Rules of Thumb are experience-based shortcuts used to quickly solve a problem or make a decision. We use them all the time to reach “good enough” with minimal effort, and conserve our attention and energy for less familiar, more demanding tasks. Performance testing involves a very high degree of complexity in design, execution, and analysis. It is very difficult to conduct performance testing without finding ways to reduce this complexity.
Rules of Thumb are very similar to heuristics: a fallible method for solving a problem or making a decision. We know – or should know – that the value of a heuristic to any specific person is connected to that person’s ability to use the heuristic correctly, which is based on that person’s judgment, skill, and experience. In some circumstances, a given heuristic might work very well, and in others, it might not be helpful at all…or worse.
A peer workshop on the subject of performance testing rules of thumb yielded a long list of heuristics, and discussion around how to use them profitably. I will share these heuristics, and what we learned discussing them.