Sunday, July 24, 2011

Note on Performance Testing from Scott Barber

At the STP Conference in Nashville I had many daily decisions to make.  After James Bach's inspirational key note, came my first important decision.  There were two speakers both of whom wrote featured articles in the the book, "Beautiful Testing".   One of my co-workers was going to listen to Karen Johnson about "The Strategy Part of the Test Strategy", so I chose to listen to Scott Barber.

Scott in his normal flamboyant style delivered  a passionate presentation on performance testing, "A Performance Testing Life Story: From Conception to Headstone".  I also have a passion for performance testing, but I have a ton of learning to do.  Scott's presentation went right to the heart of the performance testing life cycle.  Here is a summary:

1.  Building a software product it is critical to consider performance within the architecture and design phase.  Performance should be part of the DNA by asking performance specific questions as the software concept evolves.

2.  We should set performance targets then profile and test the code at the component level.

3.  We should continue profiling, performance unit testings, but also add in environmental performance testing and load or stress testing.

4.  There should be a tuning phase where we do our best to optimize performance prior to launch.

5.  We should performance test every patch, update, or configuration change.

6.  Even sun setting applications should be monitored for performance.

Scott summarized his presentation by stating "Successful people and applications are tested, monitored and tuned all of their lives.

Most companies I have worked for performance testing is the last thing considered.  To some extent performance is thought about during the design phase, but not actually tested until the end of the life cycle.

Performance testing is hard!  A non-performance site can hurt a reputation so we should fold performance into the corporate DNA.

Bust out the performance tools and "Git Er Done"!

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