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The need to deliver quality at speed followed by the rise of agile has meant that many have shifted from manual testing to automation. So why should you automate regression testing?
Regression testing can in theory be performed manually, but as software systems change or grow, so will the number of test cases and the regression suite.
Eventually, it’ll reach a point where it’s no longer feasible to manage the regression test cases manually.
Fortunately, due to its repetitive and predictable nature, regression testing is an ideal candidate for automation.
By automating regression tests, it is possible to achieve a number of desired outcomes that enhance team agility and product quality.
The greatest benefit of automated regression testing is that it frees up resources. You spend less time on repetitive tests.
Image: The ideal task for test automation
Automated tests check specific parts of software with high accuracy. This means you can spend more time working on other types of tests and bug fixes. Manual testing can then be used to explore more unusual cases that require special attention.
This enhances your software product and gives your customers a better, less buggy, experience.
By choosing a test automation tool that doesn’t require coding, additional time can be saved on setup and maintenance of automated flows, and dependencies on developers are removed letting QA teams flow through bottlenecks.
For teams following a waterfall approach rather than an agile one, regression testing is typically performed at the end of software builds as the last step before a release.
With the introduction of automation, however, it becomes possible to test iteratively, creating instant feedback loops and reducing the overall testing time while improving quality.
With an automation tool that creates visual recording and logs, you can easily go in and detect why tests fail. This speeds up feedback loops, and bug fixes.
Automated regression tests can run 24/7, 365 days a week.
With scheduling you can set up your tests to run at night. People don't have to wait for test results during working hours. You can also run tests at intervals, such as daily or weekly, to ensure that no bugs are missed.
Testers can also work on more value-generating tasks, while regression tests run in the background.
Continuous regression testing ensures that testers are notified about bugs before they reach the end-users. And as mentioned above, with the visual recordings and logs, identifying and fixing bugs becomes fast and efficient.
With the ability to test faster comes the ability to test more.
Testers can quickly get stretched to the maximum when they test manually. They don't have time to test at a level that reduces business risk.
They also risk overlooking or skipping crucial steps. As a result, exploratory testing and test design can also get deprioritized which has a negative effect on the quality of the software under test.
“When tests are all manual, there’s a temptation to skip some phases, because the effort doesn’t seem worth the outcome. But when they can be automated, there’s no need to skip them.” - Capgemini, World Quality Report 2021-2022
By automating, tests can be run continuously at a speed and frequency simply not possible with manual testing. This makes it possible to scale testing and QA, without spending additional resources.
Learn more about achieving continuous testing in agile and continuous delivery environments in this comprehensive guide.
As new features are added to a product, new tests must follow, causing the regression suite to grow over time. Eventually, it’ll reach a point where it’s no longer feasible to manage the regression test cases manually.
For this reason, it is important to select an automation tool that will make it easy for you to keep a clear overview of your testing suite, and allow you to adjust and maintain it without requiring you to rewrite or change code. With a no-code automation tool, this becomes possible and helps keep maintenance burdens low.
Related reading: Best practices for regression testing at speed