Did you miss out on Part I? Be sure to read it here so you can ensure the best success with your performacnce assurance team.
Avoid unnecessary investments, be strategic about your tool licensing investments and onboarding of senior Performance Engineering SMEs. Decide how you want to present yourself to clients. Not all clients expect the service provider to procure the tool licenses, but if you prefer to provide performance testing as a service (PTAAS) model, you need to package your services on top the tool to decide on the commercials. Usually, Performance testing tools, in particular, are very costly. Probe all possible alternative options to replace commercial tools by freeware/open source tools if tool license cost will concern your client. Highly qualified SMEs are required but don’t over hire many of them as they are very costly resources. Be strategic create an operating model with minimal senior SMEs for well functioning of the team. Take strategic steps to increase senior members in your team based on your project pipelines.
Creating a fresher pipeline gives way for bringing in young millennial who can be mentored and trained internally to assist project teams in scripting and test execution activities to start with. Making them as shadow resources with senior members (even in non-billable mode) in existing projects brings a lot of confidence and quick understanding of practical challenges than just knowing a performance testing tool. This is very important to ensure fresher training /induction material is created and is made handy with 2 to 3 months learning curriculum along with assessment details. Mentoring and self-learning followed by periodic assignments should be planned to track and bring seriousness for having a quick learning curve for the fresher resources. Insist the young team for taking up internal certification programs designed for assessing both conceptual knowledge and tool expertise.
Set up the team the right way with separate Testing and Engineering streams with their boundaries clearly set. It is very much essential to create a positive gelling environment between testing and engineering streams as many organizations fail in this aspect. I am not insisting on having two separate teams, plan to make the two teams work collaboratively depending upon your client problem statements working under one common umbrella. Collaboration between these two skill sets is possible only if both have a common leadership team.
Production readiness validation type of projects might require few performance testers together with a performance engineer.a Engineers can independently work on projects where the problem statements are clearly related to diagnosis and tuning for a system that is not able to meet the performance SLAs. Expert architects from engineering team can be involved for problem statements where architecture/design reviews for performance best practices or application capacity sizing recommendations are required, etc. But facilitate experienced testers to graduate to engineering team and have training mechanisms for grooming them for providing engineering solutions as hiring Performance Engineer is not that easy.
Some organizations where Performance Testing and Performance Engineering are two different isolated teams fail due to operational challenges and bad politics as there is a thin boundary line between these two teams. Maybe it might work out when the Performance Assurance team is established and you start servicing many major accounts only for Performance testing or Engineering services.
Provision diverse skill set talents. A well functioning established performance assurance team will demand people with varied skillsets including Tool experts, Performance Testers, People Managers, Techno Managers, Infrastructure Architects, Capacity Planners, Prediction and modeling experts, Technology specific architects, Fresh Trainees, Developers, etc. A Performance Assurance team needs to have strong talents to guide other senior specialists who take part in various SDLC phases, hence you need an architect, designer, programmer, developer, tester, engineer, capacity planner, system admin. And in Agile / DevOps environments, this becomes more vigorous and the performance specialists are always expected to have all these skills. This brings in a huge challenge to facilitate right people for the projects. But all projects don’t demand these types of high-end experts as even now the majority of the projects think about performance later in SDLC demanding reactive performance engagements. More than building a team with diverse talents, creating a positive and learning environment complimenting each other will be a challenge, but I will leave that to the people management skills of the director who would head the team.
Right effort estimation strategy and reasonable rate cards should be created for performing Performance Testing and Performance Engineering activities. Usually, the rate card for Performance Tester is slightly higher than functional / automation testers. Performance Engineers rates are usually very high compared to Performance testers depending upon the type of SME skillset and market demand. Usually, short term projects effort estimation and pricing strategy needs to be very different from the strategy adopted for long-term projects. It’s sometimes experience based or subjective decision purely based on your gut feel.
Follow best practices for deciding upon the estimates with the help of handy estimation templates. Understand clearly the scope to include the right mixture of testing/engineering activities and clearly document your estimation/pricing assumptions. Ensure multiple levels of internal review meetings are held with different senior leaders before finalizing your commercials. Don’t forget to ask yourself whether you are creating value for the proposed commercial putting yourself in customer’s shoes. And don’t forget to think twice about your competitors and if you don’t want to miss the opportunity/client, ready to compromise a bit by proposing lower rates if the new opportunity can open up big doors for you.