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Bohdan Mushta, Quality Assurance Engineer

Nov 24, 2023 15 min read

Manual Regression Testing: A Detailed Guide

This comprehensive guide will explore manual regression testing, its importance, best practices, and how to perform it effectively.  

Manual Regression Testing

In the ever-evolving world of software development, ensuring the quality and stability of your application is vital. One crucial aspect of achieving this is regression testing. While automation testing has gained popularity, manual regression remains indispensable in the testing process. This comprehensive guide will explore manual regression testing, its importance, best practices, and how to perform it effectively.  

What is Regression Testing? 

Regression testing is a crucial step taken before the release of software updates to ensure that the changes introduced do not disrupt the existing functionalities that were previously tested. This type of testing is performed within the logical user flow and covers all functions specified by the development team. The primary objective of manual regression testing is to uphold the overall quality and reliability of the software product. Skipping regression testing before a release increases the risk of introducing bugs in the system. Regular regression testing before each release is essential for quickly spotting and fixing issues, ensuring the stability and reliability of the product during updates.

A regression bug occurs when a particular functionality, which was working correctly before the update, malfunctions after the changes have been implemented. It can happen when adding new features, updating existing ones, or fixing other bugs. To illustrate, let's consider a scenario where there was an issue with the login page, and the development team successfully addressed it, ensuring it functions correctly. However, this fix might unintentionally lead to a new problem, such as user registration issues. Even though one aspect is resolved, there is a high likelihood of introducing a regression bug, which can inadvertently trigger another issue.   

Regression testing is performed to avoid such regression bugs and maintain the integrity of the software. This process verifies that the application still performs as expected after any alterations to the code, preventing unexpected issues during the release of a new version. 

When Should You Do Manual Regression Testing?  

Regression testing in manual testing is a crucial step to ensure that recent code changes haven't introduced any new defects or issues in the software. In an ideal scenario, manual regression testing, like any regression testing, should occur between the completion of a build and its release. However, planning this can be challenging. Therefore, it often becomes an ongoing and continuous process, with one regression testing cycle seamlessly transitioning into the next. 

Assigning one or more individuals specifically responsible for regression testing tasks is advisable when it comes to regression testing. This approach ensures that there is dedicated focus and expertise on the regression aspect of testing rather than spreading the responsibilities across all QA functions, including regression testing. Read more about our manual testing services that help ensure the quality and reliability of your software products.

Why is Regression Testing Important?

The goal of regression testing in manual testing is to maintain the stability and reliability of software by detecting any unintended side effects of code modifications. Regression testing is essential because it helps us ensure that our software works correctly even after we make changes to it. 

In addition to E2E scenarios, regression testing can encompass any tests the development team deems relevant for validation after each code modification. Here are some reasons why it's crucial: 

Finding Problems 

Regression tests help us find any new problems or mistakes that might have accidentally been introduced when we changed the software. We want to ensure that the changes we make keep everything working fine. 

Keeping Things Steady 

We also use regression tests to check if the parts of the software that were already working are still working the way they should be. We want to avoid any surprises or unexpected issues that pop up and disrupt how the software functions. 

Staying Safe 

Performing regression testing is essential for identifying potential risks associated with our software changes. This proactive testing approach helps prevent unforeseen issues, such as sudden crashes or degraded performance, which could adversely impact users or businesses. 

Specifically, in manual testing, regression testing plays a vital role when developers implement updates or enhancements. It pinpoints and rectifies unintended side effects that may arise from these changes. By catching and addressing issues early in the development process, regression testing ensures the smooth operation of the software and guarantees that our modifications do not introduce any harmful consequences.

This proactive testing strategy is indispensable in safeguarding against potential exploits that hackers could leverage to gain unauthorized access to sensitive information.

Regression testing process: How is regression testing performed?

Keep reading if you want to learn how to do regression testing manually. Testers perform regression testing in manual testing by re-executing predefined test cases to verify the stability of existing functionalities. Regression testing helps ensure software quality and involves several essential steps that QA experts follow. Here's how it's done: 

Detecting Changes 

First, QA experts carefully examine the source code for recent changes or updates. 

