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The top three application performance testing objectives

What are the top three application performance testing objectives? Expert Amy Reichert says there are a few objectives you should have in mind to ensure testing delivers.

The number one application performance testing objective is analysis of the test results. In fact, performance...

testing is backwards because many software development businesses conduct application performance tests, but fail to analyze the results. The main objective of testing must be to analyze results and determine where the application's performance can be improved.

When scheduling application performance tests, first plan to analyze the results. It's not enough to run test scripts, developers or performance engineers need to think through the results. Plan time to fully analyze test results and gather data that is actively used to design application improvements. 

The second application performance testing objective is defining the measurements. What is the definition of 'fast enough?' Performance testing is a tool for improving performance, but, in order to improve, you have to know what the current baseline is. Execute the performance test during each deployment and measure how the application currently performs. Determine if the timing is consistent, or if it doesn't have a pattern. Define the minimum performance values expected. When an application is run continuously for periods of time, it provides a baseline to work from. As the business gets more sophisticated with performance testing, add load, check for stability and determine at what points the application performs the best. Measuring application performance is the only way to know how well the application scales and allows the opportunity to plan for future improvements.

The third application performance testing objective is to create authentic, planned and thoughtfully crafted performance tests. Do more than just using the free add-ons available in many tools. Performance testing is too important to the application's success. Customers leave slow-performing Web or mobile sites. The winning application is the high performing one. Many software development businesses fail to take performance testing seriously. It deserves focused effort, including time to design full performance test development.

Slapping performance testing together or using simple, pre-fab tools is not the answer. Either use a performance engineer with specific domain knowledge, or allow development and quality assurance to design and develop application performance tests that generate data that can be analyzed and used to improve performance. Application performance is serious for the success of the business. Take it seriously and test thoroughly.

Next Steps

Using application performance modeling techniques

Addressing application performance early

This was last published in July 2015

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What do you consider the most important objective for application performance testing?
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When testing a functional change, something I frequently do is test the current version of the software in order to establish a baseline for the performance. Then, run tests on the new build to determine if there was any performance degradation. Usually this means running multiple tests to make sure that the results are consistent. If the performance has worsened, the team has a discussion as to whether it's acceptable. 
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As it would be an objective for any kind of testing: discover problems that matter. It's typically response time, ability to handle required number of concurrent sessions and simultaneous requests, proper garbage collection (and overall endurance under prolonged load).
Sometimes benchmarks is a part of public data, so PT is used to gather those.
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Its Really an awesome Article Amy Reichert. Thanks for sharing such a great post.
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Good tips - I think that where we most often stumble is defining "fast enough". Unfortunately we don't have a QA environment that is capable of replicating all of the conditions that can factor into performance, such as hardware, database load, server load, etc.
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Fast enough, robust enough, resilient enough... all values that are subjective, and need time and repeated tests to determine. I've been bitten before by thinking that we had a sufficient buffer for "good enough performance, only to get hit by an anomalous day or event and all previously considered "OK" standards got thrown out the window. Establishing a regular baseline for performance tests, and stress tests on both the test machines and with the production environment are important.
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These are rather objectives for 'designing' your application performance tests, than objectives of performance testing itself. Performance Testing Objectives are the things that you want to achieve by planning, then designing, then executing, and then after analyzing your test results.
-Srinivasa Chamarty
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Let's see.
Server-side software performance, infrastructure / hardware performance, and client-side performance.

For (1) - response time and transaction time, but also ability to handle concurrent sessions and simultaneous requests.

For (2) - bandwidth and security (filtering out potential attacks requires real-time performance).

For (3) - rendering of the app on the browsers, responsiveness of the UI.
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Nice article! Very informative. Performance testing is a non-functional testing to determining the speed or effectiveness of an application. It measures the quality attributes of the system, such as scalability, reliability and resource usage.

Thanks for the article.
Cheers Jack!
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