Join the webinar on ‘Using HeadSpin APIs to Manage Applications’ on July 23rd.
Understanding Regression Defects

Why Understanding Regression Defects Is Crucial

July 8, 2022
 Rohith Ramesh Rohith Ramesh
Rohith Ramesh

With the widespread adoption of the agile methodology, regression testing has emerged as a focal point and added value. Today, most businesses outsource regression testing services and utilize an iterative, agile software development process.

For instance, various SaaS service providers often include new functionality or features with each software update. These businesses consult an eminent regression testing firm to maintain performance and verify that newly introduced features do not affect the final product. The primary objective of regression testing is to check that a bug fix has successfully corrected a code defect.

This article highlights the importance of understanding regression defects, testing, and the best practices for handling regression defects.

What Are Regression Defects Bugs?

Bugs are frequently detected during software testing, and QA teams fix such bugs quickly. Testers perform regression testing to check for any disruption to the intended functionality of any application feature due to the bug repair. Additional bugs that result from a bug repair are referred to as regression bugs. For instance, let us consider the application login page containing specific issues that the developer has repaired. The login page usually functions as expected, but the registration page generates validation or other issues that did not exist earlier. The login page fix may have brought about the new error. This regression issue or bug must be fixed to deliver a more robust product to the users.

Check out: Regression Intelligence practical guide for advanced users

Why are Regression Defects Challenging?

  • Time complexity: The most challenging part of regression testing is the strict timing constraints. With each modification to the product, the testing team must ensure that the existing functionality is not compromised. Even with automation, regression tests involve the repetitive execution of existing test cases. Thus, finishing the regression cycle requires a considerable amount of time. With each added feature, the number of times regression testing must be performed rises. Development and QA teams must execute regression test cases multiple times within the reduced regression cycles in the sprint.
  • Maintenance difficulties: Occasionally, optimizing the test cases for regression testing is difficult. As the scope of regression testing expands with each sprint, implementing and maintaining the number of automated test cases during code changes becomes increasingly difficult. It is crucial to incorporate these modifications in regression test scenarios. 
  • Suitability of Testing Environment: The environment where regression testing is to be conducted must be stable for testing to proceed smoothly. Environmental factors during the execution of regression tests can cause execution delays. 
  • Lack of cross-team communication: During regression testing, a lack of communication between cross-functional teams also causes problems. Moreover, it may be difficult for a new team member to comprehend what features or functionality the team is modifying and what is being affected if they intervene halfway.
  • Overlooking key functionality: Identifying the test cases in each module and regression cycle wherein the development team makes a change requires time, and it is a possibility that developers and testers might overlook a test case that is essential for validating this change or may oversee testing of crucial functionality.
  • Choosing the right testing tool: Selecting the right automated tool before beginning regression testing is very important. Record and playback tools often do not perform well in automated regression testing due to the extensive amount of rework required.
  • Reduction in development velocity: Regression tests must be programmed and executed on an automated build system. Development and QA teams must incorporate automated regression tests into each sprint to repair bugs and minimize late hardening sprints continuously. QA teams must execute regression tests after any modifications to the application. During regression, testers may identify numerous application stability or deployment concerns. It can slow the whole testing process.
Also read: What is Regression Mobile App Testing and Why Do You Need to Outsource It?

How to Manage Regression Defects?

There are multiple methods for effectively handling regression problems. Testers can ideally manage regression defects effectively and ensure a seamless product launch by the following approaches:

  • A comprehensive review of the code

Scripts for both development and testing require regular code review. Testers need to evaluate the test cases to check if they are sufficient to test each component module. Ideally, the QA team should collaborate with the development team to identify high-risk areas. They should modify the regression testing suite to see if the new updates introduced critical regression defects. Integrating automated test cases into your application will assist testers in performing the following:

  • Identify logical errors
  • Fulfill the app requirements
  • Create automatic versions of code
  • Report the test results
  • Tracking test data and other metrics

Bugs discovered during testing are not just intended to be identified and fixed. They provide a comprehensive view of the application behavior. Regression faults, in particular, reveal a great deal about the coding, coverage of previous test cases, and degree of integration between testing and last development.

Monitoring the metrics allows the complete evaluation of the software life cycle for effectiveness. Testers can identify if the current spring has more faults or if the coders and testers had to work quickly owing to time constraints, resulting in increased regression defects.

Considering the details of such variables is essential for evaluating the performance of QA teams, which in turn improves the entire regression effort and assists in detecting any overlooked regression defects. Monitoring the data is also essential for production and other corporate activities, enabling a seamless application launch.

  • Automating regression testing 

Automation testing is a time-saving approach as it minimizes regression bugs. During unit testing, in particular, automated scripts enable in-depth functionality analysis and identify logical defects. A comprehensive written unit test script ensures that regression testing is performed seamlessly and that development teams can deliver a high-quality application on time.

  • Shift-Left testing 

Typically, QA teams conduct testing in the staging environment after development. However, testers are frequently required to complete a comprehensive round of testing within a relatively short time frame. If defects are identified late in the release process, the release date may need to be postponed, and if critical bugs are detected after migration to the production environment, the entire release may need to be reverted. It proves to be both time-consuming and laborious for teams working in an agile environment. Shift-left testing is a testing strategy that incorporates testing at the earliest stages of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle). Continuous Shift-left testing is a highly effective method for mitigating risks and disruptions.

