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What is Benchmark Testing? Purpose & Examples

Benchmark testing - also known as metrics - are a means by which businesses measure the effectiveness of their software or service.

Adam R.
on
May 17, 2022

What is Benchmark Testing? Purpose & Examples


Benchmarks - also known as metrics, outputs, or reference points - are a means by which businesses measure the effectiveness of their software or service. Benchmark testing sets expectations for the quality of a product, and then attempts to measure how well those perceptions match reality.

Defining Benchmark Testing

Benchmark testing refers to a set of activities designed to measure various performance results. These results can then be referenced to set expectations for how a product will perform in the present and in future releases. 

A benchmark must be quantifiable, measurable, and repeatable. If it does not meet these three specifications, then it does not qualify as a metric. 

Let’s take a look at some of the benchmarks for a computer GPU. One product benchmark for this piece of hardware is core clock speed: how many process cycles per second the GPU can execute. Researchers then measure this attribute over a series of multiple tests; eventually finding the average baseline speed at which the GPU operates. There, a benchmark is found.

Benchmark in Performance Testing

In order to create a baseline performance standard for any software, a company performs specific activities meant to find the upward limits of their product’s capabilities. The first and foremost goal of performance testing is to evaluate the average performance metrics for key product elements.

Creating a framework for how you plan to benchmark test your software or product enables you to get the most out of your time and effort. 

Stages of The Performance Testing Process

In order to conduct a thorough benchmark test, you must first develop your own test plan. This plan will guide you throughout your research process; helping you to gather clear and accurate results for your product benchmark.

  1. Identify the scope of your project & the workload necessary to complete it
  2. Develop the means by which you will collect benchmark data
  3. Create a timeline for your project and a deadline for ending data collection
  4. Define a contingency plan in case of mistakes or unforeseen issues
  5. Assign researchers to their roles as necessary; determine who has the authority to end the testing process
  6. Execute your initial benchmark tests; following the chosen methodology
  7. Evaluate the success of your preliminary tests; make adjustments accordingly
  8. Run your improved tests
  9. Analyze and report your results

Once you have a general understanding of how the benchmark testing process works, creating a working model for your product becomes an achievable task.

Importance

Benchmark testing is essential for businesses looking to signal quality to their customers. Consumers in the market for software or hardware are often very conscious about a product’s benchmarks; investing the time into conducting thorough benchmarking tests ultimately pays off in a big way.

Benefits

Baseline tests can provide numerous benefits to researchers:

  • Sets expectations for a product’s performance
  • Quickly identifies new ways to improve processes and remove bottlenecks
  • Measure and signal product quality
  • Helps to identify errors or defects in a product 
  • Promotes transparency in product marketing

Exceptional benchmark testing design should draw the best performance qualities out of your software or product. A poor test can hinder your product’s functional ability; whereas a well designed test can effectively measure and record your product’s best elements. 

Phases of Benchmark Testing

The actual process of benchmark testing your designs can be broken down into four categories:

  1. Planning

As outlined above, this process entails identifying and establishing realistic standards for your benchmark test: clearly defining the parameters of your test, identifying the criteria, and assigning roles & resources.

  1. Analysis

Execute your primary benchmark tests. Set and evaluate goals throughout the process, tweaking your designs as you go. Run additional tests if needed.

  1. Integration

Analyze your results to synthesize a plan. This plan should have clearly stated and well defined goals; goals that can realistically be turned into action by the other departments.

  1. Action

Deliver your action plan and visualized results to company stakeholders. Work with other departments to implement specific changes to the product’s design. From there, continually monitor your progress as the new developments are worked into the system. 

Developers will continue to develop their techniques over a product’s lifecycle; conducting new benchmark tests with every update. 

Conclusion

Benchmark tests are an essential activity for any researcher looking to identify the working potential of their systems. Benchmark testing gives developers a consistent and measurable baseline for their product’s performance and stability; opening up a number of working benefits for devs looking to market and improve their designs over time. 

Testing product benchmarks ultimately benefits the developer, customer, and the product itself; process improvements lead the way to the formation of a design that is more efficient and can adapt to its environment.

Click here to learn about the many ways Helpfull can be used to streamline the benchmark testing process.

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