What Is Manual Regression Testing and How Can You Optimize Your Test Cases?

Timothy Joseph
Timothy Joseph | January 21, 2023
What Is Manual Regression Testing and How Can You Optimize Your Test Cases?

Evolution can be brutal. A piece of code you once considered an innovative breakthrough can put your entire application in danger once integrated within the original application code. That is why we call software development today’s Agile approach in software development a constant survival-of-the-fittest test.

Regression testing is the final arbiter of this evolution. Its role is to test the impact of change within a product and perform a search-and-destroy mission on any defects introduced through intended improvement. Manual regression testing is a brilliant idea to test the impact of change within a product and perform a search-and-destroy mission on any defects introduced through new features or intended improvement.

Importantly, it is possible to perform regression testing with both automation and manual methods, and both have their own benefits. Automation, we understand, delivers speed. Manual testing, on the other hand, provides human ingenuity and an eye for detail.

So, What is Manual Regression Testing?

Manual regression testing is the most rigorous form of safeguard testing you can apply before you move on to the next phase of your product’s journey toward the end user. It takes the experience and talents of QA experts to elevate manual regression testing from a costly burden to an efficient cog in your wider QA system.

Find the Right Regression Testing Balance

Regression testing can seem like the Groundhog Day of your QA process. It must be performed every time there is a code change to protect your product’s integrity.

Manual testing takes time and engineers’ patience. So, the combination of Agile iteration-after-iteration repetition and the regression process's labor-intensive nature can drain your resources and stress your release cycles.

That is why it is crucial that regression testing be built into your testing plan right from the first scoping studies. Get it wrong, and your product will fail or push larger time and resource costs into the final days of your timeline. Get it right, and you still have to account for the time and resources it will take to execute successfully.

It is a precise balance that only the most experienced QA experts can maintain.

Let us explore ways to optimize your manual regression test cases.

Manual Regression Testing Strategies

As with every aspect of the QA process, preparation and planning in regression testing are as important as execution. A well-written test case is a successful test case.

Given the time and resource cost of manual regression testing, preparation takes on even greater importance. The five steps outlined below should be considered as soon as you start putting together your test plan.

The following steps will help you to optimize your process.

1 – Identify the Right Test Cases for Manual Execution

It is critical that your regression testing identifies and fixes the real problem areas within your application. To make sure you verify and clean up everything in the process, target manual test cases that:

  • Have had a high number of defects in previous iterations
  • Include features that are highly visible to the end user
  • Cover the application’s core features and functionality
  • Control integration in the application

Again, regression testing needs to be executed every time change occurs.

2 – Balance Manual and Automation Testing

Manual testing exposes the core elements of your application to the insight and experience of human engineers. While an automated system can never replicate that kind of vision, it offers substantial time savings, provided you are using the right automation tool for your application.

The automation vs. manual testing debate will remain with us unless AI can, one day, faithfully replicate the creativity of a human tester. Until then, accept that the best approach is a blend of both automated and manual methods, ensuring maximum coverage with minimal effort.

3 – Maintain Your Test Suite

You need to keep your test suite clean. It should contain test cases only from recent iterations and should not contain cases that are no longer active. Similarly, your QA engineers should know to continually update test scripts to reflect all the latest code changes. Both efforts will save time on your QA and produce more stable test results.

4 – Plan for Each Test Phase

Any software development and QA phase that has the potential to produce change should be accompanied by pre-planned regression testing. Aim to uncover as many defects and errors as possible early in your Agile production cycle by giving the rigors of manual regression testing time to work.

5 – Capitalize on the Support of QA Experts

Finally, wherever possible, you should turn your regression testing over to experts. Outsourcing your QA places the burden of producing a robust core on engineers who are dedicated to the practice. In addition to generating resource savings, an external QA partner can take the lead in pursuing regression testing advantages such as those outlined above.

If you are not a QA expert, outsource. There is more risk involved in trying to turn your development team into regression testing savants than there will ever be in inviting an external partner to share responsibility for your product.

Technology Trends in Manual Regression Testing

Manual regression testing is evolving with AI and ML automation, intelligent analytics for insights, streamlined setup with containerization, and enhanced collaboration tools, ensuring efficient and comprehensive testing processes.

  • Artificial Intelligence

    Utilizing Artificial Intelligence (AI) in regression testing provides several benefits that enhance the testing process's efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness.