Check: Designing an Automated Functional Testing Strategy

Best Practices for Handling Regression Defects

1. Automated Regression Tests

Development and QA teams must perform regression testing for each system code build. However, automated regression tests can simplify and speed up the entire process, allowing QA testers to focus on more complicated case-specific tests. Once automated, regression tests can be activated each time the code control system creates a build. It will ensure that no change has been made that undoes or fixes a preceding feature. The most frequent areas that require automation in the majority of instances are:

  • Executing tests following a minor update or bug fix
  • Performing similar regression testing on various platforms, including several operating systems, smartphones, and browsers.
  • Data-driven tests. For instance, conducting tests to understand how the application handles diverse input data.

Automated regression tests can be implemented overnight or in conjunction with manual testing, freeing up a valuable resource. One of the key benefits of automating regression tests is that manual testers may use the additional time to work on exploratory testing of new features and ensuring a better user experience.

2. Frequent Reevaluation and Maintenance of Regression Pack

The regression pack is primarily a bundle of test cases executed whenever new software is updated. The scripted tests included in a package are designed considering the specifications of older software versions. The pack is easily compatible with Ad-hoc or random tests. As regression tests can be laborious and time-consuming, the last thing testers need is to count tests that verify whether an eradicated feature is still functional.

3. Pay more attention to highly-trafficked paths

Highly-trafficked methods are the most persistent and common use cases for an application. These pathways incorporate the essential features and functionalities of the application. One must comprehend the main clients and the conventional characteristics, highlights, and collaborations on which they rely the most. The effective regression testing package must include tests that ensure that such fundamental functionality operates as intended.

4. Execute a Complete Regression Suite Only When Necessary

It is not necessarily required to run the entire regression suite for every build. In the case of a minor release, it is prudent to run only the smoke tests and regression tests for each modified module. For convenience, it is logical to organize the test cases for regression testing according to the AUT module covered by every test. For instance, if the release includes a change to the accepted payment methods for an online store, it is preferable to conduct regression testing for the payment procedure, but not for extra features such as finding items and adding them to the cart.

5. Repetition of Test Cases

Tests that have previously identified bugs and defects should be included in the regression test suite. In contrast, tests that the application passes are more likely to be authentic.

Examples of Regression Tests

Let us discuss the most common examples of regression testing.

Functional Regression - It refers to the sequence of comprehensive tests conducted across all portions of an application to determine if the most recent updates have resulted in code instability.

Bug Regression - In this regression test, the QA specialist verifies whether or not a specific bug that was supposedly fixed has been eliminated.

Build Verification Tests - This includes tests that testing teams use to determine if the damage is extensive or if the build is fixable. Any unsuccessful testing would result in a build rejection.

Conversion and Port Tests - In these tests, QA teams perform various test cases to assure that the application has been ported to an advanced new platform successfully.

Localization Testing - A quality assurance expert evaluates the interface performance and verifies that the application adheres to its new compliances and rules if an application has been modified and rewritten in a different programming language. The modification of a programming language may necessitate the changing of existing test cases or the creation of new ones.

Regression Testing Is the First Line of Deference 

As with all software quality assurance, one of the primary objectives of regression testing is transparency which facilitates the organization's precise awareness of what the code system will and will not do. The regression test suite is the initial line of defense against the leakage of defects into public releases.

Regression testing must be meticulously examined and maintained for success; otherwise, it will become a mere nuisance and be ignored. Regression testing should be an inherent part of a robust test automation process to maintain its relevance and ensure that it is used to safeguard the system's integrity.

Also check: A Complete Guide to Game Testing

How does HeadSpin resolve regression defects differently?

HeadSpin Regression Intelligence provides a robust comparison tool for analyzing degraded performance across new app builds, OS versions, feature additions, locations, and more. 

It enables developers and QA testers to automate build-over-build comparisons and examine regression data to determine whether a build passes or fails. It also facilitates comparing digital experience KPIs across test sessions and lets QA teams obtain AI-driven insights for resolving functional or performance declines. They can construct a robust ontology with specific session tags for granular cohort analysis. HeadSpin also enables developers to plot trend lines and track and monitor application performance over time. They can set custom alerts and configure a proactive regression Alert Watcher based on criteria such as geo-location or device SKU for notifications when regressions are identified across various markets or devices. 

HeadSpin's AI-powered Regression Intelligence seamlessly integrates into the CI/CD workflows, automatically detecting regression issues for every build of an application. With HeadSpin, developers and testers can compare user experience KPIs across real devices in over 90+ locations worldwide to uncover network, API, cloud, or edge issues.

To explore more about HeadSpin Regression Intelligence, sign up for a free trial.


1. What are the various kinds of regression testing?

The different types of regression testing are:

  • Unit regression testing [URT]
  • Regional regression testing [RRT]
  • Full or complete regression testing [FRT]

2. What distinguishes regression testing from end-to-end testing?

Regression testing is executed to ensure that the integration of all modules and modifications or enhancements in any module has not resulted in a code break.

On the other hand, system testing verifies that end-to-end flows function as planned, and acceptance testing checks that the system has been designed in accordance with business requirements.

Also read: What is end to end testing?

3. Can testers perform regression in the production stage?

Regression testing is always performed after integration testing and before user testing and production deployment, whether the development environment is Agile or DevOps.

4. Is regression testing always automated?

Test cases are mostly automated as they must be performed repeatedly, and manually rerunning the same test cases is both time-consuming and tiresome.

Share this

Why Understanding Regression Defects Is Crucial

4 Parts


Perfect Digital Experiences with Data Science Capabilities

Utilize HeadSpin's advanced capabilities to proactively improve performance and launch apps with confidence
popup image