Plan your regression testing strategy by asking the relevant questions

When designing your test strategy, it is important to consider regression tests as part of your overall test plan.


Regression testing, as you probably know confirms that new code changes don’t impact the existing code/functionality. This is an important parameter to control the quality of an application under test, especially with frequent code changes.

Regression testing allows Agile teams to manage risks related to frequently changing requirements and code changes.

Testers implement regression testing in various ways. Either they repeat the exact same tests that were carried out before the code changes occurred. Or they reuse the older data, use different data and some additional conditions to carry out these tests.

One important distinction that helps you understand regression testing better is that there are two types of regression tests:

  • Function regression tests
  • Non-functional regression tests

Functional regression tests are those that make sure that the software is working as intended.

Non-functional regression tests confirm if the changes have an impact on performance or security issues.

Ideally, the regression test plan should include test automation. This is because regression tests are repeated frequently – with every code change. This means they need to be executed constantly.

Automation of regression tests gives a quick evaluation of the software’s functionality.

This, in turn, helps testers to look at the edge cases using exploratory testing. So, QA teams must find a good balance of both manual and automated tests in their regression test plan and use the relevant tools for each.

Obviously, tools play an important role in the execution and management of regression tests. Right from full-featured vendor products to open source options, there are several regression testing tools that are used in the market.

Some popular choices for Regression Testing include:

  • Selenium
  • Ranorex Studio
  • Katalon Studio
  • Sahi Pro
  • Watir
  • SmartBear TestComplete
  • IBM Rational Functional Tester

How to define your regression testing strategy

When formulating your test plan there are many factors that you need to look at. Here are some questions to help you define the right regression testing plan:

1. How much coverage do you potentially need?

This depends ultimately on your testing goals. Define the goals and coverage requirements as clearly as possible at the outset. If there is confusion around the goals of regression testing, then the tests become inefficient and expensive.

Often a single test takes care of multiple risks or areas of application. This is why coverage is hard to track during regression testing. Use a test management tool that enables you to track coverage and provides quality metrics. And understand coverage to communicate how regression tests impact other project members.

2. How will you use test automation within regression testing?

It is important to think of the techniques you will use to maintain and execute the tests. For example, how to apply test automation within your plan or selecting tests for manual testing and automated testing.

Deciding what skills are required, the areas of application and the right toolset will help you refine your regression testing plan. It will also allow you to plan for test automation in parallel with your continuous integration pipeline.


3. Defining the environments

What environments are required to execute the regression tests? Think of the data you need to carry out the tests and custom configurations if any to be deployed. Remember, that some tests might need to be executed against different configurations of the program.

4. Reporting

Reporting is crucial to any type of test plan. Reporting the status of testing including the level of detail, bottlenecks and priorities helps you plan better. With effective reporting you can leverage the following benefits:

  • Traceability matrix
  • Dependencies between test cases and requirements
  • Change reports of previous and current releases
  • Risk-based analysis, output from code coverage
  • Eliminating unnecessary tests by pruning out test cases that are no longer required.

Since regression testing includes several types of tests there is no ‘ideal’ formula to do it.

As the application scope and code complexity grows, there are multiple and frequent patches to the system. In such a case, you need to select the optimum tests to save cost and time. Answering some of the above-mentioned questions will help you choose wisely and deliver a quality product.


Although we have finalized the four questions that are required to define the regression testing strategy, the main question which still remains unanswered is how can I implement these parameters? One of the idealistic answer is to have test management app do it for you.

A Test Management App such as QTM4J allows you to define, create, track and plan your testing activities inside Jira. With the test management app, your agile testing team can plan the testing activities across sprints/releases, as well as monitor the test executions with test cycles. The app also enables test automation by allowing integration with automation tools such as Selenium, TestNG, QAF/QAS, JUnit, etc.

Using a test management app inside Jira, you can configure environments and platforms against which testing needs to be performed ensuring fast and easy capturing of the execution results. Also, Test Management App such as QTM4J which provides extensive testing analytics with 30+ reports, enabling you to know your product readiness at any given point in time


Mark Bentsen November 12, 2019

These are the test management tools I have reviewed. Thanks for the great article.


Like Genevieve likes this
Roberto Romello February 25, 2020

Hi there, Thanks for the excellent article. No doubt, automated testing in the regression test plan will save the QA team’s time and speed up the launch processes reducing production defects and increase the overall quality of the software. SmartBear TestComplete automation tool is my choice for automated tests in regression test plan.


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