Discover Performance

HP Software's community for IT leaders // April 2014
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Agile + mobile: It's all about performance

Gain top-performing applications without slowing down development through this five-stage framework.

The bottom line

What: The mobile era demands velocity and high quality, which means delivering applications that perform consistently at expected service levels.
How: Truly integrating performance testing demands a more nimble development process—and results in a better end user experience.
More: Download the free IDC paper, "Driving Business Optimization with End-to-End Performance Testing."

When it comes to mobile applications, consumers are increasingly impatient, and developers have to work faster and faster. Users demand frequent updates that keep apps fresh and compelling. Competitive forces change the game almost daily. And snags in performance can cause users with many options to quickly look for something better—but only after they publicly complain about “your terrible app.”

The challenging aspect about delivery speed has always been pairing it with quality—and in this case, we’re talking about matching fast development with high performance. So how can you accelerate deployment—across multiple platforms, no less—while assuring a high-quality process and high-performance end product?

The framework

Getting top performance from your apps requires a deliberate, integrated process that starts long before developers write a single line of code. And it lasts throughout the entire application lifecycle, not just the initial deployment.
 
1. Design your requirements inclusive of performance. Before anything else, start discussing your performance expectations and planning. Define your requirements for app performance. Remember that this is a business-level discussion, not just a technology matter. And don’t treat it as secondary to functional planning, because both performance and functional planning should spring from the business requirements you’re trying to meet.
 
In addition, assess the architecture, design, and security infrastructure to determine how they might affect application performance.
 
2. Test early. Don’t just throw code over the wall to your testers. From the very first sprint, incorporate continuous performance testing into the Agile development process. The earlier you identify problems, the easier—and less costly—it is to fix them. Problems caught too late could either slip into production or cause a ripple effect of problems further downstream.
 
3. Test often. Test during development, and then when you push assets into staging and production, continue to execute performance testing. Is the app performing as it should? Is it meeting security requirements, too? Ensure tight collaboration between testing and production to reduce test cycle times. Share preproduction tests with production teams.
 
4. Monitor. Monitor the end user experience, then tie that real-time monitoring information together with performance and load-testing results to compare assumptions with what is actually occurring in production. Constantly measure and analyze what you’re doing against what results you’re getting. Is it working? Are you achieving the goals you set out to achieve in the beginning?
 
Don’t overlook the importance of sharing good results with the business. This can help justify performance testing in the future, even when resources are constrained and decision makers want to cut back on testing.
 
5. Feed learnings back into the process. Funnel the performance data you gathered in production back to development and testing. Use it to define new requirements to improve how the application performs in production. With this information, you can prioritize these new requirements and requests with other backlog items to better allocate resources.

No room for error

Agile development is the way that organizations are meeting the need for speed and flexibility. But speed and flexibility aren’t enough: organizations need to ensure that their apps perform flawlessly. The costs of failure—public, negative reviews and a shrinking user base—are much too high.
 
Organizations have to emphasize the importance of performance throughout the entire development process. Through performance testing that starts early and happens often, organizations can make sure their apps meet business and user requirements—and avoid giving the company a reputation for lightning-fast releases that subsequently disappoint.
 
For more on performance testing, download the free IDC paper, “Driving Business Optimization with End-to-End Performance Testing.”


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