Prioritizing Changes 

Once changes are detected, they are sorted based on their significance. Any components or modules that have been modified are identified, and the potential impact of these changes on other functions is considered. 

Determining Entry and Exit Points

Before diving into the testing process, it's crucial to establish where the testing will begin (entry point) and where it will end (exit point). 

Scheduling the Test 

A schedule is created for the regression test, making sure it fits the overall testing plan. 

Streamlining the Testing Process 

QA experts align the identified changes and product requirements with corresponding test cases and testing tools to streamline the testing process. 

It helps ensure the correct tests are performed to verify the software's functionality. 

Setting Pass/Fail Criteria 

Pass/Fail criteria and minimum conditions are defined before executing the regression test. 

It ensures the test is conducted under specific conditions to yield accurate results. 

Executing the Test 

The regression test is executed per the established plan with all preparations in place. 

Recording Results 

Finally, the regression test results are recorded and analyzed to identify software issues and defects. 

By following these steps, QA experts can effectively perform regression testing to maintain the quality and reliability of software products. 

Exploratory Testing: Generating a Test Set for Subsequent Regression Testing 

Exploratory testing is a testing methodology based on investigation and exploration. It is the foundation for developing test scenarios for regression testing. The process begins with a thorough examination of existing documentation and requirements. Subsequently, the software is tested for the first time, typically involving a comprehensive walkthrough of all pages and functions. End-to-end (E2E) test scenarios are formulated based on this initial testing. 

For instance, in the context of a clothing store website, an E2E scenario might be generated as follows:  

Scenario: E2E Testing for Clothing Store Website 

Objective: To verify the functionality and usability of the clothing store website across different user interactions and transactions.

Preconditions: 

  • The website is accessible. 
  • The user has a valid email address and correct password. 

Test Steps: 

User Registration

  • Navigate to the website's homepage. 
  • Click on the "Sign Up" or "Register" button on the header. 
  • Fill out the registration form with valid information, including name, email, password, and other required details. 
  • Click the "Register" or "Sign Up" button. 
  • Verify that the user has successfully registered and been redirected to the homepage. 

User Login: 

  • Navigate to the website's homepage. 
  • Click on the "Log In" or "Sign In" button. 
  • Enter the registered email and password. 
  • Click the "Log In" or "Sign In" button. 
  • Verify that the user is successfully logged in and redirected to the homepage. 

 

Verify Product Details: 

  • Enter the product categories page. 
  • Click on any product category. 
  • Ensure that the list of products is visible. 
  • Click on any product. 
  • Ensure that product images, descriptions, and prices are displayed correctly. 

Adding Products to Cart

  • Enter any product page. 
  • Click the "Add to Cart" button. 
  • View the contents of the shopping cart. 
  • Verify that the selected product is added to the cart. 

Cart Management: 

  • Enter the cart page. 
  • Remove a product from the cart. 
  • Proceed to the checkout process. 
  • Verify that changes are reflected accurately on the cart. 

Checkout Process: 

  • Enter the Order page. 
  • Provide shipping and billing information. 
  • Select a payment method (e.g., credit card, PayPal). 
  • Review the order summary. 
  • Confirm the order by clicking the "Place Order" button. 
  • Verify that the order has been successfully placed. 

Checkout Process: 

  • Enter the Order page. 
  • Provide shipping and billing information. 
  • Select a payment method (e.g., credit card, PayPal). 
  • Review the order summary. 
  • Confirm the order by clicking the "Place Order" button. 
  • Verify that the order has been successfully placed. 

Order Confirmation: 

  • Enter the Order page and place a valid Order. 
  • After placing the order, navigate to the order confirmation page. 
  • Verify that the order details, including the order number and shipping information, are correct. 

User Account Management: 

  

  • Access the user account profile.  
  • Update personal information if applicable. 
  • Verify the personal information was updated. 

