Regression Testing: Where Does Crowdtesting Fit In?

June 7, 2019
John Kensinger
John Kensinger

Regression testing is a type of functional testing that checks for any issues that may have been introduced by changes or updates to a codebase. These tests are used to hone in on new bugs and to confirm that they were indeed prompted by the recent changes. Ultimately, regression testing finds bugs you may have introduced unintentionally by changing your software.

When should you use it?

Ideally, you should perform regression testing after making any changes to the code. Regression tests are also typically executed whenever a previously discovered issue has been fixed. After all, there can be many dependencies in a newly added and existing functionality. It is helpful to test whether or not new code complies with old code, and that unmodified code is not being affected.

Regression testing should be a continuous process. Previously conducted tests should be run again, and their results should be compared to the most current test results. However, when regression testing implementations focus primarily on automated functional tests (think Selenium), tests tend to be rather volatile and unstable. They often require a good deal of personal intervention. Developers or QA managers end up needing to babysit the test suite and confirm the performance and results.

That’s why exploratory testing should also be standard before the system goes into production. Through crowdtesting in particular, this exploratory testing can empower more creative examination to unveil issues not previously considered.

Where does crowdtesting fit in?

Crowdtesting before a major release can be extremely beneficial. Automated checks can handle some things, but humans can deal with the more volatile and subtle tests. Testers may reveal masked defects or even point to improvements. This saves a great deal of unnecessary coding time during further development.

You can increase confidence every time you ship by using crowdtesting capabilities to run test cases in parallel via many testers across numerous devices and platforms. This saves time for software developers and also lowers costs.

Crowdtesting also allows you to add a more exploratory testing phase.

In regression testing, volatile test results take up time as developers work to locate the issue and find a solution. In worst case scenarios, these tests become build-breakers, preventing the next iteration from moving forward as scheduled. Adding an exploratory phase in regression testing is a simple, yet powerful, step that can greatly improve software quality. This can help catch unknown issues, even where a test case indicates no such issues exist.

For example, a web project might have a few standard registration fields that users can fill out. At some point during regression testing, a bug is discovered that prevents the nickname field from being displayed. The code can be fixed to make the nickname visible. However, many previous developer decisions with contingent implications on the code may have been made. This means other elements of the application will likely break during the fix.

How do you put a crowdtesting strategy into play?

  1. Evaluate test prioritization: Regression testing is more difficult when the application’s scope is large and there are continuous increments or patches to the system. Choose particular features or user flows that you want to test at consistent intervals over time (or even sporadically prior to launching a new build).
  2. Use a test management tool: Properly track all tests being performed on a regular basis and have historical records of their performance over time. Do this using a simple test management tool of some kind. It can help pinpoint necessary improvements and changes in test cases. It can also drive clearer analysis of the regression testing outcomes.
  3. Maintain a schedule: Choose a schedule of testing you can maintain throughout the software development life cycle. This avoids cases where testing is placed on the back burner. (We offer a Test Scheduler that allows you to designate dates and times when you want tests to run, even recurrently.)
  4. And of course, choose a crowdtesting vendor: We may be a little biased, but we feel pretty good about our method for integrating crowdtesting into your testing suite.

Reach out and let us know if you have any questions or are interested in giving test IO a try!

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