Editorial note: I originally wrote this post for the Stackify blog. You can check out the original here, at their site. While you’re there, take a look at their comprehensive solution for gaining insight into your application’s performance.
The world of enterprise IT neatly divides concerns between two camps: IT and the business. Technical? Then you belong in the IT camp. Otherwise, you belong in the business camp.
Because of this division, an entire series of positions exists to help these groups communicate. But since I don’t have any business analysts at my disposal to interview, I’ll just bridge the gap myself today. From the perspective of technical folks, I’ll explain performance testing in language that matters to the business. And, don’t worry. I’ve spent enough years doing IT management consulting to have mostly overcome the curse of knowledge. I can empathize with anyone understanding performance testing only in the vaguest of terms.
A Tale of Vague Woe
To prove it, let me conjure up a maddening hypothetical. You’ve coordinated with the software organizations for months. This has included capturing the voice of the customer and working with architects and developers to create a vision for the product. You’ve seen the project through conception, beta testing and eventual production release. And you’re pretty proud of the way this has gone.
But now you find yourself more than a little exasperated. A few scant months after the production launch, weird and embarrassing things continue to go wrong. It started out as a trickle and then grew into a disturbing, steady stream. Some users report agonizingly slow experiences while others don’t complain. Some report seeing weird error messages and screens, while others have a normal experience. And, of course, when you try to corroborate these accounts, you don’t see them.
You inquire with the software developers and teams, but you can tell they don’t quite take this at face value. “Hmmm, that shouldn’t happen,” they tell you. Then they concede that maybe it could, but they shrug and say there’s not much they can do unless you help them reproduce the issue. Besides, you know users, amirite? Always reporting false issues because they have unrealistic expectations.
Sometimes you wonder if the developers don’t have the right of it. But you know you’re not imagining the exasperated phone calls and negative social media interactions. Worse, paying users are leaving, and fewer new ones sign up. Whether perception or reality, that hits you in the pocketbook.