The Benefits of Continuously Optimizing Your Regression Test Suite
In any project, for a quality product or application rollout, regression testing plays a key role. This testing technique ensures that no errors are introduced during the process of fixing issues or adding new features. Every ongoing project should have a regression test suite, either manual or automated, in place.
The prime focuses for managing the regression suite are executing the existing regression test cases with every release, and adding new tests for new features or application changes. The challenge comes with regularly examining your regression suite and making sure it is running optimally.
Essentially, the optimization of a regression test suite should be performed based on test suite minimization, selection, and prioritization.
Test Suite Minimization
The main aim here is to identify redundant test cases and remove them from the test suite in order to reduce the size of the test suite.
Test Suite Selection
Test case selection, or the regression test selection problem, is essentially similar to the test suite minimization problem; both require you to choose a subset of test cases from the test suite. For test suite selection, the focus is on the changes in the system under test.
Test Suite Prioritization
Test case prioritization seeks to find the ideal ordering of test cases for testing so that the tester achieves the maximum benefit, even if the testing is prematurely halted at some point. Ideally, the test cases should be executed in the order that maximizes early fault detection.
Regression Suite Optimization Techniques
The optimization process for your regression test suite should be continuous, and implemented with every major release for efficient testing. There are several methods and techniques you can employ to achieve continuous optimization:
- Regression test selection (RTS) is the most popular method for optimizing the test suite. The test suite is categorized into reusable, retestable, and obsolete test cases. This method also facilitates creating new test cases that are not covered in the existing set.
- Managing test cases according to risk, with a risk index attached to each planned test case, helps you check the risk against the new software release. If the risk is not as critical as it was in the previous releases, you can move the test case down in the priority order.
- Periodic clean-up of old test cases is also a good idea. Analysis of the existing test cases should be done based on the changes and enhancements in the application, and we can eliminate any obsolete test cases from the existing regression suite.
It is important to monitor the way tests are added to the regression test suite. Regression test execution demands that we be proactive throughout the testing lifecycle, and that we keep updating and optimizing the test suite to cater to the changes and updates in application functionality.
Continuous optimization of your regression test suite, coupled with test automation, yields the total benefits of having an effective regression suite.