What Is the Performance Testing Process?

Developing a product can take months or even years to complete. Every stage of the process is meticulously managed to ensure the product’s launch goes off without a hitch. Performance testing is meant to be a tool that can be inserted into any stage of the process to check how the product’s system handles various tests and workloads. Through different types of performance testing, an organization can gather the necessary information to correct any faults in the speed, responsiveness, or reliability of a product before it goes public. While each test verifies a unique part of the system, the overarching performance testing process can be broken down into an easy-to-digest plan. 

What Are the Types of Performance Testing?

Before delving into the performance testing process, it would be helpful to identify and understand the six types of performance tests.

  1. Stress test: Evaluates the behavior of a system under intensive activity. This test incrementally increases the pressure the system is put under to identify if there is a point where it bottlenecks. 
  2. Load test: Evaluates a system under realistic conditions. This test is used to understand how many users will be anticipated to be on the system. This anticipated number of users will vary depending on the software being tested. The test is also used to determine if the size of the application needs to be increased.
  3. Spike test: Evaluates a system’s performance under a sudden increase in load. This test considers the number of users and the complexity of the activity that is being performed.
  4. Endurance test: Evaluates the consistent performance of a system over an extended period under high-intensity loads. 
  5. Volume test: Evaluates a system’s performance while processing extreme amounts of data. 
  6. Scalability test: Evaluates the behavior of a system while “scaling up” from a minimum load to a maximum load. The goal is to better plan capacity needs for a system. 

What Are the Steps in Performance Testing?

Now that we can identify and understand the necessary use for each type of test, we can better follow the process of performance testing. While methodology can change for various reasons, there are foundational steps that guide the process of the performance testing life cycle.  

  1. Curate the necessary testing environment: The test team needs to evaluate the software, hardware, and network they have available for the test. Identify the strengths and weaknesses of the host system to understand where potential problems could arise. Then, make the necessary upgrades to the environment so that it is suitable for testing. 
  2. Establish concrete success criteria: Goals or limits must be set for all the metrics the test team will be looking at, like response time and resource allocation. This helps ensure that the team is on track to complete the testing on time.
  3. Design the tests: The test team should identify how the usage will vary depending on the end-users. It is also beneficial to create scenarios that replicate real-world traffic situations like thousands of simultaneous logins. 
  4. Create the testing environment: The team will set up and arrange all of the tools and resources intended for the performance test. The scripts that will be used by the testing application to simulate user activity should be designed in this stage. 
  5. Mold the test around your design: The environment must be tested to identify if there are any areas with bottleneck issues. If the test servers cannot handle the virtual user implemented for the test, the data recovered will not be accurate. 
  6. Perform the test: After all of the prep work is done, the actual testing can commence. While the test is running, the team should monitor the key performance indicators and record the data for analysis. 
  7. Analyze and retest: Once the test is complete, the team should comb through all recorded data to identify successes and failures. Use this information to adjust any parts of the test that are not working as needed and test again to see if the changes were effective. This test also involved going back and making changes and upgrades based on the information gathered from the test.

Performance Testing Best Practices

The best way to ensure that a team is getting the most out of their performance tests is to routinely do them and ensure that they are happening as often as possible. Waiting to perform a test at the last possible moment may result in bugs or other problems being discovered without any time to fix them. Beyond testing often, another great practice is to look at the tests from the end-user’s perspective. The team’s attention will be pulled in many different directions from their side of the process. It is vital to keep in mind how the user will perceive aspects of the product. For example, response time is something that every single end-user will notice the second they begin using your product. 

Performance testing can be a time-consuming task, but it is essential to ensure a successful launch of any product. Understanding the limits of your system can allow for quick adaptations as users find new ways the system can be improved over time. 

Simplify Testing With Foulk Consulting

Our team at Foulk understands the importance of performance testing. That is why we want to set your team up for success by introducing you to new techniques and strategies that reduce repetitive tasks and speed development time. Contact us if you want to learn how our automated test strategies can help your team today.

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