Performance Testing Life Cycle for Beginners (Testing Phases)

A Beginner’s Guide to Performance Testing Lifecycle (Testing Phases)

performance testing lifecycle

Performance testing is an important part of software development since it guarantees that the application works properly under a variety of loads and situations. To achieve this aim, a well-defined performance testing lifecycle is essential.

This article provides an in-depth guide to the performance testing lifecycle, including entry and exit criteria, along with studies that showcase the importance of performance testing.

Discover the fundamental pillars of performance testing by watching the captivating video below:

What is Performance Testing Life Cycle?

The Performance Testing Life Cycle (PTLC) is a set of stages that development teams go through to ensure the effective performance of the software, application, website, etc. PTLC normally consists of the following phases:


The planning stage is the first step in the performance testing lifecycle. It’s not only a major role/responsibility of a performance tester but it’s also one of the most important skills of a performance tester. It involves identifying the objectives of the testing, defining the scope, and establishing the testing environment. 

The objective of the planning stage is to identify the performance metrics that need to be measured during testing, such as response time, throughput, and resource utilization.

Entry criteria for the planning stage include a detailed test plan that outlines the testing objectives, scope, and environment. Exit criteria for this stage include a signed-off test plan and an approved testing environment.

Studies show that early performance testing can help identify and fix performance issues before they become more complex and costly to fix. 

study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology found that “the cost of fixing a defect detected during the design phase was about 15 times less than the cost of fixing the same defect in the maintenance phase.”

Test design

In the test design stage, you will create a test script that simulates real-world scenarios to measure the performance of the software. This stage also involves identifying the test scenarios and configuring test data. 

It is crucial to design scenario-based scripts that accurately represent user behavior and identify critical business functions.

Entry criteria for the test design stage include a detailed test plan, an approved testing environment, and identified test scenarios. Exit criteria for this stage include reviewed and approved test scripts.

Studies show that designing effective scripts is critical to achieving reliable results. Poor test design, insufficient test coverage, and unrealistic test scenarios are the most significant contributors to unreliable testing.

Test execution

The test execution is the 3rd in the list of phases of performance testing. It involves running the test scripts using performance testing tools and collecting performance data. It is essential to monitor the application’s performance and identify any issues that may impact the user experience. During this stage, you will identify and report defects and work with the development team to fix them.

Entry criteria for the test execution stage include reviewed and approved test scripts, a stable testing environment, and sufficient test data. Exit criteria for this stage include reviewed and approved test results and identified and reported defects.

Studies show that identifying and fixing performance issues during the testing phase can significantly reduce the risk of performance-related issues after deployment. 


The analysis stage involves reviewing and interpreting the test results. This stage is critical to identify performance bottlenecks that may impact the application’s performance. 

During this stage, you will generate reports and share them with stakeholders, including the development team, project managers, and business owners.

Entry criteria for the analysis stage include reviewed and approved test results. Exit criteria for this stage include generated reports and identified and resolved bottlenecks.

Studies show that analyzing test results can help identify issues that may not be apparent during the development and testing phases. A study by Microsoft found that performance issues can be identified by analyzing server logs and application metrics.


The reporting stage is the last phase in PTLC, which involves sharing the test results and analysis with stakeholders. This stage is critical to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the application’s performance and any issues that may impact the user experience. 

During this stage, you will present the results and analysis to stakeholders and work with them to prioritize and address any issues identified.

Entry criteria for the reporting stage include generated reports and identified Issues. Exit criteria for this stage include an approved report and addressed issues.

Effective reporting can help improve the development team’s understanding of the application’s performance and identify areas for improvement. 

Reporting tools that provide performance analytics and trends are essential for identifying performance issues and for understanding user behavior.

Entry Criteria in Performance Testing Life Cycle

Entry criteria in performance testing define the conditions that must be met before the performance testing process can begin. These criteria typically include:

Completion of functional testing

Before testing can begin, the application must undergo thorough functional testing to ensure that it is stable and ready for testing.

Defined performance acceptance criteria

Performance acceptance criteria should be defined based on the expected usage of the application. The testing team should have a clear understanding of these criteria before beginning the testing process.

Test environment readiness

The test environment should be set up with the necessary hardware, software, and network infrastructure to simulate the intended production environment.

Test data readiness

Test data should be prepared to simulate real-world scenarios that will be experienced by the application.

Exit Criteria in Performance Testing Lifecycle

Exit criteria in performance testing define the conditions that must be met before the testing process can be considered complete. These criteria typically include:

Meeting performance acceptance criteria

The application must meet the defined performance acceptance criteria based on the expected usage of the application.


The application should be stable and free from any critical issues that could impact its performance.

Capacity planning

Capacity planning should be performed to ensure that the application can handle the expected workload.

Load testing results

Load testing results should be analyzed to identify any performance issues. The results should be documented and shared with the development team for further analysis.


In conclusion, the Performance Testing Lifecycle is crucial for ensuring effective software application performance under various loads and conditions. Defining clear entry and exit criteria in the testing lifecycle for each phase is essential to ensure that testing teams stay on track and meet project goals. 

By following the Performance Testing Lifecycle and addressing these challenges, testing teams can achieve better application performance, reduced risk of production issues, and efficient resource utilization. Therefore, close attention to entry and exit criteria in the performance testing lifecycle along with attention to avoiding common performance testing mistakes is essential for successful performance testing.

Common Questions

Who does performance testing?

Dedicated performance testing teams or developers with expertise in performance testing can perform various types of performance testing. 

The extent of involvement of testing and development teams in performance testing may vary depending on the organization’s size and structure. Collaborative efforts between the teams may be required to ensure effective performance testing.

When is performance testing most effectively performed?

To ensure optimal performance of software applications, performance testing should be performed continuously throughout the software development life cycle, starting from the design phase and continuing through the development, testing, and deployment stages. 

Conducting performance testing frequently with the help of the right performance testing tools in the early stage is crucial as it enables the timely detection and resolution of performance issues at every stage of development. And not only this, but we should also conduct various types of testing to ensure we didn’t miss any bug, that can affect the performance of an application, software, website, etc.

For accurate results, different types of performance testing should be conducted under conditions that closely replicate the production environment.

Which Performance Testing tool is recommended for beginners?

These days, you’ll find a lot of tools for performance testing. Start by learning J Meter, the most popular tool for performance testing, and then move on to other tools like Gatling, LoadRunner, etc.

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The Test Tribe

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