Distinguishing Functional Testing from Performance Testing:
In our previous tutorial, we provided examples to explain the differences between Performance Testing, Load Testing, and Stress Testing.
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Software Testing encompasses a wide range of areas where the verification or validation of software functionality can occur. Sometimes, non-functional aspects become less important compared to the functional aspects, and therefore, they are not usually performed simultaneously during software testing.
This article explores the added benefits of ensuring the quality of the software product when both functional and non-functional aspects are tested simultaneously in various scenarios during the software testing life cycle.
What You Will Learn:
Quick Comparison Between Performance Testing and Functional Testing
|Sl NO||Functional Testing||Performance Testing|
|1||To verify the accuracy of the software with specific inputs against expected output||To assess the system’s behavior under various load conditions|
|2||Can be done manually or automated||Most effective when automated|
|3||Performed by a single user performing all operations||Involves multiple users performing desired operations|
|4||Collaboration required from Customer, Tester, and Developer||Collaboration required from Customer, Tester, Developer, DBA, and Network Management team|
|5||Production-sized test environment is not mandatory, and hardware requirements are minimal||Requires a test environment close to production and several hardware facilities to generate the load|
Advantages of Conducting Functional Testing and Performance Testing Simultaneously
Functional testing plays a crucial role in any pre-release software assurance. The testing usually takes place in a replicated production or test environment based on actual results to verify and validate the software.
A potential issue is the leakage of defects:
Testers bear more responsibility than developers when it comes to ensuring the quality of the product. They strive to prevent any defect leakage in the tested product, and usually focus solely on functional testing to achieve this goal.
The following conversation takes place between a Test Manager and a Tester:
(Test Manager is referred to as ‘TM’ and Tester as ‘TR’)
TM: Hey buddy… How are we doing in the testing of product ‘A’?
TR: Yep… We’re making great progress.
TM: That’s fantastic… What about including performance testing in our scope while functional testing is underway?
TR: We’re not covering that. Our deliverables are focused solely on functional testing and not on non-functional aspects. Also, our test environment doesn’t exactly replicate the production environment.
The above conversation raises a few questions:
- Does functional testing depend on performance testing?
- What if the software’s performance is degraded, but the product is delivered without testing its performance?
- Is performance testing integrated into the functional testing process?
It has become a common practice for testers to avoid working on non-functional aspects unless explicitly requested. They tend to postpone non-functional testing until the client reports issues with the software’s performance during testing.
So, here are two questions to consider:
- Does performance testing affect functional testing?
- Should we keep performance testing as a separate deliverable, even if it worries the client?
Performance testing is crucial!
Software operates based on various architectures and models, including:
- Response reply models required for specific functionalities
- Transaction-based systems
- Load-based systems
- Data replication-based systems
Functional testing behavior according to the mentioned models is dependent on the system’s performance.
Performance testing requires careful attention from an automation perspective.
The following conversation takes place between a client and the Test Manager.
(Client is referred to as ‘CL’ and Test Manager as ‘TM’)
CL: Regarding the solution we requested, I assume there will be multiple testing iterations, right?
TM: Yes, that can be arranged. Since there’s a high probability of iterative testing, we propose using automation for functional (regression) testing.
CL: Okay, that sounds great. Please share your approach with us so we can approve it. Automation can yield higher output with minimal effort.
TM: Exactly. We’ll work on the approach and present you with a Proof of Concept.
The above conversation highlights the client’s need for efficiency.
Company ABC is developing Software A, and the testing of Software A is being conducted by Company XYZ.
The contract between Company ABC and XYZ imposes restrictions on their collaboration. Discussions between the two companies can only happen once a week or three times a month. The system follows a request-response model, and the development phase has been completed by Company ABC.
Now it’s time for Company XYZ to perform formal functional testing on Software A. XYZ begins testing Software A and gives it a green light for live implementation after two testing cycles.
However, despite the testing team’s approval, the live implementation doesn’t go smoothly. There are numerous post-production bugs, and clients face numerous issues, including a breakdown in end-to-end business process functionality.
So, what’s the problem?
- Is the problem the restriction on collaboration between the development and testing teams?
- Is it possible that the requirements were not fully captured?
- Could the software have not been tested in an appropriate test environment?
- Or is there another cause?
After conducting thorough research and analysis, the following inferences were made:
- Several dependent and interdependent applications experienced performance issues while fetching responses.
- The test inputs used were not comprehensive.
- The software’s robustness was not adequately addressed.
- There were synchronization issues among multiple independent applications.
- The software testing involved multiple reworks that were not taken into account.
Thus, the planning team proposed the following remedial actions:
- Increase the interaction between the development and testing teams.
- Include all dependent applications in the system functional testing.
- Extend the request and response time-out values to account for non-production environments.
- Use a wide range of inputs, ranging from simple to complex, in functional testing.
- Conduct non-functional testing, especially performance and load testing, as advised by the remedial team.
- In addition to system testing, perform system integration testing.
- Provide a minimal time gap between iterations to retest previously identified bugs.
- Address all bugs identified in previous iterations in the current iteration.
The testing team implemented all the proposed actions, resulting in the discovery of a large number of defects in a short period of time.
- The software’s live implementation schedule significantly improved by optimizing the test cycle times.
- There was notable progress in improving software quality, leading to a significant decrease in post-implementation support tickets.
- The number of reworks decreased, with continuous improvements in quality observed between different iterations.
Conducting non-functional testing concurrently with functional testing provides additional advantages and contributes to overall software quality. This approach helps identify performance-related bugs (specific to the testing environment and dependencies) and reduces assumptions regarding functional issues.
Thorough planning and coordination are necessary to conduct both functional and non-functional testing (to a minimum level) in order to maintain strong relationships among all project stakeholders.
About the Author: This article was written by Nagarajan, a test lead with over 6 years of experience in various functional areas such as banking, airlines, and telecom. He has expertise in both manual and automated testing.
Our upcoming tutorial will provide more insights into Performance Test Plan and Test Strategy.
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