When eCommerce teams get involved in Load Testing

Date: 10th October 2014
Author: Deri Jones

It’s a busy time of year for us,  many big online retailers carry out their final rounds of pre-Christmas load testing this month.

In particular we have interesting new projects, with some of the biggest names in the UK:  a fast-food company, an education portal, and a finance site.

There’s two interesting facets here.

Firstly, eCommerce managers have played a more pro-active role: instead of leaving the load testing entirely to the tech teams,  they have chaired initial discussions on what the spec of the load testing should be:  and have brought realism to the top of the agenda:  which has resulted in planning quite different load tests than previous years.

It’s a trend we see more and more, as the gap between tech teams and business is being narrowed (at least in some companies): using the phrase coined by a director at Dixons Stores:  ‘Uniting the Tribes (to see the video, click and then scroll down to Uniting the Tribes’.)

Online business teams are more interested in the ‘Size of the Online Store’:  and ensuring that it is measured in an accurate way.

The second factor, is the considerable diagnostic power of the testing engine that our load testing team have evolved.

It’s quite powerful to be able to drill down to problem root causes.

For example, they can view down to a granular level, the journey of each virtual-user in the test:

load test virtual user list

And one-click down to the diagnostics of any specific error, for a single virtual user:

root cause per load test virtual user

Combing that with some other nice trouble-shooting the team have added to our load testing framework,  means that the more realistic, (and complex), load testing projects don;t have to take up more time:  and can also deliver more in-depth technical trouble-shooting to speed up problem resolution.