Software development testing has largely evolved over the past decade to support the more fast-paced needs of agile environments. While agile testing methodologies are becoming more significant, teams must still ensure that they're focusing on specific areas like performance and verifying that the software lives up to user expectations. However, there are a number of misconceptions in performance testing that teams should look out for. Let's take a look at four performance testing fallacies that could be affecting your testing strategies:
Just add hardware
When something isn't performing up to expectations, many organizations believe that throwing in more hardware will solve the issue. However, the problem doesn't always lie with equipment capabilities. StickyMinds contributor Sofia Palamarchuk noted that in the case of a memory leak, adding memory may help keep servers active for a longer period of time, but won't solve the underlying issue. Instead, it just adds more infrastructure costs. Conducting comprehensive performance testing will reveal the root of the problem and enable teams to come up with a real solution that will improve overall operations.
The worst thing to do is not test performance at all. Unfortunately, many teams are so confident in their capabilities that they don't see a reason to conduct performance testing. Palamarchuk noted that programmers are viewed as inexperienced, while managers assume that engineers don't require testing due to their expertise. All apps should receive performance testing, regardless of who designed it. Programming is considerably complex, and mistakes often slip through the cracks despite experience, making performance testing crucial for all cases.
Difference between speed and perceived performance
Some teams may not fully understand what performance means to the user. Speed and load times are commonly used as measurements for performance, but teams are missing the bigger picture of agile test management if they're only using these testing metrics. TechBeacon contributor Amichai Nitsan noted that teams should be observing how quickly users can get to useful information. This type of statistic can help provide a better experience from the user's point of view.
Absence of errors
If your testing efforts didn't identify any defects, can you really say for certain that there weren't any? You need to evaluate whether your performance testing efforts are up to snuff and if they really are optimally geared to find issues. Testing Excellence contributor Amir Ghahrai suggested that organizations evaluate whether the tests were designed to catch the most defects and if the software lives up to user requirements. This will help ensure that the product is ready to ship and that it will provide optimal performance as soon as it hits user devices.
Performance testing is a major part of the software development effort and should be treated as such. However, teams may adopt fallacies like overconfidence, adding hardware and assuming that an absence of errors means that the software is ready to ship. By understanding these misconceptions, QA management can avoid these pitfalls and bolster their performance testing strategies.