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10 Ways to Manage Regression Testing Challenges Effectively

July 7, 2017

10 Steps to Get Started with Shift-Left Testing

Regression testing means we develop an application and test it to check whether its functions are working fine. Now, we make changes to it and again we need to test to check whether the functions are still working perfectly in addition to those new changes.

We all know this definition of regression testing and frankly speaking, we are completely thorough with its basic strategy and execution. We focus on working around the regression testing concepts, test creation, execution, etc.

But, does our application under test can handle the last moment changes without affecting the existing functionalities? No? Here is where most companies fail.

Why do most companies fail to perform regression testing effectively?

Before moving towards effective regression testing, let’s discuss a few challenges that most companies and their testers are facing during the planning and executing the regression tests.

1. It’s Expensive! Let’s face it

Regression testing requires a special time of the resources as the application needs to be tested again and again. Thus, if we talk in terms of business expenses, company is investing a lot of time & money in testing something which has been already tested earlier. And, there’s no specific ROI that is attached to regression testing. But, we know how important it is. Since it is tricky to explain the importance of regression testing in terms of business benefits to the management in order to draw the budget for the same it is expensive from the management point of view.

How can you save your 30% efforts on Manual Regression Testing?

2. It’s Time Bound

For successful software testing projects, we look for developing quality apps and delivering them faster. Thus, when it comes to regression testing, it is always time bound. Testers always get a limited period of time to execute regression testing. This increases the chances to give more importance to the critical regression tests and a few tests might get skipped. Well, it is a serious challenge.

3. It needs Optimization & Maintenance

Here, another challenge is to optimize and maintain the existing regression test suites. Whenever there are new changes, the existing regression test suites might require modification in adding, editing or removing the existing test cases. All these need to be done within the time allocated for the regression testing. So, optimization and maintenance is another challenge.

4. It’s Inadequately Instructed

Most often we hire testers during the ongoing software testing project, either to release some of the tasks or to speed up the process. Now, our own existing testers hardly have time to give complete details about the application, its features & functionalities, old & existing bugs, delivery deadline, etc. This makes the new testers to start testing with inadequate information about the ongoing software testing project. Such challenges need an appropriate test strategy to be followed.

After looking at all the reasons why companies fail to execute regression testing effectively, let’s walk through the right ways of executing regression testing.

The only way to do it is, to prepare an effective strategy for regression testing.

How to Manage Regression Testing Effectively?

1. Execute Smoke & Sanity Test Automation

Smoke testing involves early testing of the application in order to understand whether the current working of the application is up to the mark without going into deeper levels of testing.

Sanity testing being a part of regression testing involves a few areas of the application to be tested.

Here, the smoke/sanity test cases can be created in advance and can be edited as and when required based on the features & functionalities of the application. This is because the agenda here is to test the application under normal conditions and not to find bugs. If automation is used, it saves a lot of our time & efforts.

2. Analyze the Regression Testing Requirements

The analysis is the most important thing in any project. While taking regression testing into consideration, it is equally important to analyze well in advance the requirements of the changes. Also, what if there has to be last moment changes to the applications? Here, necessary care has to be taken prior to executing regression testing.

3. Prepare for the Impact of New Changes

Regression testing ensures that a new change in the existing application does not break its bug-free application functionality. As discussed earlier, the new changes in the application bring changes to the test cases as well.

The changes to the application can be the integrations between multiple systems, modules or sub-systems. In order to develop an effective regression testing strategy, we need to be well prepared for the consequences like uncertain and undefined bugs, the new changes can bring.

4. Prioritize the Regression Tests

There are various test cases to be designed and executed at a certain level in the complete software testing lifecycle. Based on the importance and requirements of a particular application, the priorities need to be set for sanity tests, integration tests and a complete set of regression test cases.

5. Choose the Right Automated Regression Testing Tool

Recently, there are certain ways to select the right automated testing tool. This goes for particularly regression testing as well. Plan and prepare for the regression automation testing tools and initiate with trying them one by one. Based on how feasible a tool is for our application, we can select the best one.

We should not underestimate the benefits the automation has. And, automating regression testing would help us justify the time & cost associated with the ROI.

6. Analyze the Bug Reports in Detail

With the help of these latest regression testing tools, the bug reports are easily created as these tools have integration with the bug tracking tools. Also, it is easy to capture the screenshots while executing the regression tests which further helps us to analyze the bug reports in detail.

7. Optimize & Maintain the Regression Test Suites

Optimizing and maintaining the regression test suites are very much important and following are the steps that reduce the time & cost of creating and executing the same regression tests repeatedly.

  1. Regression test selection
  2. Regression test tracking mechanism
  3. Monitoring changes
  4. Periodic cleanup
  5. Regular screening
  6. Metrics analysis

8. Create Entry/Exit Criteria for Regression Testing

Entry/exit criteria that we follow in our traditional software testing best practices that can be implemented in regression testing as well.

For entry criteria, a fixed set of conditions like reviewing bugs & regression tests based on those bugs, etc. need to be met in order to initiate the testing. And, for exit criteria, a fixed set of conditions like checking all tests are executed, no bugs remained unfixed, etc. need to be met to conclude the testing process.

9. Ensure Executing Random Testing

It is always a good practice to impose random testing that allows us to be reassured about the testing that has been executed. Keep a specified amount of time for random testing real-world scenarios to be performed at the end of the complete testing cycle.

10. Motivate the Testing Team

Motivating our regression testers is highly required. If a tester keeps on creating regression tests all the time, he might get disappointed. To keep up with his motivation level, allow him to try his hands on automation testing tools for regression testing. Also, we can involve other testers specifically to write and execute regression testing so our team gets a chance to explore various other types of testing. But, when you hire a new tester, make sure you don’t directly involve him in regression testing.


Regression testing is quite boring and time-consuming. Thus, there are chances to miss out on executing it the right way. Hence, it is extremely important to prepare an effective strategy in order to take the maximum output of the regression testing.

What are your thoughts on this? Kindly share in the comments section below.


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