Saturday, February 3, 2024

Performance Testing - The Unusual Ignorance in Practice & Culture


I'm continuing to share my experiences and learning for100 Days of Skilled Testing series.  I want to keep it short and as a mini blog posts.  If you see, the detailed insights and conversations needed, let us get in touch.

The ninth question from season two of  100 Days of Skilled Testing is

What are some common mistakes you see people making while doing performance testing?  How do they avoid it?

Mistakes or Ignorance?

It is mistake when I do an action though I'm aware that it is not right in the context.

I do not want to label what I share in this blog post as mistake.  But, I call it as ignorance despite having or not having the awareness, and the experience.

The ignorance said here is not just tied to the SDLC.  It is also tied to the organization's practice and culture that can create problems.

To this blog post's context, I categorize the ignorance in these categories -- Practitioner and Organization.

  1. Practitioner's ignorance
    • Not understanding the performance, performance engineering, and performance testing
      • When said performance testing, taking it as - "It is load testing"
      • No awareness on what is performance and performance engineering
        • Going to the tools immediately to solve the problem while not knowing what is the performance problem statement
      • Be it web, API, mobile or anything,
        • Going to one tool or tools and running tests
      • No much thinking on how to design the tests in the performance testing being done
      • Ignoring Math and Statistics, and its importance in Performance analysis
      • No idea on the system's architecture, and how it works
        • Why it is the way it is?
      • The idea of end-to-end is extended and used in testing for performance and having hard time to understand and interpret the performance data
        • How many end-to-end your tests have identified?
        • Can we test for performance to all these identified and unidentified end-to-end?
      • Relying on the resource/content in internet and applying or using it in one's context without understanding it
      • No idea on the tech stack and how to utilize the testability offered by it in evaluating the performance
      • Not using or asking for testability
      • Getting hung to most spoken and discussed 2 or 3 tools on the internet
      • Applying tools and calling out it as performance testing
      • No attempting to understand the infrastructure and resources
        • How it impacts and influences the performance evaluation and its data
      • Idea on Saturation of resources
        • Thinking it as a problem
        • Thinking it as not a problem
      • Not working to identify where will be the next bottleneck when solving a current bottleneck
      • What to measure?
      • How to measure?
      • When to measure?
      • What to look when measuring?
      • Not understanding the OS, Hardware resources, Tech Stacks, Libraries, Frameworks, Programming Language, CPU & Cores, Network, Orchestration, and more
      • Not knowing the tool and what it offers
        • I learn the tool everyday; today, it is not the same to me compared to yesterday
          • I discover something new that I was not aware of what it offered and exist
          • I learn the new ways of using the tool in different approaches
      • No story in the report with information/image that is self-describable to most who reads it
      • And, more; but the above said resonates with most of us
  2. Organization's ignorance
    • At the org level, for first and to start, it is ignorance in Performance Engineering
      • Ignoring the practice of performance engineering in what is built and deployed
      • Thinking and advocating, increasing the hardware resources will increase and better the performance
        • In fact, it will deteriorate over a period of time no matter how much the resources are scaled up and added
      • Ignoring the performance evaluation and its presence in CI-CD pipeline
      • The performance tests on CI-CD pipeline should not take beyond few minutes
        • What is that "few minutes"?
      • Not prioritizing the importance of having the requirements for Performance Engineering

Recently, I was asked a question - How to evaluate the login performance of a mobile app using a tool "x"?

In another case, I see, a controller having all HTTP requests made when using web browser. Running these requests and trying to learn the numbers using a tool.

I do not say this is wrong way of doing.  That is a start.

But, we should NOT stay here thinking this is a performance engineering and that is how to run tests for learning a performance aspect[s].

To end, the performance is not just - how [why, when, what, where] fast or slow?  If that is your definition, you are not wrong!  That is a start and good for start; but, do not stick on to it alone and call performance.   It is capability.  It is about getting what I want in the way I have been promised and I expect; this is contextual, subjective and relative.  The capability leads to an experience.  What is that experience experienced?

Sometimes, serving the requests by what you call as slow, is a performance.  What is slow, here?

The words fast and slow are subjective, contextual and relative.  It is one small part of performance engineering.

That said, let me know, what have you been ignoring and unaware in practice of Performance Engineering & Testing?


  1. To add few more ignorance:

    1. How the "average" is calculated, that is, the calculation of mean. Usually, it is done on overall collected data. It is not right. If there is a increase in incoming request along the timeline, the average has to be calculated like a boundary. This boundary can exhibit a behavior as equivalence class partition.

    The same for percentile, deviation and other statistics that we derive.

  2. [[..Pingback..]]
    This article was curated as a part of #121st Issue of Software Testing Notes Newsletter.

  3. [[..Pingback..]]
    This article was curated as a part of #121st Issue of Software Testing Notes Newsletter.


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