Modern software is complicated. Between complex orchestrations of microservices and sprawling monolithic codebases, the thought of testing can quickly become daunting. As developers release new code and improve applications, QA teams ensure these new updates don’t affect existing code and that these new features continue to work when integrated into the complete system.
One of the ways teams test changes is through regression testing. These lengthy, resource-intensive tests help ensure that applications are still functional with new additions. Teams should never blindly run into battle - creating a regression test plan is essential for fast, effective testing.
The In’s and Out’s of Regression Testing
Regression testing is the practice of testing an entire application after changes are made. And yes, this can mean the whole application, from end to end.
Whenever a new feature, bug fixes, performance increases, etc., all need to be tested along with the entire application to ensure that nothing breaks from these new additions. Regression testing allows teams to prioritize security and stability in their application.
However, regression testing can be time-consuming and costly, especially with larger codebases. So by establishing a set plan for your tests, you can set your teams up for success with clearly defined goals and scope.
Regression Test Plan Framework for Success
Whenever your teams need to run regression tests, it’s easy just to assume you’ll need to test everything and call it a day. However, with the steep cost that can come from extended testing cycles, and pressure from higher-ups to perform, this isn’t the best solution.
Instead, creating a regression test plan can help establish a foothold before it even starts. Each plan is unique, as all teams have their own uses and needs. But there are mission-critical elements that every regression test plan framework should include for success.
1. Establish Your Goals Early
The more features you release, the more you need to re-evaluate your tests, which takes time and money. With a clear goal, teams can get clear, and testing can take much longer than necessary.
When you start creating your regression test plan, make sure to go over what needs to be done versus what can be done. Detailing test scope and results helps your team from getting lost and keeping stakeholders informed.
2. Map Out Test Coverage
Applications can often be huge, sprawling codebases with tons of working parts. And in most cases, a single regression test will cover more than one area or more than one type of risk to be checked for vulnerabilities.
Figuring out what tests are covering which are critical to ensure that your team isn’t stepping on each other’s toes and that the higher-ups know what issues may arise, such as increased testing time. Using test management tools can help you define the coverage for your tests and provide you with performance metrics.
3. Define the Environments Needed
Not all aspects of a code base are identical, with some needing data to pass or specific hardware in some cases. Teams should ensure that regression test plans lay out precisely what configurations are needed for each test and whether or not multiple tests need to be run with different configurations.
4. Integrate Automation if Possible
Automation is the key to fast, reliable tests. If you can plan out what parts of your regression testing can be automated up front, you can dramatically improve your overall testing speed.
It doesn’t have to be challenging to include automation in your testing cycle. Chances are, you’re already using automation somewhere in your pipeline anyway. Tools like Launchable integrate seamlessly into your existing systems and processes, saving you time and effort to integrate new tools manually.
5. Define Your Reports
Now that you have clearly defined goals and you know what you need to do the work, what’s next? What does a successful test look like, and how do you know your tests are performing well? Reporting is crucial to testing, as your teams need a way to visualize your results as time goes on.
With effective reporting, you’ll be able to identify bottlenecks, perform risk-based analysis, and prioritize problem areas. Plus, with all the information available, you can determine what tests are still necessary and what can be skipped to save time and resources.
Include Predictive Test Selection for a Complete Regression Test Plan
One effective way to improve your regression testing plan is by using Predictive Test Selection. This type of testing uses a machine learning model to automatically determine which tests are most relevant to your code changes, based on the expected impact of those changes.
With Predictive Test Selection, you don't have to guess which tests are important - the machine learning model does the work for you, ranking tests by their importance and allowing you to create a unique subset of tests in real time. Plus, Predictive Test Selection can be used alongside your existing testing tools, regardless of the programming languages your org uses.
The model is trained using the results of your tests, and it builds associations between changes in your code and failed tests. By prioritizing tests that consistently perform well and dropping those that don't, Predictive Test Selection can help your dev teams have more confidence in making informed decisions while receiving real-time feedback.
Regression testing can be challenging, but with a well-planned strategy, you can make it easier for your QA teams. By taking the time to create a regression test plan, you can save time and resources in the long run. And with the added power of Launchable's Predictive Test Selection, your QA teams will be able to confidently tackle even the toughest regression testing tasks.