User Account Management: 

  

  • Access the user account profile.  
  • Update personal information if applicable. 
  • Verify the personal information was updated. 

Postconditions: 

  • The user's order is successfully placed. 
  • The user can access and manage their account. 
  • The website functions without errors or issues during the entire E2E testing process. 

This E2E test scenario covers various user interactions on the clothing store website, from registration and browsing products to making a purchase and managing the user account. 

Enhancing Manual Regression Testing Efficiency Through Dev-QA Collaboration 

While manual regression testing primarily involves systematically reevaluating existing functionalities, effective collaboration between development (Dev) and quality assurance (QA) teams is vital in ensuring a streamlined testing process. In this context, we'll briefly explore key collaboration aspects that enhance manual regression testing efficiency. 

Standard Issue 1: Misaligned Sprints 

One common issue is when Dev and QA teams work on different sprint schedules. It's optimal when the QA sprint lags behind the Dev sprint by one sprint cycle.

Issue Description: 

  • Dev teams develop features based on user stories or "tickets" in one sprint. 
  • QA teams may only test these features in the following sprint, creating a gap. 
  • QA teams often test the release, leading to extensive testing cycles and potential delays in identifying and addressing issues. 

Solution 1: Sprint Alignment 

Dev and QA teams should align their sprint schedules to address this issue. Ideally, the Dev sprint should finish, and the QA sprint should begin immediately, allowing for continuous testing of the completed features. It minimizes gaps and ensures faster issue identification and resolution. 

Standard Issue : Lack of Comprehensive Testing 

Sometimes, testing begins prematurely without waiting for the completion of related development work, leading to incomplete or ineffective testing. 

Issue Description: 

  • Devs complete a ticket, and QA immediately starts testing it in isolation. 
  • Later, issues might arise when other related tickets are completed due to dependencies between tickets. 
  • QA may approve a ticket that seems fine in isolation but conflicts with other ticket changes. 

Solution : Comprehensive Testing 

Instead of testing isolated tickets, QA teams should wait until all related tickets are completed before testing. It ensures comprehensive testing of the entire feature set, reducing the chances of integration issues and incomplete testing. 

Standard Issue : Undetected Issues and Release Delays 

When mismatches occur in sprint schedules and testing strategies, critical issues can go undetected until late in the development cycle, leading to release delays. 

Issue Description

  • Undetected issues accumulate until the QA sprint begins. 
  • QA teams identify bugs, but fixing them disrupts the Dev team's current work. 
  • The release deadline approaches, but critical issues remain unresolved. 

Solution : Early System Testing 

Introduce a "system testing" phase before each release to avoid late-stage issues and release delays. This phase should involve rigorous end-to-end testing of the entire application to catch integration issues early. 

While manual regression testing focuses on thoroughly examining existing functionalities, a collaborative approach between Dev and QA teams is integral to enhancing the overall effectiveness of the testing process. By addressing synchronization challenges, optimizing testing timing, and incorporating early system testing, teams can seamlessly work together to deliver high-quality software. You can also familiarize yourself with our successful case study on manual testing for an e-commerce platform.

Manual Regression Testing Step-by-Step: How to plan and organize regression testing? 

When it comes to manual regression testing, there are four essential steps to follow. These steps help ensure that the testing process is thorough and effective. Let's look at each of these steps for a better understanding. 

1. List the Changes

  • Start by listing all the recent changes made to the software or application. It includes updates, code modifications, or any alterations to the system. 
  •  Make a comprehensive list of these changes to understand what needs testing. 

2. List the Affected Parts

  • Identify the specific areas of the software that may be affected by the recent changes. These areas are crucial for regression testing. 
  • Highlight the modules, functionalities, or features likely to be impacted. 

3. Determine the Coverage

  • Assess the coverage needed for regression testing. Determine the scope of the testing process and which test cases need to be executed. 

