With customer experience driving enterprises towards delivering better quality products, they are going the Agile-DevOps way. In this, any product or service needs to be continuously upgraded to meet the changing realities of the day. The realities may include the following:
- Advent of new technologies that have the potential to increase efficiency, quality, and productivity
- Changing customer preferences about products or specific features of any product
- New and better quality products being brought to the table by the competitors
- The products need to comply with the new security or industry guidelines
- The products should be workable across devices, browsers, or operating systems, and their updates
Therefore, while in pursuit of Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI and CD) goals as required by Agile and DevOps, the product needs to be updated periodically. While this is a good practice, for it ensures the product remains trendy and technically superior, it can be challenging as well. The updates to one part of the software or the whole software can trigger unlikely changes. These changes can affect the smooth functioning of the software or introduce glitches. So, on one side, the software is updated in consonance with the market or customer demand, on the other, it fails to deliver the best customer experience. To pre-empt such a situation from developing, the QA team performs software regression testing.
It is a type of testing that ensures the functionality of an application is not affected by a fix or change made in that application. When a tested software undergoes a fix or update, which does not necessarily affect the whole software, the QA team does not test all the modules. Instead, only a few test cases are executed ensuring adequate test coverage. Any regression testing in software testing can be a fit for test automation due to the overwhelming number of repetitive tests to be conducted.
QA regression testing accrues a number of benefits for the QA team. These include
- Ensuring any changes (enhancements or bug fixes) made to the application or a specific module of the application do not affect the tested code
- Improving the overall quality of the product and making it trendy and customer friendly
- Reducing the testing time as only a limited area of the software is tested
- Identifying the bugs or glitches causing the issue and fixing them
- Helping to implement a Continuous Integration (CI) setup. Here a build triggered by a code is tested automatically in the form of an automated regression testing
With time, some myths have gained credence in the minds of QA testers related to regression testing.
Limited testing of functionalities may not be a good idea: Here, instead of testing the already tested codes, only a specific area/feature/functionality of the software is tested. And since the entire software is not tested, the glitches triggered by the fixes or updates in one part of the application may not be identified. This is where the QA specialists need to be meticulous with their planning.
Automation is mandatory to plan any regression testing strategy: Since repeated testing of the already tested code (not the whole application) is done in such type of testing, automation is preferred to save time. However, this does not mean that manual testing can be completely replaced. It is helpful to get a human insight into testing, which automated testing may not always offer. Also, test automation requires proper maintenance of test scripts and test cases lest they deliver the wrong outcome. Further, in cases where quick fixes are needed, manual testing can do the necessary QA regression testing since test automation may take time to setup.
Regression testing lasts long: Any automated regression testing can check and recheck the codes, which no manual checking can accomplish in a reasonable period. Since the scope of testing is small, the testing need not take ages to complete.
Regression testing is not obligatory: This is often put forth by enterprises that give precedence to ‘faster time to market’. However, doing away with regression testing services can backfire as any quick fix to an already tested product can trigger changes elsewhere. And without identifying and fixing those changes (read inclusion of glitches or bugs,) the final product will not be of superior quality.
Notwithstanding the above-mentioned myths, the need for regression testing has become mandatory given the frequent updates received by software applications. It helps QA specialists to do away with any unfavorable changes to the application and delivers the best possible user experience.