    • The key benefits of incorporating AI into testing are Test Automation Assistance, Test Case Prioritization, Smart Test Case Maintenance, Defect Prediction, Faster Execution, Cross-Browser and Cross-Device Testing, and Pattern Recognition.
    • AI can assist in automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks within regression testing, including identifying test cases suitable for automation, generating test scripts, and enabling testers to focus on more complex testing scenarios.
    • Helps in maintaining an up-to-date and relevant regression test suite by identifying redundant or obsolete test cases.
    • AI algorithms can analyze historical test data and code changes to prioritize test cases.
    • Detects changes in the application's user interface or functionality and automatically updates or adapts test cases accordingly.
    • Analyzes patterns in past defects and testing outcomes to predict potential areas of high risk, enabling testers to focus their efforts on these areas.
  • Blockchain for Test Traceability

    • Utilizing blockchain technology can augment testing by providing a secure and unalterable method to trace and authenticate the history of test cases, test execution, and their outcomes.
    • In a blockchain system, each transaction is recorded as a block, which cannot be modified, or deleted once added. This ensures the preservation of the test execution history in its original state.
    • Implementing blockchain technology could significantly enhance traceability, transparency, data integrity, reliability, and accountability in testing.
    • Eliminates the requirement of a central authority to manage and maintain test execution records and minimizes the risk of intentional or unintentional manipulation of test results.

Challenges Faced by Client and Solution From QASource

  • Difficulty in Regression Pack Maintenance:

    Maintaining and updating a sizeable manual regression test suite becomes challenging as the application grows

    Solution provided to the client: We provided a comprehensive solution by creating End-to-End test cases for the different application modules. This approach ensures complete coverage while reducing the number of cases required. We also automated the End-to-End test cases for greater efficiency. Test case optimization is a crucial step in reducing the size of the test suite. To ensure the test suite remains relevant, we regularly review, update, and refactor the regression test suite. This includes eliminating or retiring redundant test cases and cases no longer applicable and adding new, relevant test cases to align with current application functionality. Our approach prioritizes, selects, and designs test cases to achieve maximum test coverage with the minimum number of test cases.

  • Test Data Re-usability:

    Manually preparing test data for different test scenarios can result in redundancy and inefficiency. In the financial application, we must deal with crucial data, multiple calculations, multiple formulas, and different test data

    Solution provided to the client: Rather than generating numerous identical cases with varying test data for a particular field, we maintained a formula-based Excel sheet with diverse test data and established one case with various inputs and anticipated outcomes. Additionally, we appended the sheet with the test case, guaranteeing that computations are precise and correspond with the projected data.

  • Waiting for Feedback on the New Feature /Improvement is Time-Consuming

    Solution provided to the client: It is recommended that the developer include Acceptance cases within the New Feature ticket to enable early testing by the tester. To prevent email chains, it is advisable to maintain a sheet of Queries and Issues on a centralized page, such as the Confluence page, accessible to all relevant parties (testing team, Dev team, business team). This allows anyone working on the feature to provide feedback on the sheet, facilitating the creation of a defect. Additionally, conducting Peer reviews is a prudent approach to ensure comprehensive coverage of the entire functionality.

  • Test Coverage: Manual testing might not cover all the areas due to time constraints

    Solution provided to the client: It is recommended to prioritize tests based on regression areas and risk analysis. Furthermore, performing sanity tests for the unaltered areas and excluding those cases from the test plan is advisable. Additionally, automating instances and executing automation suites for all areas within the regression cycle is highly recommended.


Regression testing is your safeguard against the dangers of changes within an application’s development. Seeing as innovation and improvement will always be a part of developing products for commercial consumption, there is no way of avoiding the process of manual regression testing.

To be confident in the final quality of your product, hand the rigors of regression over to those experts who dedicate their professional lives to the vital task.

QASource engineers are regression testing experts. Our team of more than 700 skilled professionals has access to state-of-the-art testing and research facilities that keep them at the forefront of software development technologies. To find a trusted QA expert, get a free quote, or call +1.925.271.5555 today.


This publication is for informational purposes only, and nothing contained in it should be considered legal advice. We expressly disclaim any warranty or responsibility for damages arising out of this information and encourage you to consult with legal counsel regarding your specific needs. We do not undertake any duty to update previously posted materials.