All grown up: 3 signs you need to automate your regression testing

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Posted by Brian Borg

'There's a lot of automation that can happen that isn't a replacement of humans but of mind-numbing behavior.' — Stewart Butterfield, CEO and co-founder of Slack.

And that, my friends, is where automating your regression testing comes in. If you're in the market to eliminate mind-numbingly tedious test cases from your to-do list, you've come to the right place.

Don't get us wrong - you can do regression testing manually. Because of its repetitive nature, though, automation can save you significant time, effort and tedium. That time can then be used for deeper exploratory testing and other, more creative approaches. Win-win.

Before we dive into the signs that you need to automate, let's define regression testing.

What is regression testing?

Regression testing ensures that any new code additions don’t negatively affect existing software features that have already been tested and approved. The regression test plan therefore grows with every development sprint, covering the entire product aside from the immediate development effort. It's an understandably neglected part of testing because of the never-ending immensity of the task, making it a prime candidate for automation.

The question is, how can you tell when to automate your regression testing? Here are three signs you need to look out for.

1. You need to scale, but are running out of resources

One of the main advantages of automated regression testing is that it frees up testing resources. If the people who are performing the tests manually could be providing more value by doing other tasks, then it's time to look at automation.

When QA resources are stretched by manual, monotonous test cases, testers also risk missing things - which negatively impact the quality of your execution results.

You can set up automation to accurately check specific parts of your software that lend themselves to static, repeatable testing - functionality such as login/ logout, change password, profile changes, and the like. This frees up your engineering expertise to focus on area that require deeper consideration such as usability and exploratory tests. In turn, you'll not only enhance your product and give your end-users the best possible experience but you'll reduce dependencies on developers.

2. 'I/We don't have time' is a part of your daily vocabulary

Automating your regression tests means that they can run 24/7/365. Schedule your tests to run overnight, and no one will have to sit and wait for test results. It also means that you can run your tests at as often as you like - hourly, daily, weekly or monthly. This will keep your mind at ease and ensure that no bugs are missed. Think of all of the other tasks you can and your team can do while regression tests run in the background - glorious time restored!

Continuous regression testing ensures that you and your testers are notified about bugs in your software before they reach the customer. Implementing automated regression testing means fixing bugs becomes fast and time-efficient, and coupled with a CI/CD solution means it's plugged into your complete, end to end testing framework.

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3. Your product needs a new feature, an improvement, or a bug fix

As new features and improvements are added to your application, new tests must follow. This means that your list of regression test cases will expand. Sooner or later, you'll reach a stage where it’s no longer viable to manage your regression test cases manually.

When this time comes, it's important to choose an automation tool that will make it easy for you to get a detailed overview of your test suite and reporting dashboards. You want to have a slick, error-free automated testing process to ensure any additions don't make headlines for the wrong reasons, or fill your support ticket inbox with complaints. Unless, of course, you're of the belief that 'no publicity is bad publicity...', but let's leave that to Tesla's PR department.

Ready to reap the rewards of automation testing?

If you're struggling with time or budget and need to convince the rest of the business that automation is the right choice, we're here to help. We've shared our recommended automation best practices that actually deliver ROI to help you gain a stronger foothold during the decision making process.

Got a question about automating your regression testing? Let OnPath provide the answer. Contact us, today.