Agile process is a software development methodology based on iterative and incremental procedure to develop light-weight software systems. The requirements and solutions of Agile practice evolve through collaboration between self-organizing and cross-functional teams. The testing procedure is based on the principles of Agile practices, where special expertise is contributed by the testers. Performance testing is a vital part of Agile processes that aims at testing the performance of the software early and frequently during the development cycle. Both the functionality and performance of the software are tested at same sprint to reduce the cost of development. This is because the later the performance test is conducted, the expense for incorporating changes goes higher.
Best practices for performance testing in an Agile process:
In an Agile process, the product can only be delivered to the end-users when the performance testing is completed within an Agile sprint. The best practices to be followed are described below:
- All performance related requirements should be gathered and addressed during planning phase of system architecture.
- In order to define the criteria for acceptance of each performance story, one should work closely with the end users and stakeholders.
- Performance testers should be involved early in the project, during the planning and infrastructure stages.
- Performance testers should be included in the development team to work on the test cases and test data preparation, while developers are engaged in coding for the user stories.
- Performance testers should create stubs for external web services.
- As soon as each relevant user story is signed off by the functional testers, it should be delivered to the functional testers.
- Developers, architects and system analysts should receive continuous feedback.
- Performance test assets should be shared across the projects and versions.
- Software Performance testing should be scheduled for off-hours for enhancing the time-utilization within Agile sprint.
Key considerations for Performance Testing in Agile Process:
Service level objectives ( SLOs):These drive the planning of performance requirements in Agile environments. SLOs are important for business and IT managers to agree on requirement for application throughput, numbers of simultaneously supported users, response times and other factors that can affect end-to-end user experience. These requirements should be fulfilled before an application goes live in the production environment.
Focused performance testing: Agile processes rely on the production availability life cycle (PAL) to analyze how an application actually performs in the real environment. The feedback obtained from the production environment helps the developers and the testers to focus on specific problem areas of the application, which in turn aids in increasing the resources during short sprint cycles.
Preparation of test data: Performance testers should work in collaboration with the stakeholders in planning stage for preparing test data to ensure that more work is done in relatively shorter period of time. It is better to prepare test data early in order to have more time for testing. Agile process is known to be a JIT (just-in-time)practice for manufacturing, where different types of work occur simultaneously.
Trending: It is important for the project owners to record a positive trend of Agile process, where each sprint is better than the last one and continually improving in course of successive sprints.
Automated testing: Automation of performance testing is important to speed up the Agile process. Automated testing helps to fulfill the goals of regression and performance testing within the tight time frame of two to four weeks sprint.
Component testing: In the Agile environment, it is not possible to have the end-to-end application for every single sprint. This leads to the concept of running performance test only on a portion or component of an application.
Software performance testing is important for managing an application with Agile approach. Performance testing specialists in an Agile process should be the integral team members and should participate regularly in different team practices in order to complete the project successfully.
Performance testing is an essential part of Agile procedure, which should be run simultaneously with other processes during development cycle. Performance testers in Agile environment are the integrated part of the team, taking part in different team activities.