For testers and developers, testing in production (TiP) may sound very intimidating, as the practice of testing a code on live user traffic may yield insufficient data that cannot be effectively used to draw conclusions. Moreover, it can even cause the system to get overloaded.
However, when planned and executed properly, QA professionals believe that testing in production can become a key component of progressive delivery, and focus on software quality and release speed. In fact, by testing features in production, testers can de-risk deployments even further.
In this blog post, we will take a deep dive into this type of testing, its importance, and talk about why you should integrate it into your software quality assurance strategy.
What Is Testing in Production?
Oftentimes, the common misconception surrounding testing in production stems from the notion that this testing methodology means releasing untested code in the hopes that it will function properly and wait for issues to be identified when the software has been used by end users. But the truth is that instead of testing new code changes in a staging environment, testing in production is a software development approach that involves testing features on live user traffic.
Testing in production essentially enables a DevOps team to prepare for potential bugs, which are frequently found in production. If the team is prepared to address these bugs, they can fix them quickly through continuous monitoring.
People often link testing in production to a lack of strategy in software testing, ignoring engineering best practices and the complete absence of any type of automated testing. Well, it is true that if you test in production carelessly, you could run into a lot of issues. For example, you could lose data, suffer financial loss, or damage your brand reputation. Thoughtless application of the practice of testing in production has resulted in this methodology being avoided by many testers.
Moreover, legal risks in the post-GDPR world include :
- Incorrect recognition of revenue generated from events, like cancelled order
- Implications that are unintended for other production processes
- Log noise brought on by bot and script activities
A Case for Testing in Production
Naturally, the testers should be the ones finding flaws, not the customers. That’s why testing in production is very important. The user experience will vary from that in the testing environment due to potential differences in the production environment, such as:
- Data sets
When testing in live environments, there is a chance that your testers have looked at one user experience while your actual customers see something different. Testing in production allows testers to see exactly what the customer sees, allowing you to utilize it to confirm payments and be prepared for any bugs. Testing in production the right way adds significant value.
How To Do it the Right Way
The right way to test in production entails being aware of the risks involved if you proceed haphazardly. Being careful when testing in production means following these types of production testing:
Canary testing enables the deployment of new code or features to a limited group of users to check for bugs before making them available to a larger group of users.
A/B testing removes all of the uncertainty from website optimization and allows experience optimizers to make decisions based on evidence. It is a process of systematic testing in which two or more variations of a variable are simultaneously shown to various groups of website users to establish which variation has the greatest impact and influence on key business performance metrics.
A load test is a simulation that takes place within the software to get it as close to becoming a finished product that can be released and used by the general public. It helps you to gauge the product’s performance by measuring important factors, such as:
- Reaction times
- Throughput rates
- Resource utilization levels
The goal of application monitoring is to find a means to keep an eye on your production site after the program has been deployed and identify problems, difficulties, and improvement opportunities before your customers ever become aware of them. It is to understand how customers use your software and to actively engage with them to understand their needs.
Feature flagging employs testing software features outside of staging while having the option to immediately roll back a feature if needed. Before even making it available to the general public, feature flagging will enable you to test and fix any bugs in the actual production.
Production User Acceptance Testing
Production user acceptance testing is a sort of testing carried out by the end-users or testers to validate or approve the software application before transferring the software program to the production environment.
Advantages of Testing in Production
If done right, testing in production can have a significant positive impact on your production, particularly before it is made available to the general public. It covers every aspect that must be taken into account before the official release of your software or application.
Testing in production enables you to assess the success or failure rate of a new feature by gathering logical and trustworthy feedback. You may easily modify and improve your new feature based on the feedback you've obtained and make sure that the real-time performance of the application does not deviate from an intended standard.
Limit the Blast Radius
Testing in production the right way allows you to have a sample of users. This will ultimately limit the risk if something goes wrong with your new features; it will only affect the users you are testing on. On top of this, feature flagging in production testing will allow you to undo any bad features right away.
Increases Accuracy on Deployments
The best approach to ensure that you have covered all edge cases and have precisely targeted your demography is to test in production in a real environment with actual users. It is similar to collecting accurate feedback from actual customers without running the risk of having the negative feedback harm your reputation.
Allows Seamless Transition Between Testing Phases
Testing in production entails exploring and discovering how people react to a specific feature rather than speculating and hoping for the best-case scenario. Test responses and feedback will enable you to seamlessly advance to the following phase till your features are perfect.
Best Practices for Testing in Production
Being irresponsible and not understanding the risks of executing a test in production can cause you a lot of problems. By doing it correctly and using best practices, your business will profit from all of the benefits of tests in production.
Here are some best practices you can take to create reliable production testing without negatively affecting your users.
Use Real Browsers and Devices
Realistic results come from using genuine devices and browsers. It is difficult to evaluate how the program performs without putting it in a real-world setting. As a result, the production environment for product testing must be a genuine device-browser-OS combo.
Run Tests at Different Times
A genuinely effective program functions seamlessly at all times, but especially when usage is at its highest. Production testing must take place in real-time and under the most difficult circumstances because its goal is to find bugs and fix them in the real world.
Implement Monkey Testing
"Monkey testing" involves the user evaluating an application by giving it random inputs and observing how it responds. This method is typically carried out automatically, with the user entering any random faulty inputs to observe the behavior. It pushes failure into production at random, allowing engineers to develop recovery mechanisms and more robust, adaptive bug-resolution procedures.
Be sure you pay special attention to crucial user performance indicators when doing production tests. Be prepared to stop testing immediately and look for solutions if something goes wrong that has a significant negative impact on the user experience.
Invite Users To Participate in Experimental Production Test
This is setting the proper expectation. By clearly stating that it is an experimental production test, you can legitimately ask people for their input on new features and releases, and then encourage them to respond as honestly as they can. As a result, it will allow you to gather user feedback without having to worry too much about obstructing it. Users won't be as shocked or offended by bugs if they are aware that they are using a beta version of the product.
In this fast-paced modern world, production testing is a crucial component of software development and is rapidly turning into an essential component of the testing and QA in the production process.
Without incorporating testing in production into your software QA strategy, it will be harder to forecast and fix every defect without compromising the genuine user experience and the reputation of your business. Testing in production takes away the pressure when millions of people are accessing a single piece of software from tens of thousands of different devices, browsers, browser versions, and operating systems.
For QA/Software developers/managers up to C-Suite executives and companies linked with DevOps, production testing undoubtedly offers special advantages when it is done correctly. It helps to improve user experiences, brand trust, and revenue by enabling developers to be better equipped to handle abnormalities. That is why your overall QA strategy should include testing in production.
Given the significance of production testing services, you will require a dependable and reputable software product testing services provider. Take a step toward greater success for your software and additional features by getting in touch with us today!