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Performance Testing Software Systems


Performance Testing Software Systems

PTSS; A Heuristic Approach: 3 days (Outline | Slides)

PTSS; An Introduction: 2 days (Outline | Slides)

PTSS; with Client's Tool of Choice: 4-5 days (Slides)

PTSS; Applied: 2 weeks (Slides)

Only rarely are sufficient time, resources and skilled individuals available to teams who are developing commercially driven software systems to effectively apply rigorous approaches to performance test that system.  In cases where applying rigorous approaches would not be effective, a risk-based, flexible approach to performance testing is needed.  Rigorous or not, any approach to performance testing needs to focus on collecting the data necessary both to assist the development team in identifying, prioritizing, and tuning areas of sub-optimal performance and to assist stakeholders in making sound business decisions related to performance risks.

Because this workshop emphasize tool agnostic exercises, it is both challenging for experienced performance testers and enlightening for new performance testers.  The workshop provides hands-on demonstrations and exercises as well as portable heuristics that you can easily take back to the office and use to train other testers, developers, managers, and executives in some of the most critical and challenging aspects of performance testing software systems.

Principles Of Performance Testing

POPT; For Managers and Executives: 1 day (Outline)

Performance Testing as an activity is widely misunderstood, especially by managers and executives. This misunderstanding can lead to a variety of difficulties -- including outright project failure. Managers and executives do not need to understand the technical details of performance testing to make good decisions or effectively manage performance testing projects. They do need to understand what performance testing is, what it is not and what value it adds. Learning, understanding, and applying the nuggets of knowledge in this presentation to your performance testing projects will improve your chances for success.

Because this version of the PTSS series of workshops is targeted for managers and executives, it focuses on how Performance Testing can help achieve buisiness objectives, reduce project risk, and avoid bad press. Further, it contains enough information to enable you to better interact with your performance testers, better manage them, and better recognize when they are hiding behind the numbers. Finally, this workshop provides you with the knowledge you need to make informed business decisions based on the information your performance testers are (or should be) presenting you with.

Analyzing Performance Test Data

PTSS; Analyzing Performance Test Data: 1 day (Outline | Slides)

Performance Testing frequently generates very large volumes of data. That data usually requires significant analysis before findings are made and recommendations are delivered. To make matters more complex, even though there is a large volume of data, there are typically an insignificant number of tests conducted for most data reduction methods to be statistically valid. Finally, many of the statistical methods that are frequently used are either mis-used or mis-understood.

This version of the PTSS series of workshops is targeted for anyone who analyzes performance test results data.  It focuses on how to make sense out of performance test data to improve findings and recommendations to help achieve business objectives, reduce project risk, and avoid bad press. Further, it teaches methods for visually reporting results of performance tests that are less prone to misinterpretation than reporting complex statistics the audience is unlikely to understand. Finally, this workshop provides you with the knowledge you need to use statistics correctly to help you understand the data.

Performance Testing the Front-End

PTSS; Performance Testing the Front-End: 1 day (Outline)

It is common for two-thirds or more of the end-user perceived response time to be caused by front-end design and implementation decisions and/or oversights. It is also common for performance testing efforts to focus almost entirely on the back-end. While back-end performance testing and tuning frequently leads to some response time improvements and is generally the best way to increase the total supported usage volume, there are significantly more opportunities to dramatically improve end-user response time on the front-end. Additionally, performance testing and tuning on the front-end is almost always faster, cheaper, and easier than it is on the back-end.

Because this version of the PTSS series of workshops focuses on performance testing and tuning the front-end, it is equally targeted for performance testers, front-end designers & developers, and administrators of front-end components like web servers and content delivery networks. This class uses real tools and tests real websites as examples. In some cases students attending with their laptops have tested, tuned, and realized significantly increased response times before even leaving the classroom. Depending on the initial state of the front-end of your web site, this workshop could reasonably result in over a 25% reduction in end-user response time within days of the completion of the course.

Designing Performance Tests: with UCML

PTSS; Designing Performance Tests: with UCML: 1 day (Outline)

Good load generation tools don't make good tests any easier to design (though they sometimes make well designed tests easier to implement.) As compared to functional testing, performance tests generally take longer to conduct, typically must be conducted one at a time, and are more commonly inconclusive on their own. Additionally, it is nearly impossible to determine what performance tests will provide significant information value until the results from the previous test are analyzed. These facts make good performance test design absolutely critical to successful performance test projects.

This version of the PTSS series of workshops is targeted for the performance testers, analysts, architects and managers who most significantly contribute to performance test design. The course focuses on practical methods to design and document performance tests that are likely to result in significant information value and ensure that performance testing is focused on achieving business objectives, reducing project risk, and avoiding bad press. Further, it lays out a method for managing performance testing that ensures managers have visibility into the performance testing effort and that performance testers can be held accountable for their work without the performance testing and tuning losing the flexibility to adapt their testing to the results they are receiving.

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