4. Plan and Run the Tests

Create a well-structured test plan that delineates the test cases, testing scenarios, and testing objectives, ensuring it includes the test cases associated with the blocks of code tested before the changes. Regression testing involves systematically conducting tests on the previously validated functionality, ideally comparing against the existing test plan.  

 

  • Execute the planned tests according to the plan, focusing on the areas requiring regression testing. 
  • Record the results, including any defects or issues encountered during testing. 

Following these steps, you can effectively plan and organize your manual regression testing process, ensuring the software remains reliable and free from unexpected regressions. 

The Difference Between Manual and Automated Regression Testing 

Let's delve into the differences between manual and automated regression testing. 

Manual Regression Testing

Manual regression testing, like any other type of manual testing, involves human testers executing test cases to ensure that new code changes have not adversely affected existing functionality. Testers follow a set of predefined test cases, exploring different paths and inputs to identify potential issues. Here are some critical aspects of manual regression testing: 

  1. Human Intervention: Manual testers actively participate in the testing process. They navigate through the application, observing and validating its behavior.   
  2. Exploratory Testing: Testers can adapt to changes on the fly, exploring different scenarios and identifying issues that may not be covered in the initial test cases. 
  3. User Experience: Manual testing can provide insights into the application's user experience and usability.  
  4. Time-Consuming: Manual regression testing can be time-consuming, especially when the application undergoes frequent updates or changes.  
  5. Subject to Human Error: Since it relies on human testers, manual testing is susceptible to human errors, and the consistency of test execution may vary. 

Automated Regression Testing

Automated regression testing involves testing tools and scripts to automate the execution of test cases. This approach is efficient for repetitive testing tasks and helps quickly identify whether recent changes have affected existing functionalities. Here are some distinctive features of automated regression testing: 

  1. Scripted Tests: Test cases are scripted using automation tools. These scripts simulate user interactions and verify expected outcomes.  
  2. Repeatability: Automated tests can be run repeatedly with the same set of inputs, providing consistent and reliable results.   
  3. Efficiency: Automated regression testing is faster than manual testing, especially for large and complex applications or projects with frequent updates.   
  4. Not Suitable for Exploratory Testing: While automated tests excel at repetitive tasks, manual testing may be less effective for exploratory testing or assessing the user experience.   
  5. Reduced Human Error: Automation reduces the likelihood of human errors during test execution, leading to more accurate and reliable results. 

The choice between manual and automated regression testing depends on factors such as the nature of the project, available resources, project timeline, and the need for exploratory testing. In many cases, a combination of both manual and automated testing may be the most effective approach, leveraging the strengths of each method to ensure comprehensive test coverage.

Conclusion 

Manual regression testing is crucial in maintaining software quality and stability. By following best practices and adhering to a structured approach, testers can ensure that code changes do not introduce regressions or unintended side effects. While automation testing has advantages, manual regression testing remains a valuable tool in a tester's arsenal.  Looking for reliable testing services? Look no further! We are here to help you. Contact us today to discuss your testing requirements and let us ensure the success of your projects.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is manual regression testing?

Manual regression testing is a software testing technique that involves the manual execution of test cases to ensure that new code changes do not adversely impact the existing functionality of an application. 

How do you perform a regression test in manual testing?

How to perform regression testing manually is an essential aspect of software testing, requiring testers to systematically validate that new changes do not adversely impact existing functionalities. To perform a regression test in manual testing, select relevant test cases, document them, set up the testing environment, execute the test cases manually, report defects if found, and repeat the cycle after defect resolution.

Why is regression testing not done manually?

Regression testing can be done manually, but automation testing is often preferred for large-scale or repetitive testing tasks due to its efficiency and repeatability. 

How does collaboration between development (Dev) and quality assurance (QA) teams enhance manual regression testing efficiency?

Effective collaboration addresses issues like misaligned sprints, lack of comprehensive testing, and undetected issues, ensuring a streamlined testing process and high-quality software.

What are the main differences between manual and automated regression testing?

Manual testing involves human intervention and exploratory testing, while automated testing uses scripted tests, provides repeatability and efficiency, and reduces human error.

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