Thursday, March 5, 2009

Performance Center of Excellence

What is a Center of Excellence (CoE)?
  • A centralized entity that drives standardization and processes across an organization in order improve quality, consistency, and efficiency
  • A central group of experts providing shared services and leadership to ensure high quality

So what does this mean for performance testing? It means that a Performance CoE can improve the quality, consistency, and efficiency of performance testing and validation across an entire company.

Performance testing is a specialized skill set. It requires knowledge of the applications, the hardware and third party systems. Not all testers can have this knowledge, and it takes years to fully develop the proper skill set.

If performance testers stay in individual project testing groups, it is hard to ensure that all applications are being properly performance tested to the same standard. Also when new technologies appear, these disparate groups will not all have the same expertise of those new technologies.

A CoE centralizes the testing expertise. As the central team develops more knowledge, all the applications will benefit. It is also easier to ensure the same standard or consistency of testing across all projects. It facilitates higher quality of tests and improves the efficiency of running and analysing these tests.

With a CoE it becomes easier to reuse testing assets. Instead of keeping all the scripts, monitor profiles and scenarios on individual testing machines or with separate testing groups, you can centralize all of that data to make it easier to share and reuse. This cuts down the time it takes to create tests and makes the testing more efficient.

Don't just take my word on this. Voke, an analyst firm, conducted a study on performance Centers of Excellence and found that they...

  • Increased productivity
  • Increased quality
  • Decreased costs

Hang on! Did I just say that I can increase quality and efficiency and at the same time reduce my costs? Yes.

You can reduce the number of testing machines and testing tool licenses through a central organization. Every project testing group would no longer need to have its own performance testing tools. And when the testing systems become centralized it becomes easier to utilize the systems more efficiently by having less down time per machine and by allowing 24x7 testing.

If there is a need to standardize performance testing, increase the efficiency and quality of the performance testing process or just need to reduce the overall cost of performance testing, then a Performance Center of Excellence is worth looking into.

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