In this 4 part series, we outline the most common obstacles to achieve effective APM and how to address them to save money, increase efficiencies, and protect the user experience (UX).
When done right, Application Performance Management (APM) gives companies increased visibility that reduces risk, enables better decision-making and provides peace of mind. However, many companies face organizational barriers that prevent them from fully harnessing the predictive power this discipline can bring.
Treating Performance as a One-Time Act
Often times performance testing, monitoring and planning are one-time acts conducted by a single specialist operating in isolation. This activity commonly occurs at the last minute or reactively after a failure. Even if the numbers look acceptable at any given moment, changes are inevitable. Performance must be evaluated continuously to respond to code and infrastructure changes, new functionality, and fluctuating usage patterns. Additionally, the performance impact of transient events and the effort and coordination it takes to effectively test and prepare for them is often underestimated. For example, extraneous loads like batch processing eat up server bandwidth and causes seemingly inexplicably poor performance. This is fixable and avoidable, as long as performance is evaluated continuously.
WHAT TO DO?
Implement continuous tuning, testing, optimization, and monitoring strategies.
Performance is a moving target. Track and monitor as a team organic growth and changes in usage patterns to inform continuous tuning, testing, optimization and monitoring strategies. By focusing on future growth as opposed to merely sustaining current usage, you build predictive performance into each iteration. Furthermore, include performance in each sprint’s definition of done. Even though functionality is often a high priority when getting an application out the door, performance ‘ilities’ are just as relevant to end users. Sufficient functionality is not enough. Companies who treat performance as a continuous event with ongoing participation from the internal community can develop and release better applications that work and perform well for users.
As organizations realize the impacts of poor performance on employee productivity, customer retention, brand reputation and the bottom line, they must put more emphasis on application and system performance. An enterprise-wide performance management discipline can mitigate risk and protect the end user experience. Success in this discipline requires IT organizations to think about performance differently: view it not just as a testing event that generates load against a system, but as an end-to-end, continuous effort that is tied back to business initiatives. This starts by embracing best practices in performance management, treating them as critical, and investing in infrastructure, culture change and role shifts to support the transformation.
Ineffective performance management is often less about a lack of internal skills and more about proper coordination of the right skills. Often companies have far more expertise than they give themselves credit for, but people remain underutilized and the coordination of efforts is not effective. Optimizing existing performance capabilities and establishing an end-to-end performance discipline are investments that will, over time, save your business money and improve the overall customer experience.
Achieve Effective APM | Roadblock #1
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