This article will provide a deeper understanding of how performance testing can be integrated into Agile processes. All software development projects, even Agile ones, must include performance testing. Application performance is essential for the development of better software releases and iterations, from initial planning to production analysis. Performance should be a priority for all Agile developers and stakeholders.
Introduction to the Approach
This approach begins by looking at the entire software development project. It also examines the reasons that stakeholders have included performance testing in the project and the expected value that performance testing will bring to the project. Agile software development breaks down the barriers of traditional waterfall methods to accelerate ROI and deliver business value faster.
It is an integral part Agile processes. Performance testing can help your company develop better software in a shorter time and reduce development costs. It is important to test performance early in development and to simultaneously test functionality and performance within a sprint. From the release planning stage, performance testing is considered throughout the Agile SDLC.
Here are some key considerations for Agile performance testing
Application owners in Agile environments need to be able to see continuous improvement over time. They desire to see a positive trend where every iteration is better than the previous. It is important to track application performance trends according to SLO requirements. Trending reports allow you to provide regular snapshots of performance that can be used by stakeholders to show that performance is improving or not declining. Trending reports are a great way to see trends without having to analyze every test run.
Agile Performance Testing Activities
These nine activities can be used to illustrate this approach.
Activity 1. Understanding the Project Vision and Context
Context and the project vision are key to deciding whether performance testing is needed and beneficial. You must understand the current project vision before you start performance testing. You should review the vision frequently, as the features, architecture, timeline, and environment are subject to change.
It is crucial to identify the reasons for performing testing in order to be able to decide which performance-testing activities are most beneficial to your project. Each project will have different reasons to include or exclude performance testing. Integrated performance testing can be used to monitor resource usage trends, measure response times, and collect data for capacity planning and scalability.
Strategies help to focus decisions and are easily accessible to all members of the team. They also include a way for everyone to take notes or make comments.
When preparing a performance-testing plan for a performance build, there are many things that you can discuss with your team. These include: external resources required, risks to accomplish the strategy, areas to concern, pass/fail criteria and completion criteria.
Once you have a strategy in place, make sure that you have the resources and tools necessary to implement it. As features and components are made available for testing, prepare them. Load-generation and application-monitoring tools are almost never as easy to implement as one expects.
When configuring your test environment, consider the following:
- Calculate how much load you are able to generate before load generators hit a bottleneck.
- Validate the accuracy and efficiency of load testing related to server clusters in load balanced configuration.
- To validate load distribution, monitor resource usage (CPU, network memory, disk, and transactions per hour) across load-balanced servers during a load test.
Execution plans for performance tests should be communicated to team members and other stakeholders using the same methods as the strategy. There may be more than one execution plan for a strategy depending on the project’s pace or schedule.
Activity 6. Execute the Task(s).
Once each performance build has been delivered, performance testing starts with the most important task.
The key to conducting a performance test is to analyze the results immediately, revise your plan accordingly, note significant findings and record any other information that may be required to repeat the test later.
The following sub-tasks can be combined to execute a test:
- Assist the team in testing execution and monitoring.
- Validate configurations and tests.
- Ensure that scripts, systems and data are validated while the test is in progress.
- Log the start and end times, as well as the name of the results data.
The job of the performance specialist involves finding trends and patterns in data. This is a time-consuming task. This job can also lead to the desire for re-exercising one or more of your tests.
The data must first be analysed before results can be reported. When analysing data, be aware of the following:
- Compare the data captured with the acceptable or expected level of the metric to determine if the performance of the application under test is trending toward or against the performance goals.
- A diagnosis and tuning activity will usually be required if the test fails.
- To validate your fix, you can repeat the test if there are any bottlenecks.
- If the test results are not what you expected, modify the test to obtain new, better or different information.
- To set priorities for the next test, use current results.
- Many metrics are collected frequently and produce large amounts of data.
It is a good idea to identify or estimate the desired performance characteristics early in the development cycle. It is easy to identify the performance characteristics that stakeholders and users associate with good performance.
Commonly, there are three types of characteristics that correlate with stakeholder or user satisfaction: Response time, Throughput, and Resource utilization.
Activity 9. Reprioritize Tasks
Based on test results and new information, prioritize, add to or delete tasks from your strategy based on these factors. Agile teams may conduct “performance-only” scrums and stand-ups periodically when performance testing-related coordination or reporting is too time-consuming to handle in the existing update system.
You can manage performance testing in agile projects in a flexible manner. This approach allows you to review the project vision and reprioritize tasks according to their contribution to the performance test at a particular point in time.