The Special Role of Regression Testing in Agile Development

Presumably, everyone here who has developed products knows that regression testing is done to validate the existing code after a change in software. Unlike most other testing, it validates that nothing got broken in the already existing functionality of the software product even as changes were made to other parts. In a nutshell, the aim is to confirm that the product isn’t affected by the addition of any new features or bug fixes. Often, older test cases are, re-executed for reassurance that there were no ill-effects of changes.

role of regression in agile development

Regression testing is necessary for all product development where the product is evolving, that is, in effect for all products!

Which Brings is to Agile Software Development?

The Agile method calls for rapid product iterations and frequent releases. Obviously, this includes shorter and more frequent testing cycles. This is to ensure that the quality of the output of the sprints is intact whenever the software is released. These constant churns call for a massive focus on regression testing.

A sound regression testing strategy mainly helps the teams focus on new functionalities and maintain stability as the product increments take place. It makes sure that the earlier release and the new code are both in-sync. This is how the software’s functionality, quality, and performance remain intact even after going through several modifications.

To put things into perspective – the Agile method is all about iterative development and regression testing is all about focusing on the effects that occur due to that iterative new development.

What Makes Regression Testing Special in Agile Development?

  • Helps Identify Issues Early– One of the ways in which Agile teams build their regression testing strategy is to identify the improvements or the error-prone areas and gather all the test cases to execute for those cases. This preparation helps them gear up for the accelerated tests and also, prioritize the test cases. This way they can target the product areas that need more focus on quality. Additionally, by detecting defects early in the development cycle, regression testing can help reduce excessive rework. This helps release the product on time.
  • Facilitates Localized Changes – Regression testing makes it possible for development teams to confidently carry out localized changes to the software or sometimes, even for bigger changes. The teams mainly focus on the functionality that they planned for the sprint secure in the knowledge that the regression tests will highlight the areas that are affected by the most recent changes across the codebase.
  • Business Functionality Continuity – Since regression testing usually takes into consideration various aspects of the business functions, it can cover the entire system. The aim is to run a series of similar tests repeatedly over a period of time in which the results should remain stable. For each sprint, this helps test new functionality and it makes sure that the entire system continues to work in an integrated manner and the business functionality continues in the long run.
  • Errors Are Reduced to a Large Extent – The thing with an Agile development environment is that there is a reduced scope for errors during the accelerated release cycles. The series of regression tests at each level of the release ensures that the product is robust and resistant to bugs. This helps in enhancing the software’s stability and improves its overall quality.
  • Offers Scope to Add Better Functionalities – Introducing new functionalities in any application can be time-consuming because there are several aspects that need to be taken into consideration. This process becomes less cumbersome with Agile development, which can boost gradual changes. Regression tests amp up the power of the methodology by giving the scope of introducing several functionalities in seamlessly.
  • Quicker Turnaround – There are multiple tools for regression testing. It’s also possible to automate significant portions of the regression testing given the repetitive nature of the tests. This offers the Agile development team faster feedback. They can achieve faster turnarounds and can accelerate releases confidently.

To Sum Up:

Regression testing is a staple while developing a well-integrated, robust software as it evolves. In the accelerated Agile environment, it helps ensure that any newly developed sprint has no adverse effect on the existing code or functionality of the business. Furthermore, a carefully considered regression testing strategy helps the Agile teams be confident that every feature in the software is in perfect condition with all the updates and fixes required. It’s the insurance policy that Agile product development teams need.

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