There’s an interesting trend in software development, regardless of its type or platform. Aside from improvements, each subsequent iteration of code also brings its fair share of issues. For example, compatibility problems may arise when integrating new components with older fragments.
Regression automation testing is conducted between development stages to detect any flaws associated with software modifications.Mikhail BodnarchukCDO, ZappleTech Inc.
The main goal of the regression testing strategy is to prevent issues from seeping into future versions of the IT solution and eliminate potential code breaks caused by adding new features to the program’s core.
Since it involves many minor tests and is quite time-consuming, it doesn’t make sense to carry it out manually. However, even automating regression testing, this type of verification can be a challenging task. Today, we’ll discuss the right way to organize the process of regression automation testing.
The experts at the automation testing company ZappleTech have prepared material that explains the following:
- The importance of conducting regression automation testing.
- Its benefits for the development and quality assurance of IT products.
- The challenges that may arise in this process and how to avoid them.
- The most commonly used approaches and techniques.
- The advantages of outsourcing the testing process.
- How to choose a reliable service provider.
Table of Contents
Definition and Importance of Regression Testing
Testing is an integral part of the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC), and automation testing, in particular, is gaining significant traction.
The QA market, specifically AQA (Automated QA), reached a capitalization of $24.7 billion in 2022 and continues to grow at an impressive CAGR of 16.4%. This surge in popularity is driven by developers and IT product owners increasingly focusing on the quality of digital solutions.
Regression automation testing holds a special place among the classic IT product testing methods. It ensures the software operates as intended, even after all code modifications.
Moreover, it plays a crucial role in shaping a digital project. In general, regression automation software testing it is employed for three typical objectives:
To ensure that the software still meets its requirements
With each iteration, something new is introduced to the product—added lines of code or updated formats of certain fragments. It’s essential to ensure that the original concept of the IT solution remains intact and that the new changes haven’t adversely affected the system’s overall functionality.
Regression automation testing allows us to confirm whether the digital product functions correctly and in successful integration test cases whether there’s been any negative impact on its core elements.
However, regression testing goes beyond that. It’s also important to test coverage ensure no new defects have emerged and to localize and address them when necessary.
To identify new defects that may have been introduced
It’s impossible to predict the full impact of new code on the entire system. Often, even the slightest adjustment may result in new bugs that are hard to trace through regular means.
Regression automation testing helps detect and localize these newly arising issues caused by code additions or corrections.
The algorithms created for automated regression testing utilize ready-made sets of checks adapted to the current state of the product. This approach not only saves time for QA specialists but also helps optimize the budget.
To save time and money
If testing were done entirely manually, it would consume a vast amount of time. Resources would only be sufficient to verify the current state of the product or its new functionalities, leaving the older parts in a precarious state.
Regression automation testing allows us to test the reaction of the IT solution to changes without involving an extensive workforce or extending deadlines.
In conclusion, this provides an opportunity to save the budget and utilize it later for scaling or promoting the newly developed software. The benefits of automation extend far beyond, and we have only scratched the surface of its advantages.
Benefits of Automation in Regression Testing
Automation of processes, just like RPA and AI, has been a trend of the past decade and will continue to thrive. It has permeated all industries and niches, including IT, with a particular focus on QA. Specifically, to automate the regression testing process, automation testing empowers experts in this field to handle a vast array of tasks without the need for many specialists.
Resource-saving is the primary advantage of QA automation, but it’s not the only one.
When we look at the automation of testing processes, we see employ regression testing suite as a combination of manual checks, result verification, and algorithm creation. This sequence of actions becomes cyclic and streamlined, reducing the number of specialists involved in the QA process. Now, let’s look at the benefits of regression automation testing.
Reduced time and cost
Regression testing involves a set of tests to verify whether the system retains its existing functionality after specific changes. This test suite often applies to regular iterations that expand the software’s capabilities.
To minimize the time and cost spent on regression testing, it is always automated.
This allows a part of the team to be freed from routine tasks and redirect their productivity to address current project issues.
The cyclical and autonomous nature of regression automation testing helps minimize the influence of human factors on the results.
The accuracy and efficiency of bug detection through manual means can never match the level of automation, especially in regression, where there is a linear dependency between the number of regression tests done and their significance.
Thus, automation of this type of testing is critically important for the entire QA process.
Combining the benefits of regression automation testing results in a generalized advantage – efficiency of mobile regression test automation suite. More precisely, the productivity and effectiveness of this process.
The Cost-Benefit Ratio (CBR) is a metric used to assess the extent to which the process’s costs align with its performance. Regression testing concerns whether QA experts can explore the functionality of a a new feature by iteration with existing features/code promptly.
