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Are regression packs still worthwhile?

Sun 21 Sep 2008

Recently I was on forum and noticed the thread "Why do we do Regression testing?". In it the person was complaining about their company's regression pack and asking if it was worth the effort of fixing it?

My answer was a little quick off the mark. I replied saying "Definitely! Its the backbone for each and every build!". But then this got me thinking, How many testers out there DO NOT practice Agile development? How many testers DO NOT work in an environment where automation of tests is 2nd nature?

I do not ask this question in a malicious way, I genuinely would like to know. When I go to SIGiST there are a number of questions in the presentations/workshops by people who have not worked in an Agile environment and, to be honest, seem scared by it. These are the same people when you mention something like "Continuous Integration" and they get that deer-in-headlights look on their face.

This leads me to my next question; Is there a "Rich get richer, Poor get poorer" divide happening in testing? People in conferences mention that the lines between development and testing is blurring. It's called grey-box testing. But your average manual tester in a large non-software institution (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) have got their "break" in testing by being seconded to the test team for a project and never wanted to leave their secondment. They may not have been given opportunities to learn how to program or may not even have heard about concepts like Agile, TDD and all the other new ways testers do their jobs.

To these people; the answer to my original question is still the same: "Yes! Definitely! Otherwise things that used to work may not work anymore. I would also suggest trying to automate the regression pack as much as possible so that you can concentrate on making testing more efficient. Try automate as much as possible so that you can concentrate on doing testing on those hard to test areas. Quality of software is still the main objective of testing."

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