Testers Are from Mars, Developers Are from Venus
Tips and tricks to improve your relationship with development
By: Steve Weisfeldt
Jan. 21, 2013 08:00 AM
Developing with Performance Testing in Mind
This state of affairs arises from three fairly straightforward observations:
Thinking Like a Tester
I find that it's a good idea for developers to sit through some of the training that the test engineers complete. In my experience, the developers who do are more careful and avoid making arbitrary changes with little or no justification. They don't, for example, change the name of a field in a form simply because they don't agree with the name the initial developer gave it. When developers are aware of the kinds of changes that make a tester's job harder and what kinds of changes make it easier, then from an organizational standpoint the entire process is more productive.
An Analogy from the Early Days of Functional Testing
One key lesson here is that the choice of testing tool makes a big difference in the productivity of the testing team when the software under test changes, even in relatively trivial ways.
The other key lesson is that developer awareness of testing tools and procedures goes a long way in facilitating a smooth testing operation. I saw this firsthand during a training session I gave years back. While describing how button label changes affected testing, a developer who happened to be sitting in on the training sat upright when he finally understood why his colleagues in testing were so frustrated by many of his changes. He never knew why they objected so much to his changing a button label from "Clear" to "Reset". Going forward, that knowledge didn't stop the developer from making necessary changes. It did, however, make him pause when he made such changes to consider whether they were really necessary.
Performance Testing Tools That Make It Easy to Handle Change
For example, when a web form is submitted to the server, the form fields will be a series of name-value pairs. Changing the name of a form field, adding a field, or deleting a field can cause problems during performance testing. With a less capable testing tool, these problems can be hard to identify and diagnose, especially if there is poor communication between developers and testers.
File difference viewers (diff viewers) that enable the tester to compare multiple recordings against each other are particularly helpful in pinpointing the changed fields. When it's time to modify the script, an effective tool will enable you to add, delete, and update fields without programming. Just right-click and choose add, or simply drag-and-drop to update your load testing script.
Form fields are relatively easy to handle for load testers. Parameters that are session specific are more difficult. (These parameters change from session to session but stay the same for the duration of each user session). By default, the hard-coded session values are captured by a load testing tool in each script, and a test engineer needs to parameterize them to make the script usable for load testing. Double-clicking on a hard-coded value to make it a variable is easier than diving into the script code. Here again, tools that help automate the process can reduce test creation time from many hours to a few minutes.
When a new script is needed or maintenance is required on an existing script, tools that are easier to use can make the task orders of magnitude faster.
Overcoming the Fear of Change
If your organization is starting to fear change, encourage your developers to think like testers and encourage your testers to use tools that make inevitable change easier to handle.
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