While manual software regression and testing might be time-consuming, costly, and inefficient, regression automation testing allows for timely examination of software behavior and a relatively accurate determination of its current state.
Automation algorithms consist of a combination of test cases merged into a single (or multiple identical) scenario. It can be modified or edited when necessary, meaning it can be reused, optimized, and adapted to the project’s current needs.
This is another significant advantage of regression automation testing, allowing for almost limitless scalability of algorithms.
This adaptability makes the automation process highly effective for QA, particularly in automated regression tests for testing different digital product versions.
Despite all the advantages mentioned, regression automation testing does have some drawbacks or challenges for professionals. We will discuss some of them in more detail later on.
Challenges and Bottlenecks Faced in Regression Testing
First and foremost, it’s essential to clarify that the mentioned challenges and bottlenecks regarding automation are situational, meaning they don’t always occur. They also relate to the general understanding of regression automation testing processes rather than their specificity.
It’s worth noting that some drawbacks may overlap with the advantages, but their context significantly differs.
Let’s focus on the main challenges and determine their impact on QA efficiency.
Time and cost
The time and cost of performing regression testing and automation testing can be both a drawback and an advantage. On the one hand, automation indeed helps save resources, but on the other hand, it creates a few issues.
Initial checks are done manually, the results are verified, and test cases are transformed into algorithms. Consequently, this process can be time-consuming and resource-intensive.
However, this mainly applies when newcomers or regular QA personnel handle the verification. With expert teams like ZappleTech, such problems don’t arise.
Test case selection
Another challenge caused by a lack of experience. Having dozens of similar test cases (created from manual checks), it can be challenging to determine which ones should be included in the algorithm.
This leads to “expanding” the script, which starts performing numerous repetitive tasks cyclically.
As a result, regression automation testing becomes inefficient and uncontrolled. However, this issue only arises in exceptional cases or when run regression tests dealt with by amateurs.
Complexity of regression testing automation
The process of automating regression tests and automation testing itself poses a certain challenge. Even with a complete roadmap and project specifications, you cannot include all iteration changes in the verification algorithm.
Automation can be time-consuming, costly, and inefficient if you attempt to cover all the relevant tests the full scope of the IT solution.
A more effective approach would be prioritizing and focusing on the project’s critical needs while building the process. However, this can only be done when you have experience dealing with similar issues and know how to address them.
Regression testing in Agile development
In some cases, combining regression automation testing with Agile can be a bit of a challenge. Setting up the process to be efficient and cost-effective simultaneously is difficult.
Regression testing always requires time and resources and demands that QA experts stay focused even during breaks between stages of IT development.
However, this doesn’t mean that we should abandon automated regression testing tools now. On the contrary, it’s an opportunity to understand the process nuances better and optimize it to obtain valid results within short periods.
Techniques for reducing false positives and false negatives
During regression automation testing, at times, non-typical problems may arise. Under identical conditions, false test results can occur, both positive and negative.
For example, the algorithm executes a specific action multiple times, but the outputs yield different values, often unrelated to the actual functionality of the tested component. Understanding this may not come immediately, and it can lead to various unpleasant situations, including service rejection or more severe legal, reputational, and financial consequences.Sergey AlmyashevCOO, ZappleTech Inc.
To avoid such scenarios, consider adhering to some basic rules:
- Use simple test cases with a single action.
- Conduct the verification in a properly configured testing environment.
- Base the tests on reliable data.
- Evaluate the risks before running the checks.
- Integrate with CI/CD pipelines.
- Apply test management tools.
- Establish a validation process for test results.
In conclusion, these steps will help eliminate so-called “phantoms” and provide controlled and logical results that can be manually verified when necessary. Trust me; this will save your time and nerve cells, especially in large-scale and commercially risky projects, where every mistake comes at a high cost.
All the mentioned challenges are fundamental and only arise when the team lacks experience in the regression testing best practices in the QA field. To mitigate or prevent them, we recommend using a short guide on basic techniques for building regression automation testing infrastructure.
Overview of Regression Test Automation Techniques
“Knowledge is power,” and we can interpret this saying in the context of QA and automation.
Understanding how to build proper testing algorithms empowers you to efficiently use available resources and flawlessly optimize operational processes.
It’s crucial to possess both QA fundamentals and product-specific mechanics and checks for regression automation testing. This is essential to establish a seamless testing process, particularly in your automated regression test cases too, where you must consider not only the current state of the product but also its previous iterations.
