The classic waterfall approach to testing is not only out of date in today’s fast-paced development settings, but it may also be a formula for disaster. Performance bottlenecks, security flaws, and other problems become more expensive and time-consuming to solve the longer developers and testers wait to find them. Because of this, agile testing is becoming more and more popular in businesses of all kinds. Agile performance testing techniques help developers find problems faster and maintain higher code quality.
How should performance testing for agile be done? Seven effective practices for agile performance testing are listed in this article. They are useful for developers and testers at any stage of their agile journey because they are based on our significant experience assisting enterprises, mid-market businesses, and SMBs move to an agile performance testing approach. Ready? Let’s start now!
7 Points for Using Agile Performance Testing
- Move Left While Testing
“Shifting left” your performance testing is the cornerstone of agile testing. As a result, performance testing needs to begin as soon as feasible in the development cycle and be conducted following each build and release. Performance testing happens after the development process is over, whereas the waterfall technique does not.
Testing at the left of the development lifecycle establishes an iterative feedback loop that influences the stages that follow. Developers may immediately address performance bottlenecks, security flaws, and other problems after spotting them before they become more costly or time-consuming to fix. A smoother, more effective development process that precisely and speedily meets user requests is guaranteed by this proactive approach.
- Add to the CI/CD Pipelines
Include your automated continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines with your performance tests. This guarantees that they will be executed frequently, allowing any performance concerns to be rapidly identified. These tests must be run manually, which is time-consuming and subject to error.
Include the context of your development workflow as you put up your tests. For instance, to detect regressions immediately after each code commit. Additionally, you may set up tests to run every X intervals of time, such as every Sunday during a sprint or every quarter prior to choosing the new product plan. Continuous testing of this nature can assist in informing future development strategies and corporate choices.
- Set Specific Goals
Is a 0.3% mistake rate acceptable? There isn’t a single solution. The solution must be appropriate for both your application and your users. Therefore, establish precise KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) before you begin performing your tests. What throughput, scalability, and reaction time requirements must your application under test (AUT) meet?
It will be easier to conduct testing and determine the next steps to take if you have defined objectives. While you might be tracking your test findings without KPIs, it will be challenging to act on them. Even if you do, your users might not find these actions to be appropriate.
- Employ realistic test scenarios and data.
Use actual test data and situations rather than overly simplistic ones to simulate real-world settings. This makes it more probable that the test findings will represent actual user experiences and helps discover the bottlenecks, security problems, or defects that will actually affect users. As a result, the test results are far more trustworthy and useful.
You may study the product data and comprehend how consumers utilize the system to create realistic test scenarios. If users aren’t performing user journeys that they should be, you might be able to identify them using this strategy (as an alternative). Hold regular meetings with product managers to discuss new features that don’t yet have product data. Knowing what is going to happen allows you to design scenarios and get ready for it.
It is advised to use a range of performance testing methods, including load testing, stress testing, and endurance testing, while creating your scenarios. As a result, you will be able to test the application under various load scenarios, including peak traffic, and guarantee that you can replicate edge cases that are realistic but not always prevalent.
- Watch and Examine
During performance tests, monitoring is crucial because it offers real-time insights into system activity, assisting in the identification of bottlenecks, faults, or inefficiencies that may have an influence on user experience. Monitoring data on different system parameters, such as throughput, error rate, and hits per second, as well as CPU utilization, memory consumption, and network latency, is advised. You can gather this information automatically with the aid of performance testing tools. For instance, BlazeMeter records measurements and shows them in easily understandable dashboards. Additionally, it incorporates APM tools for enhanced monitoring capabilities. Additionally, you can use programs like Grafana and Prometheus.
The second component of the equation is analysis. Although raw data is helpful, interpretation is crucial. Do you still recall the goals you set before beginning? Check your dashboards’ analytics and look for bottlenecks, spikes, or any other odd patterns that can point to a performance problem. These are now targets for optimization in your subsequent development cycle.
- Work together
Agile performance testing is built on collaboration. The objective is to match the performance requirements and outcomes for all parties involved, including developers, testers, DevOps, and product managers. Time-to-market is accelerated by effective cooperation, and teams are happier and more productive as a result. Regular sync-ups, shared documentation, and group decision-making are typical components of collaboration, but identify the strategies that work best for you.
- Refine and adjust
Each testing cycle generates useful information that should be used to improve and restructure the testing techniques and the code. Fix any bottlenecks found during testing, then retest to ensure the fix was successful.
The testing procedure itself uses the same iterative methodology. You may discover that certain tests are redundant or that new features call for different kinds of performance tests. Adjust the test suite as necessary.
Agile performance testing is a continuous endeavor. The ongoing process still necessitates collaboration, continuous monitoring, and improvement (as well as, of course, executing the tests) after your testing strategy has been modified to shift left and CI/CD. These will guarantee that your company gets the most out of agile performance testing and can reliably and continually pinpoint problems in due time.
Be flexible and adaptable above anything else. Since the agile environment is ever-changing, performance testers must also be versatile and flexible.