Before testing in production, software development had a bad reputation and was justified. But nowadays, software development is evolving, and testing in production has changed greatly. And developers also encourage this method in various situations. Some people are not optimistic about testing in production, but we will show you some convincing reasons that the method is acceptable.
Please note that testing in production is not about releasing untested codes hoping it would work in detecting the bugs. But testing in production allows the developers to be ready for any bugs that might be found in the code. Seeing bugs at your production level is not new, but if you are ready to manage such bugs in the early stage of development, you can resolve them faster with automatic monitoring tools.
Testing in production only has this thing in mind to help you quickly prepare bug resolutions. Yet, you can likewise employ this technique to analyze user experience. Testing in production is easy with A/B testing, enabling you to identify how a new feature is helping your target customers. But if testing in production is not so bad as we are saying, why did it have a bad reputation?
The bad reputation of this method came from its name itself. When someone says “testing in production”, it’s possible that you don’t relate the name with its definition. Instead, they imagine the process to be a deployment of untested codes. Some people think that testing in production is a thing about improper software development and no trace of automated testing.
However, that does not mean that testing in production does not deserve any of its bad rumors. If you don’t do testing in production in a proper way, it can ruin your software program. You can lose your data, you can lose money, and you can even lose your reputation like the strategy itself did. Other risks involved in testing in production might include:
Increased alert rates
Inaccurate earnings recognition
Noise in logs caused by bots
Other unintended consequences in the production system
If you don’t want to associate yourself with bad testing in production, then avoid these small things that are related to its bad reputation:
Don’t skip testing methods in the pre-production environment just because you are thinking of testing in production.
Once you make a faulty deployment, you cannot roll back to its previous stage. Therefore, be careful.
Don’t avoid a complete backup strategy.
Don’t conduct production tests in inappropriate situations.
But if you consider testing in production the right way, find its importance.
We have already stated that if you can implement testing in production correctly, it will provide you with some great benefits.
You can monitor the app's performance in real-time without undefined test cases.
You can run edge-cases in real-time to identify any network failure, weak connections, connection interruptions, and more.
Monitoring the API responses during peak hours.
Helps detect bugs and malicious attacks that are generally not noticeable in the production environment.
Helps maintain the quality of the app for a better user experience.
Overall, the main goal of testing in production is to ensure that the software is stable and runs the way you intend it to. If you perform testing in the production regularly, it will help you ensure that the application runs smoothly. However, there are some possible risks involved with testing in production too.
Testing in the production sometimes doesn’t work out and can have some imperfections if you fail to implement it correctly or use the strategy unnecessarily. The implementation of testing in production might involve the following scenarios:
You can’t perform performance testing in testing in production because it can spoil the user experience. You can’t use customer data at this stage, so you can’t expect a real result.
When you test in production, assume that you already allow your customers to use the software. So, there is a possibility that if there is any problem in the production, your customers will be the first to notice it. The possibility is that it’s going to create a bad reputation for your software.
You will have to work with a highly skilled team to perform testing in production. It is true because if you are messing with the production environment with test data, it will show bugs which is not good for your project. An expert team can resolve this doubt.
However, considering all the possibilities of risks and benefits, you can go ahead with testing in production with our instructions.
There are some valid techniques you can use to apply testing in production. We have described each of them in this section.
A/B testing is a statistic test where you divide a user base into two parts: A and B. Next, test two versions of your software which we call control (the original version) and variation ( an original version but with some supposed changes). Based on the behavior of both groups' users, you can understand which version is working better. Then you will have to analyze that information thoroughly and then decide if you want to keep the changes of that version or not.
With Load Testing, you can understand how your app will react to a high traffic volume. You can increase the load volume and analyze your app's response time, speed, and user experience to find an idea of your app’s capacity.
Canary releases are like the A/B testing. You can present the variation of the software in the production by rolling out the changes to a small group of users before rolling it out in front of a whole audience. But the difference between A/B testing and canary releases is that AB records the users' interests in new features. With Canary Testing releases, you can reduce the risk of software distribution.
Feature flagging is a method of switching a feature on and off to use the A/B testing. Feature flagging is also known as feature toggles that you can use to identify if a particular feature should serve your target audience or not. You can also control the feature toggles from outside of the app.
Application Monitoring is another testing in production activity that monitors the application during the production stage. By automatically monitoring your app during the production stage, you can determine if it behaves the way you intend it to or not. So, before it goes live, you can make the necessary changes. There are two types of application monitoring: real user monitoring and synthetic monitoring. Real user monitoring allows real humans to interact with the app. And in synthetic monitoring, you create synthetic users to identify how the app works on traffic load.
Major organizations conduct Production User Acceptance Testing before deciding to release a specific feature to the market. In this process, the developers delay the release of their code to make it suitable for use by real-end users.
Since production in testing has been developed with these strategies, developers don’t apply prolonged acceptance testing that occurs before the production. The feature toggles are the best thing about this development where the tester can work on a feature after getting some positive response from the users.
Depending on the type of software testing you are conducting, many other activities can also be a part of the testing in production technique. These activities might include Chaos Engineering, accessibility testing, automatic broken link checking, disaster recovering testing, visual regression testing, etc. However, these practices make testing in production affordable and easier to achieve. Even though testing in production was not successful in the software industry, it’s evolving rapidly. If you apply production in testing, you can get ahead of your competitors faster than you imagine because it’s giving you the time to improve the quality of your codes using various AI tools.
Testing in production is recommended if you have an expert team to help you pull this off. It is also going to be impactful for your business-to-customer environment, where you can run a test on the features without interrupting your customers’ experience.
By Simran Arora • July 26, 2022
By Vijay Singh Khatri • July 26, 2022