The Impact of Test Suite Granularity on the Cost-Effectiveness of Regression Testing
G. Rothermel, S. Elbaum, A. Malishevsky, P. Kallakuri, and B. Davia
Proceedings of the 24th International Conference on Software Engineering
May, 2002, pages 230 - 240.


Regression testing is an expensive testing process used to validate software following modifications. The cost-effectiveness of regression testing techniques varies with characteristics of test suites. One such characteristic, test suite granularity, involves the way in which test inputs are grouped into test cases within a test suite. Various cost-benefits tradeoffs have been attributed to choices of test suite granularity, but almost no research has formally examined these tradeoffs. To address this lack, we conducted several controlled experiments, examining the effects of test suite granularity on the costs and benefits of several regression testing methodologies across six releases of two non-trivial software systems. Our results expose essential tradeoffs to consider when designing test suites for use in regression testing evolving systems.