At ZappleTech, our experts have compiled a concise list of recommendations and techniques to help you construct a clean and effective IT solution verification process that you can customize and scale as needed.
Re-running existing test cases
Create modular algorithms to organize the testing structure and simplify and expedite manual testing processes.
Reusing existing tests is a critical aspect of QA and test automation tool itself.
During the initial (manual) checks, you create automated test cases that can be used even in later stages of digital solution development and testing. Therefore, you don’t need to write new tests for organizing regression automation testing. You can either automate test cases or adapt ready-made ones to suit the current project’s requirements.
Creating new test cases to cover the changes that have been made
Understandably, no cases may be required at the early development or testing stages. You will create them as needed, considering the innovations in previous iterations. However, it’s essential to save them, as they will come in handy later.
Properly structure your algorithms to swiftly and securely edit them, adding new cases or removing irrelevant code.
This way, you can use ready-made scenarios, partially modifying them to fit each specific digital product iteration’s needs.
Using automated testing tools
Note: You cannot conduct regression automation testing without specialized tools.
Selenium, Postman, TestCafe, Katalon, Cucumber, and countless other platforms must deploy a testing environment and create automated unit tests for software verification scenarios.
Consequently, you must educate your in-house QA experts in programming languages and engineering. Alternatively, you can engage professional testers like the ZappleTech team, which is more cost-effective, conserves your budget, preserves energy, and minimizes risks.
Techniques for creating robust and maintainable automated regression test scripts
This final recommendation combines all previous ones: build a clean and understandable testing infrastructure. This applies to automated algorithms and ordinary test cases (where the verification process, principle, objective, and steps are described).
- Write clean and understandable code with annotations.
- Group small fragments into logical blocks.
- Document the testing algorithms.
- Use a simple yet functional toolkit.
- Focus on automating high-priority checks first.
A well-organized regression automation testing infrastructure prevents problems during operation and helps optimize services. For instance, it enables you to set up a system so that even with staff changes, your team can effectively execute assigned tasks.
Managing test data and environments efficiently
The quality of your entire software verification process depends on the data and regression testing tools and environment you use. Even a perfect pass rate doesn’t guarantee the absence of issues in your digital solution. Most likely, the information you use for to perform regression testing and automation testing doesn’t allow full-scale product verification.
Choose effective and proven methodologies, cases, and data types to fine-tune the testing process. This will spare you from illusions of flawlessness and provide more relevant testing results.
If you lack knowledge of properly setting up a testing environment or specifying data at a particular stage of development process, delegate the task to QA professionals. Investing in QA from the early stages saves your budget throughout the entire cycle of developing and supporting your digital solution.
Advantages and Reasons to Outsource Regression Testing
Compared to the in-house QA process, outsourcing offers several significant advantages. From cost savings to higher quality and efficiency provided by external contractors.
It’s important to understand that these advantages may not always be immediately apparent when starting the collaboration. However, in the long run, you will notice the difference.
Key advantages of outsourcing QA:
- Access to a wide range of talents and skills. No matter how much you develop your in-house staff, you’ll never achieve the same diversity of experts as specialized QA companies offer.
- A clear understanding of testing infrastructure, principles, methodologies, and practices. QA contractors typically have a comprehensive knowledge of all current processes and quickly adapt to new ones.
- Minimization of expenses on technical equipment. Outfitting offices, purchasing computers, peripherals, and software packages is a luxury not affordable to every business.
- Cost reduction. The combined costs of hiring and paying specialized QA experts are at least 1.5 times lower than training and maintaining in-house specialists.
- Maximum process quality. Close integration with CI/CD, full operations automation, and efficient bug handling are among the services modern QA companies offer in their basic packages.
- Exceptional reporting. You regularly receive case descriptions, detailed bug analysis and localization, and contractors’ instructions for developers or users.
- Long-term potential. It’s not just assistance during development but also product support throughout its entire lifecycle under a single contract.
- Access to services for SMBs, startups, and corporations alike. Hybrid pricing for QA teams allows hiring experts without significant budgetary constraints.
Therefore, we see clear advantages in outsourcing QA (including regression). However, in some cases, as a service client, you may encounter challenges.
Potential challenges in outsourcing QA
No process is without potential risks, and cooperation with QA contractors is no exception. The only remark is that all the described problems can be mitigated or avoided. The key is to understand the causes and how to prevent them.
The main challenges include:
- Regional incompatibility. Dealing with remote regions always brings problems, both in terms of cultural differences and communication. The latter is particularly vital if you want to monitor the work.
