Ways to improve regression testing in agile
Regression testing is crucial for every release as it puts a check on overall application quality. As we all know in the agile model things are fast, releases are quick and regression can become a bottleneck.
While agile offers numerous advantages by reducing ‘ship to market time’, it comes with its own challenges. For test engineers, this is particularly challenging to keep up with the pace of development and release with the iterative testing.
Also, after the launch of the application or any of its major features, the subsequent sprints become shorter while the regression suite keeps on growing because of added functionalities.
In order to keep up with the releases, the testing team often neglects the regression testing and focuses only on the functional testing of the new features which leads to open bugs in existing features.
So what is the solution? How to ensure that new as well as existing functionality remain intact with each release?
There are certain ways to optimize the regression testing time and also make it more effective.
- Prepare Regression suit consciously- Every test engineer should understand that regression tests should not be equal to functional tests. A conscious approach should be taken while preparing the regression tests. Also, we must keep the regression suite separate from the functional suits.
- Prioritization- If the regression suit has become quite big over subsequent releases, then we must prioritize the test cases. This prioritization requires good business knowledge as well as an architecture understanding of the application.
We can also take input from the developer and business analyst for better prioritization.
- Automation- Test automation is optimal for regression cases as they are repetitive and do not intend to change. Automate as much as possible. This will give you confidence and also save time and effort.
Strategies for effective regression testing in agile- The crux of any strategy for regression testing is the maximum coverage in the strict timelines.
- Categorization of Regression Test cases- One way is to group the regression suit into – critical, moderate, and low-risk cases. This can be achieved by identifying the modules which get impacted most in case of any feature gets added, changed in the application. This includes core modules of any application.
For eg- In an e-commerce website, the payment flow is always critical because any change or addition of any feature would require payment to be intact. Also, any bug in payment flow would cause a direct impact on business.
Further, we can prioritize the test cases in a particular category based on P0, P1, P2, etc
- Identify error-prone areas of application- Some areas are so error-prone that they usually fail even on a small change in the code. Include the test cases for those areas.
- Identify recent bugs and include test cases for them- When selecting test cases for regression, it is always useful to keep track of recent bugs and related test cases. If not already present, write test cases for them and include them in the regression pack.
- Use of sanity and smoke tests- For a quick regression, we can also run smoke tests as we get a new build from the development team. This saves a lot of time in case the build is faulty.
Sanity tests can be executed before release instead of full regression pack if release consists of quick fixes and not major changes. Essentially sanity tests are a subset of regression tests plus some high priority cases of new functionality.
- Include all Integration tests- Integration tests are of high importance as they check for a complete flow. So it is always wise to include them in the regression suite. A quick fix at the last minute can break the interface between two modules or can introduce bugs in their communication channel.
- Invest in Automation- It is always important to automate as many test cases as you can. This is a long term investment that eventually provides benefits. Also, automation enables regular scheduling and execution of test cases which gives confidence to the testing team.
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