Performance Test Practices For The Agile World

Performance Test Practices For The Agile World

A lot has changed in today’s fast paced digital transformation scenario. In the world of quality, performance testing has become key from business, user, engineering standpoints. The performance testing strategy is evolving based on changing user needs and is no longer a silo of its own running in parallel to the Agile cycles. Let’s look at what are those core performance testing best practices that are driving the change in the landscape and giving this effort a true face lift:

  1. Granular Performance Tests –    Performance testing services are no longer restricted to end to end workflows. While they are also still in use, there are better outcomes when performance testing is started earlier and are more granular. Herein even performance unit tests are being taken up to catch issues early on and promote better debugging and troubleshooting
  1. Pre and Post Production Monitoring – For fear of handling production data securely, most testing efforts were stopped in pre-production environments in the past. However data from live usage patterns, the need for live monitoring and tweaking on the go, have all made production monitoring very important
  1. Tight coupling between Functional and Performance Test Scripts in all computing scenarios – while performance testing was almost on par with functional testing from the early years of independent software testing, its tight coupling with functional testing was often missing. There is so much in common between the two testing services, whether it be leveraging scenarios and workflows, test data, how they play a role in making a release decision, that they can no longer be seeing in silos. Topics such as performance testing in the social, mobile and cloud computing worlds have also gained significant prominence
  1. Field Testing – Performance testing inside labs, especially in today’s age of digital transformation will take a product only so far. Field testing gives a lot of valuable and realistic information whether it be from internet speeds, load at specific times and from specific markets amongst others. A lot of cloud based SaaS solutions today are enabling realistic non-field performance testing but they cannot and will not replace field testing in entirety
  1. User Beta Tests for Software Performance – Users are today, more involved in products they use, than ever before.  They actively partake in evaluating the production from design, feature set, implementation standpoints that they provide feedback not just on functional pieces but on the performance side too. Crowd sourced test efforts or beta tests are increasingly focusing on performance testing services too as an important area to seek end user feedback on
  1. Focus on Proactive Scenarios – Performance testing of the yester years largely focused on end to end scenarios based on business needs. Today, it is not just relying on business numbers. A solid performance testing strategy is looking at competition, scalability, how a chance to a non-performance attribute will impact performance to list a few. These have pushed performance testing from a proactive to a reactive setting, and brought in continuous testing culture in this space too
  1. Simplifying Scenarios for Greater Understanding and Acceptance – While core performance architecting may be an activity for the experts, overall performance testing as a function is a lot simpler today that it can be understood, appreciated and embraced in possible shapes and forms even by regular functional testers. Such generalization with a scope for specialization for experts, has made the coupling with functional testing even stronger and has brought software performance testing more into mainstream
  1. Domain Specific Performance Testing – while performance testing remains largely horizontal, specific practices that are domain centric gives the effort an edge. For example an ecommerce domain has areas of its own to focus on – a health care, a banking, a travel transportation – each domain has its slight customizations, making this a niche effort, every time.

All of the above best practices in making performance testing flexible, nimble and agile were not necessitated by just one trigger. User needs, competition, changes in technology, the kind of products under development have all together contributed in this revolution and this movement will only further continue in the coming years.

About the Author

Rajini Padmanaban Rajini Padmanaban
As Vice President, Testing Services and Engagements, Rajini Padmanaban leads the engagement management for some of QA InfoTech's largest and most strategic accounts. She has over seventeen years of professional experience, primarily in software quality assurance. Rajini advocates software quality through evangelistic activities including blogging on test trends, technologies and best practices. She is also a regular speaker in conferences run by SQE, QAI STC ,ATA, UNICOM, EuroStar and has orchestrated several webinars. Her writings are featured in TechWell, Sticky Minds, Better Software Magazine. She has co-authored a book on crowdsourced testing . She can be reached at rajini.padmanaban@qa.qainfotech.com