- Unrealistic expectations. Sometimes companies artificially boost their ratings or copy successful competitor cases. This doesn’t necessarily mean they lack skills, but being aware of this risk is essential.
- Loss of control over product quality. Be prepared that you won’t be able to monitor the work progress 24/7. And even if you can, you might not get a realistic assessment of the digital product’s state.
- Communication. Language barriers (although less relevant now), meeting times, schedules, and content can vary, creating inconveniences for both the client and the project’s QA executor.
- Security risks. You provide almost all confidential project information to the contractor. Only well-executed NDAs and agreements ensure its complete security.
In essence, all of the above is situational and quite subjective. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll encounter these issues during the work process. To avoid such situations, consider using our recommendations for selecting outsource QA contractors for automated regression testing services.
Criteria for Evaluating Potential Outsourcing Partners
After discussing the main nuances of regression automation testing and the possibility of outsourcing this process, we came to a crucial question. And it revolves around the criteria for selecting the executor of your QA project.
So, let’s briefly examine 5 key indicators you should consider.
Expertise and knowledge
The team’s expertise lies in how well they handle tasks, plan, design their work processes, and self-organize. Their autonomy and ability to adapt to practically any condition are essential. Choose professionals who will assist you with the project rather than demanding specifics in areas where they should be specialized.
The team’s knowledge and the skills of its members are crucial indicators of whether the contractor can handle your project. When choosing an executor, consider the tools and methodologies they use and their services.
Portfolio and reviews
The presence of case studies on their profile website indicates the team’s level of activity and illustrates their work. The material should be structured and understandable (test scenarios and bug descriptions should be written with copywriting skills, among other things). If the content is high quality, it shows the team takes its responsibilities seriously.
Don’t overlook resources like G2, DesignRush, Trustpilot, etc. These platforms host company profiles and reviews from their clients, offering practical descriptions of how the work is executed and its quality.
Engage in communication with the team manager and arrange meetings with testing participants. Only direct communication lets you understand if this executor suits your project. Communication skills are crucial as they set the tone for professionalism and culture in future collaboration.
Having defined the criteria for selecting a team, let’s move on to the practical aspect: setting up the collaboration process with remote executors for your project.
Successful Outsourced Regression Automation Testing: Tips & Tricks
The effectiveness of your QA processes, including the automation regression testing and automation testing, depends on how you build the collaboration process with the project executor. We’ve prepared a few recommendations to help you organize your operations and coordinate with contractors more effectively.
Use them to quickly integrate QA experts into your existing team and maximize their collective productivity.
Setting clear goals and expectations
Clearly outline the project concept and set realistic goals, timelines, and conditions. Avoid burdening the contractors with peripheral tasks or working on a “guess what we want from you” basis.
Work on the format of task assignments to contractors, providing only valuable information for QA experts.
Effective communication and project management
Discuss everything, not just achievements or work-related routines but even minor victories or setbacks. This will help better understand the collaboration process and improve it. Moreover, it’s an excellent way to prevent or quickly resolve conflicts.
Maintain a culture of communication, discuss problems, and solve them collaboratively.
Collaboration between in-house and outsourced teams
Introduce the teams to each other and conduct an integration course. Whether through online meetings or joint recreational activities (if conditions allow), creating a healthy atmosphere within the collective will enhance coordination among all participants.
Utilize familiar practices and methodologies to adapt the outsourced team to your corporate culture, at least during collaboration.
Establishing performance metrics and quality standards
Do you know how performance metrics are measured? Through various metrics, graphs, charts, etc. It’s crucial to track the progress of contractors’ work and evaluate their effectiveness. This will allow you to predict future collaboration and incentivize the project executors to improve their productivity.
Analyze the teams’ effectiveness and hold periodic meetings to review progress.
Establishing a long-term partnership for sustained success
Don’t view the QA team as a short-term project executor. Instead, focus on the long-term perspective and encourage the contractor to continue the collaboration for ongoing software support.
Use the expertise of QA experts for planned and continuous enhancements of your digital solution.
Regression automation testing is essential to a more comprehensive testing and QA service that focuses on streamlining and modernizing IT solutions for the long term.
If you plan to implement a large-scale digital project to maintain a leading position in the rankings for years to come, ensure it receives top-notch QA support.Mykhailo PoliarushCEO, ZappleTech Inc.
Let the industry-expert QA professionals from ZappleTech assist you. With our help, you’ll release your product on time, meeting all deadlines and ensuring the highest possible quality.
Take care of the success and competitiveness of your IT solution in advance. Delegate the task of ensuring QA to the experts at ZappleTech!