so that they don’t feel stifled and stuck doing regression testing work. Giving them incentives to work better can also work.

‌Testers can also be taught about the necessity of regression testing in candid discussions and workshops which may teach them of their long term impact to the quality of product delivered at the end of the day.

‌If the metrics and benefits of the procedure are visible to the whole team, they will come to understand the necessity of the procedure.

The issue of slowing down

Since regression tests are supposed to be run after each development iteration, the whole process can rake up to a few days, if not weeks, especially if done manually or semi-manually. This is incompatible with agile iteration. Since development sprints is last not more than 2 weeks, regression testing taking up so much time can bring the whole process to a halt, hindering the progress of the overall project. Even automated regression testing can end stalling progress.

To improve your strategy

‌Firstly, automation is a must. While it can still delay the whole process, with automation, at least the costs are dramatically cut.

‌Prioritizing risk-based testing based on defect prone areas of software can be helpful.

‌ TIA (test impact analysis) helps to sort and execute only relevant teste from your regression suite, depending on where the code was changed.

The problem of expenditure

Automated regression testing does away with the high ongoing labour cost required in manual regression testing, yet, companies count testers’ salaries as bad expenses. Even for automated testing, there is the upfront cost of developing, troubleshooting, regression test suites, and tools. Even using open source would increase the cost of development and the cost to set things up.

To improve your strategy

‌Automating the tests is probably the best, most essential, first step. This is especially important to note for teams which are still running manual teats.

‌Another effective measure has been to conduct a risk-based testing, specifically on risk areas. This will prioritise those tests which generally focus on those areas of a software which are the most prone ro having defects or being affected by frequent changes.

‌Using QI platforms to track the progress of development teams can help identify those areas of code which can possibly have regressions.

The matter of visibility

One of the main reasons why regression testing may fail is the lack of clearly defined goals. It is essential to have an understanding of the set of aims which the team is trying to achieve and metrics to go along with the same.  If there are no records of the quality and results of the regression testing done so far, it’ll be impossible to gauge the extent of it’s impact on the software itself.

To improve your strategy:

‌The first thing is to actually define the goals and have a ready set of metrics for every test you do. These metrics will help the teams verify results which are of great business interest.

‌The ROI of seeking out bugs and resolving them early in the SDLC can prove to be useful. If the direct outcome of regression testing can be seen in terms of real company money, it’ll help everyone get a sense of it’s usefulness.

‌Using QI Platforms which point out the parts of the software which have been covered by tests and what were the tests which managed this coverage. This helps to scope out the importance and necessity of regression testing.

Conclusion

Irrespective of the trends of thoughts against the necessity of the process, regression testing, as we discovered in this article, is an integral part of the Software Development Life Cycle. If the strategy undertaken to implement the process is carefully crafted to deal with the issues which plague the endeavour and the discourse around it. By tweaking the strategic moves slightly, the benefits of regression testing can be presented to the developers, testers, and even the management. You can provide adequate reasoning and avoid the most common mistakes made in regression testing strategies.

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