How to improve cycle time for performance testing

Performance testing cycles can be shortened with capable tools.

In this guest blog Sanjay Zalvadia, VP of Client Services at Zephyr, shares three key tips to improve cycle time for performance testing.

Release cycles have become shorter than ever, with some teams aiming to deploy deliverables on a weekly or daily basis. This is a significant shift from legacy development practices that often took months and even years to see through to completion. Agile testing methodologies are a major driver for keeping up with the fast pace of today's evolving user needs and have greatly improved the overall quality of applications. Performance testing in particular is becoming more necessary in the mobile environment as users seek to get the same experience from a variety of devices. Let's take a look at a few tips to help improve cycle time for performance testing:

1. Automate

In order to keep up with agile expectations, organizations need to make the best use of their tools and processes. With larger applications, it can take a long time to check everything and ensure that it's working up to performance standards, but automation takes out much of the headache associated with testing your performance capabilities. Any test that's reusable should be scheduled within an automation tool to run when developers aren't changing the code that's being evaluated. This will provide peace of mind that teams can facilitate continuous testing initiatives without having to manually complete all of these tasks.

A Hewlett Packard Enterprise white paper noted that developers often take up 60 percent of a sprint's time working on the code, leaving little time to fully test the application. However, organizations can keep pace with performance and regression testing objectives by actively using automation to handle the bulk of the work. This will considerably cut down on the time needed conduct performance testing and ensure that the app is working appropriately upon release.

2. Create a baseline

It's important to remember that you may not need to run the same tests all the time. Teams should establish a baseline for what type of timeframe they're aiming for. This will create more focus around what must be done within that time and prevent members from being concerned with extraneous work. At the same time, it will be important to determine when performance testing should be run and what actions to take with the results. Ministry of Testing contributor Rajni Singh noted that performance testing should be run at the code level for newly developed features.

Any changes made necessitate additional tests to ensure that the functions not only work on their own, but that they also integrate with established app features without breaking anything. By creating a baseline, testers will have a better idea of how much time they have to finish their tasks, facilitating a more urgent atmosphere to get work done. Performance testing early in the software cycle can also yield integral information for what issues need to be addressed before release. This will help develop robust code and functionality that has quality built in.

3. Understand the challenges

Organizations are increasingly leveraging mobile devices to fulfill work tasks, and development teams must now consider this hardware as a preferred choice. However, this technology comes with a number of significant challenges. There are different operating systems, hardware specifications and programming languages that testers must contend with, especially when ensuring that an app can live up to load and traffic spikes. While you could conduct tests manually, this would take a lot of time. If you had one device, but had to conduct 100 tests, it could take 100 minutes to complete. With 50 of the exact same device, each one could run two tests, resulting in only two minutes taken to evaluate performance. This is a lot of work no matter how you spin it.

With the right tools, including automation integration and load testing assets, organizations can quickly and accurately evaluate their applications on a regular basis. These tests can even be run at night while teams are home preparing for the next day. This type of scheduling can put teams at a unique advantage to speed up their cycle times without sacrificing the quality of their projects. By following these tips, teams can create a setup that not only supports agile development process, but also ensures that performance testing can be completed in a short period.

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