Redeveloping and updating software and coding can present a host of problems if the changes unexpectedly affect their features or functions. Coding problems are such a headache, but catching them early (namely, before customers do) can certainly help your business out.Regression testing is a great way to discover unplanned changes and fix them, preserving the efficiency of your #product and the reputation of your #business. Click To Tweet
What Is Regression Testing?
Regression testing is a coding practice that checks software still functions as it did previously after changing the code or other development changes. Also known as non-regression testing, the process mitigates the risk of software malfunctions because of code changes. It involves recreating a former test to ensure the same results occur after the changes, indicating the software has not regressed.
Why “non-regression testing?” You might expect the terms to have different meanings, but actually, they are the same. The purpose of the regression test, whichever name you use for it, is to ensure the software hasn’t returned to a less developed state.
Why Is Regression Testing Important?
It’s important for the software’s functionality that developers not allow any changes, even minor ones, to go beyond their control. While it may seem counterintuitive to significantly test live or existing features, quickly finding and resolving bugs is important for customer satisfaction and retention.
So, why is regression testing important – plainly put, because even the most talented, detail-attentive developers make mistakes. The error is only a problem if it’s undiscovered and unresolved. End users will be unsatisfied if an implemented fix breaks something else.
Depending on the project management style executed within your business, the testers responsible for checking software may be unaware of the changes made during development.
What’s the Difference Between Retesting and Regression Testing?
Regression testing is important for discovering glitches after a coding change. Retesting is running the test again after a dataset fails the regression test and has undergone further development to rectify the additional problem.
You carry out retesting based on defect fixes. Regression testing is essentially a type of retest but is only done when a new version becomes available. Exhaustive regression testing is not a valid process. After the initial regression test for a fix, all further testing is a retest.
Once you have retested all elements of the software that required attention and the program goes through further development, you would then perform further regression testing instead of retesting.
Why Should You Do Regression Testing?
Both automated and manual regression testing are especially important for larger software projects. The more scope a development project has, the easier it is for a bug to go unnoticed. End users are unlikely to have patience for glitchy programming, even if it results from an attempt to implement a fix elsewhere in the software.
If you’re in the SaaS space or another area where software is a critical component of your business, frustrated end-users can dramatically alter the reputation of your software and, therefore, the success of your business.
What Can Regression Testing Do for Your Business?
Especially when you’re on a tight budget, it’s challenging to understand why you should allocate funds for testing features you’ve tested before. If you view regression testing as an expensive waste of time, you’re not alone.
If you — or your management team — don’t see the benefit of regression testing, re-frame it as the last check before delivering a valuable product to your customers.
Project Management Structure
If your organization follows a Waterfall structure for project management, it’s even more important to perform regression testing. If the developers aren’t responsible for testing software and testers are unaware of what the developers changed, it makes sense that no team members will find a bug before a customer does.
How to Select Cases for Testing
A major aspect of the expense of regression testing is the time involved. To minimize the time, and therefore cost, involved in the testing process, selecting the right test cases is important.
Effective strategizing will ensure an efficient process.
If you cannot run a large, inclusive test suite, note which features were most likely affected by the recent development. Estimate the time involved in testing these features. When using automation tools, be sure to design the test environment to mimic anticipated scenarios closely.
Is Regression Testing Relevant to My Business?
Today, many businesses, regardless of industry, are software-related. Even if you don’t manage a software or SaaS company, it’s possible there is an app connected to your business. Are you aware of the uninstall rate of most apps? 80% deletion after just a single-use.
If regression testing applies to your business, it should be part of the budget expenses.
Automated or Manual Testing?
Both manual and automated testing are valid options you can employ. Whether you choose one over the other may vary on a case-by-case basis.
The value of an automated test lies in the lack of human resources it requires. This means it can be faster, cheaper, and lack human error. So much regression testing is repetitive, so it could be the ideal area of your business to automate.
If cost and time are prohibitive to regression testing for your business, consider if automated testing could work for you.
The benefit of manual testing comes from the possibility of human error. This may sound contradictory to the paragraph written above. Consider that the bug present in your software occurred because of a mistake an employee made. Would you prepare an automated test capable of catching this bug?
The likelihood is, no, you won’t. There are situations where the features that require testing are too complex for an automated protocol. While it may be less efficient to test these areas manually, an automated test isn’t effective if it misses these errors.
Will You Implement Regression Testing?
While there may be development scenarios in which you deem performing regression testing unnecessary or perhaps irrelevant, in most instances, it could be one of the most beneficial processes you implement.
If you’re looking to elevate your business to the next level, do regression testing to ensure your product is an essential part of your project management.
Erik is the MIT-educated COO and Co-Founder of ProdPerfect. He loves unleashing the potential of the great folks in the world and loves helping make decisions with facts. A couple years ago he co-founded ProdPerfect, where he helps his team grow personally and improve their ability to help people solve QA problems. He also helps customers use actual live data–instead of educated guesses–when deciding what tests to write and maintain. In his spare time he podcasts and writes books about making fact-based decisions in business and politics.