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6 Tips to Optimize Regression Test Suites

Wednesday August 3, 2016

6 Tips to Optimize Regression Test Suites

“Changes are an inevitable part of every software/application development lifecycle.”

Well, there is no denying to the above fact, since the more changes occur in the application, the better it becomes. However, every time an application undergoes changes, the testers need to perform regression testing. Since 70% of an application development lifecycle constitute of changes, maintenance, and improvements, regression testing becomes a continuous activity.

In cases of multiple applications or features in the application, performing regression testing becomes more frustrating for testers since it involves rounds of test suite creations and maintenance. Additionally, if the entire project needs to be automated, managing and maintaining regression test suites become a costly and time-consuming affair. Apparently, there is more chaos in the management of regression test suites such as desynchronized test suites with new product releases, short-term test suites, old and redundant test suites and more which impact the effectiveness of the entire testing project.

So, how to maintain or optimize the effectiveness of the regression test suite for test project success?

Here are the 6 ways to optimize regression test suite maintenance and ensure effective regression testing.

1. Regression Test Selection

This is one of the most popular methods for test case suite optimization. Regression test selection  divides the test suite into reusable test cases, re-testable test cases, and obsolete test cases. Testers can select and divide the test suites into these categories to classify usability and repeatability accordingly. Also, a separate category for test cases and suites to test the areas that are not covered in the existing test cases can be created to drive better visibility and effectiveness of test suites for a particular project.

2. Regression Tracking Mechanism

Another great way to maintain the effectiveness of the regression test suite is to have a good tracking mechanism between the features that are developed and the tests that are added in order to validate for future usability. This should be a consistent activity as it would help test manager verify the feature checklist and validate the test coverage for a feature that is being developed in the release.

3. Monitoring Changes

The regression test suite can also be easily maintained and optimized by monitoring the changes to the test cases. In addition to this, a clearly outlined process will ensure that only tests that are useful to the testing strategy get added to the test suite, which ensures the efficiency and usability of the testing framework at a higher level.

4. Periodic Cleanup

Considering periodic cleanup of old tests is another great approach to maintaining the effectiveness of a feature-rich regression test suite. In this scenario, all the existing tests in the test suite need to be analyzed for their usability under a different scenario. If tests for certain scenarios do not support because of the different product feature, the regression test suites can be removed from the entire test suite. Thus, period cleanup will ensure robustness of the regression test suite for a long period of time.

5. Regular Screening

Regular screening of the test suites is also ways to ensure accuracy and efficiency of test suites. Regular checking will help identify problems and issues in the existing test suites, which otherwise can reduce the effectiveness of tests in the long run. Also, screening of tests on release-to-release basis can help take appropriate actions if any test suites are found faulty.

6. Metrics Analysis

A collection of metrics and their analysis can also be useful since it helps identify the quality and usability of the test suites. There are several kinds of metrics that can be considered such as the percentage of defects found by the regression test suite their importance, how effectively regression tests catch some regressions and so on.

Apart from all these, it is also important to monitor the addition of tests to the test suite. Moreover, reducing test size when the tests get lengthy or huge, evaluating different regression test selection strategies and planning changes in the regression test suite framework can also help maintain and optimize the effectiveness of the regression test suite.

Follow all these methods or tricks in order to optimize regression test suites for their effectiveness. Have you tried any of these methods? Share your experiences in the comments…!

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