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How to Measure Your Software Performance?

Measuring software performance is essential for understanding whether the software works correctly, assessing productivity, planning work items, etc. When performed at the stage of software development, it allows analyzing the quality of products, adjusting the processes to improve the quality, reducing costs and overtime, and increasing return on investment. The sooner the developers measure software performance and identify issues, the easier and less expensive the troubleshooting process is for the company. In this article, we explain how to measure software performance correctly. 

Key Metrics to Consider 

Measuring software performance requires the development of a clear list of metrics to evaluate. Metrics are a baseline for performance tests, which allow identifying gaps and investing more resources into the most problematic areas. Let’s focus on the most popular metrics that speak louder than words about the effectiveness and value of the software.
  1. User satisfaction
  2. Delivery lead time and deployment frequency
  3. Application crash rate 
  4. Change fail rate and mean time to recover 
  5. Database performance 
  6. Garbage collection 
  7. Transactions passed/failed
  8. CPU and memory utilization 
It is also possible to measure the mean time between failures, which shows the time between occurring errors or failures. The longer this time is, the better functioning the software in question demonstrates.

Then, you need to evaluate basic code metrics. This aspect of the assessment is purely technical and requires advanced software developer skills. The basic code metrics determine whether the code is competitive, how the software is structured, and how easy the software maintenance will be.

Security metrics, in turn, serve to understand whether the software is infected with a virus or has a high risk of being infected. The mean time to repair demonstrates the time between identifying a security issue and addressing it. The smaller the number, the more secure your software is. 

What Not to Do When You Measure Software Performance 

The best learn from other people’s mistakes, so read on to learn about the most common examples of inefficient and useless software performance measurement:
  1. Focusing on the lines of code. Although this measure is prevalent, it prioritizes output rather than outcomes, which does not clearly understand how the software functions and whether it achieves the intended goals. 
  2. Tracking metrics for its own sake. You perform software assessments not to put nice numbers in reports but to address specific business problems. Your measurement will bring real value only if it is purposeful and focused. 
  3. Conducting one test. Performance measurement is an ongoing process, so measuring your software once is not enough. You need to analyze the dynamics and see whether you have achieved progress over time. 
  4. Not using a performance testing tool. Automatizing the measurement will help save the time and resources, so choose a testing tool that suits your needs. For example, developers in the IT community often choose Locust or Apache JMeter™ for comprehensive performance testing. 
  5. Using inexperienced employees. Software performance testing should always be conducted by someone having deep knowledge of software development and functioning. Otherwise, it would be a waste of time and resources. If you don’t have an in-house team, you can always outsource software testing.

Bottom Line 

To conclude, software performance testing is a purposeful, meaningful, and focused process that seeks to identify and address specific issues. Many metrics can be assessed, so each company should determine assessment goals before narrowing down the list to the most relevant metrics. Performance testing requires advanced software development skills and should be conducted by a competent team.