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Regression testing: 10 principles

March 1, 2020

What is a regression test?

Regression is "the phenomenon that the quality of a system as a whole declines as a result of individual modifications" (TMap Next, 2006). To prevent damage due to these software errors, a regression test is performed.

The purpose of regression testing is to determine whether all system components continue to function properly after implementing one or more changes. Regression testing is also recommended after resolving open test findings.

In short, a regression test set is a valuable tool to secure the continuity of the IT landscape.

Chalkboard saying test.

"Regression is the phenomenon that the quality of a system as a whole declines as a result of individual adjustments."

How does a regression test work?

Below we list the ten most important principles in regression testing. Keep in mind that the main premise of regression testing is to ensure continuity towards the business.

Work towards a mature regression test in small manageable steps. Our test consultants are happy to help you guide this process or make it easier with our solutions. You can always schedule a no-obligation consultation with us. We are happy to help you on your way.

An overview of ten important aspects when building a regression test set:

  1. Lay down in the project acceptance criteria that the testware prepared in the project is transferred to management upon completion. This testware actually contains a good basis for the regression test set of the delivered system (component). This saves a lot of time and avoids reinventing the ubiquitous wheel.
  2. In particular, regression testing focuses on the relationship between the changed and unchanged parts, since this is where the likelihood of errors is greatest. Tests in which individual functionality is tested are less relevant.
  3. Limited time and resources is by definition a challenge in any form of testing. Therefore, even when assembling a regression test set to base it on product risks applies. The components with the greatest potential damage (and error probability) are scrutinized first and most thoroughly.
  4. Although both right and wrong paths are tested in projects, it makes sense to limit regression testing entirely to the right paths (akahappy flows).
  5. A major challenge in regression testing is keeping the test cases and test scenarios up-to-date. Therefore, make sure that the regression test set is set up in a way that the set is easy to maintain When functionalities change, the tests need to be updated accordingly. For example, in Testersuite , test scenarios are compiled based on test cases. As a result, only the test case needs to be changed and the change is immediately implemented in all test scenarios that use this test case.
  6. Although assembling an initial regression test set is a time-consuming challenge, this invested time is recouped as regression tests reuse this test set. This payback, by the way, is still completely separate from the "recouped" costs by preventing production disruptions.
  7. For large releases, the entire regression test set is often run. However, it is not exceptional for small ad hoc changes to cause major regression problems. The urge to solve a production problem quickly is often greater than the awareness to test the solution for regression in a structured manner. By building the regression test set scalably, it can also be scheduled as a subset. In this way, the test set is useful for both ad hoc changes and planned major maintenance.
  8. Securing large quantities of test cases and test scenarios is a huge challenge, especially since, in addition to securing the tests, the executed tests (including test results) must also be preserved. Content management of test cases and test scenarios on a network drive is a full-time job. Ensure overview and version control by central storage, for example by using a test management tool such as Testersuite.
  9. Who owns (read: guards!) the regression test set? This is preferably someone with testing expertise who is not working in the project organization. This person can oversee use and reuse of the regression test set, as well as take care of updating the regression test set.
  10. The more often the regression test is performed, the higher the quality and the more detailed the test set. This makes it possible to partially (!) automate tests that are executed repeatedly and do not change often. automate. This results in a considerable saving of time!

With small changes, the testing effort to exclude regression is many times greater than testing the small change itself. For this reason, it is wise to consider implementing changes as a release. A broader regression test can then be planned and the test effort is more in proportion to the number of changes.

Regression test example

Every situation is different. There are numerous different examples and methodologies of building a regression test set. From our past in test consulting we have a lot of experience with this. We also have numerous examples from Testersuite users on how to build a regression test set. When you schedule a no-obligation consultation with us we will be happy to show you how to build and execute a regression test.

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