“Failing fast” lies at the heart of agile. Teams want continuous integration (CI) to provide feedback on their latest updates as soon as possible. CI test results are the primary barometer that developers use to determine whether it’s safe to move on to the next development task, or if they inadvertently broke functionality that users have grown to rely on.

With more extensive and more effective regression testing during CI, you’re much more likely to spot critical problems as soon as they’re introduced—which is when they’re fastest, easiest and cheapest to fix. However, given the frequency of builds in most agile processes, there’s simply not much time available for test execution. Developers expect feedback in a matter of minutes, but most regression test suites—especially in Global 2000 organizations—take hours (or days!) to execute. This seems to force a trade-off: Settle for sluggish CI or scale down testing.

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