Shift Left: Integrating Performance Testing Into the App Development Process

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Before we get into the discussion, for the sake of reference and clarity, let us quickly see the well laid out definitions of Shift Left and Performance testing.

Shift Left is the practice of focusing on quality from day one of a project in order to identify and fix defects as they arise. It requires accountability and increased communication with all stakeholders in the process to ensure the project is staying in-scope.

Performance Testing is the process of determining the speed or effectiveness of a computer, network, software program or device. This process can involve quantitative tests done in a lab, such as measuring the response time or the number of MIPS (millions of instructions per second) at which a system functions.

Sometimes even if an organization follows the Agile development practices, it may not be in a position to have a ship-worthy product at the end of each sprint. The reason is unresolved issues, which, if found earlier, could have reduced the rework, increased the product efficiency and reduced overall costs. This indicates that the team culture lacked in the practice of rigorous performance testing.

A proper implementation of the Shift Left approach (coupled with rigorous and continuous testing) in such a scenario will help find the problems much earlier – thereby reducing both efforts and costs, as also increase the quality of the product.

Per an IBM study, it’s 100 times more expensive to fix a defect found once it has been released.

The biggest challenge that most organizations still face is to launch the best quality product with a low go-to-market timeframe at a low cost. This need to deliver better and faster – continuously – highlights the need and importance of implementing and practicing the shift-left methodology very religiously.

What makes practicing Shift Left very important is the fact that it places a lot of due importance on conducting continuous testing throughout the development process, on the need to expand the areas of testing, and thereby on creating better products at reduced costs. With such focussed testing being performed for increasing the effectiveness of a product, the number of defects are bound to get reduced along with the time to go-to-market. This also reduces the complexity of the errors and the time required to fix them – the major challenges and the nightmare of any Quality Assurance Manager.

According to a research by Evans Data, only 5% of developers claim to ship apps with 0 defects, while 20% ship with between 11 and 50 bugs.

Integration of performance testing into an application development process therefore becomes critical as it helps test every change made to every function. Automated Performance Testing becomes important for testing the more complicated functions as it helps identify – and thereby fix – the issues lurking beneath unrelated functions. A recommended strategy is to address these challenges by mandating the tests for every build, which will help verify that the application is working as required and that it is good to hit the market.

A few things that if defined properly will help integration process a bit more seamless:

  • The Vision of Quality must be made clear to the entire team
  • Proper channelization of the pipeline responsible for the build process, integration of the test process and deployment
  • Invest in making your product consistent – across the board. It will help save a lot of time.
  • Explain the need of continuously running performance testing. Automating it is even better as setting up a test environment usually takes more time than the actual testing.
  • Integrate performance verification tests in the build process to gather and analyze required data

Shifting Performance Testing left is very critical as it acts as a risk mitigator and if performed earlier, the organization can spend time and money for resolving issues. Thus, it should also be performed more frequently during the STLC in co-ordination with the release cycles, so as to gain a better ROI and lower the failure risks of a product.

Cigniti Technologies has marked presence as a pure play independent testing services provider with over a decade of experience in serving clients in North America. Cigniti’s performance engineering teams have impeccable experience in providing cutting edge performance testing services spanning across client-server, web-based, distributed, mobile, and cloud applications. Our team has extensive expertise in databases, high volume transaction systems and related technologies. Moreover, all your performance related tasks will be dealt with a collaborative exercise that connects different teams and stake holders in the most efficient manner.

If you would like to know how Cigniti helped a leading mortgage provider in the United States to improve the application performance by 25% or how Cigniti helped establish a Performance Testing Center of Excellence (PTCoE) for a leading retailer which connects 1100 stores and 150,000 employees, feel free to visit our case studies.