Performance Testing: When and How

André Scandaroli | January 13, 2021

What is Performance Testing?

Performance testing is the process that determines if the software meets the expected speed, scalability, and stability requirements under different workloads. The main goal of this type of tests is not to find bugs, but to identify and eliminate bottlenecks where the application might fail or lag.

Also, performance testing reveals what and where the application needs to improve before it is released into the market.

When to do Performance Testing

Before implementing performance testing, there are some things we need to keep in mind, such as if testing will be applied to an existing program or if it will be applied to software that’s being developed from scratch. If the team is planning to apply performance testing to an existing program, first we have to consider the benefits we will obtain because the cost of making changes to the software could prove more expensive than creating a new app; we also have to review if the acceptance criteria can be applied to the program. When it comes to applying performance testing to software that’s in development, we have to consider the software development methodology that is being used to build the application; this has to be well-defined.

Now, should performance testing be done at the beginning or at the end of the software’s development?

The waterfall methodology applies testing until the end of development. Tests are applied as acceptance testing and if criteria are met, the product goes into production. Testing, in this case, is a simulation of the expected load scenario in an environment that is very similar to the production environment, which has the benefit of being very realistic.

When working with Agile methodology, performance testing is executed at the beginning of the software’s development and it continues to be applied throughout the whole process. In this case, those in charge of QA perform unit testing. In the Agile method, the development team reduces the risk of bugs in the application or of creating software that does not satisfy the client’s needs. This method also lowers costs and allows the team to implement continuous integration. 

Neither of these methods is better than the other since it all depends on the needs of the client and the different stages of the development cycle. But in both cases, team knowledge plays a key role, and the right tools and processes need to be well defined to achieve the established goal. 

How to Execute Performance Testing

To execute a good performance testing cycle, there are 7 key steps that need to be followed to ensure a product meets the requirements of the client and final users.

  1. Identify the test environment: identify and test the production environment, which also includes the hardware, software, and networks where the product will be used.
  2. Identify performance acceptance criteria: identify the response time, throughput, and resource utilization goals and constraints.
  3. Plan and design tests: determine how to simulate the scenarios, data, and metrics that will be collected during test execution.
  4. Configure the test environment: prepare the environment, tools, hardware, network, and anything related to the use of the product.
  5. Implement the test design: develop the test in accordance with what was previously designed.
  6. Execute the test: run and monitor test execution.
  7. Analyze results, reports, and retest: analyze the collected data and evaluate if it meets the metrics previously established by the team. The test execution is either accepted or changes are applied in order to run another execution that includes suggested enhancements.

Conclusion

To reap the greatest benefits from performance testing, working with a capable team is crucial. They must have the knowledge to understand and identify the needs of the client as well as the functionality of the application, applying either the waterfall methodology or the agile method. Another critical factor in achieving successful results is the correct application of steps in the performance testing cycle. In this way, the team will be able to pinpoint what needs to be done in each step so as to accomplish the main goal: to develop stable software that will be useful for the end-user, software that can recover and continue to complete tasks despite any issue that may surface.

 

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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  1. Performance testing helps to determine if the software meets the expected speed, scalability, and stability requirements under different workloads.
  2. When performance testing will be executed in the software timeline will depend if the team is using the waterfall methodology or the agile method.
  3. To achieve successful results, the steps of the performance testing cycle must be followed correctly.

 

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