What is performance engineering?

A performance engineer may be tasked with making computer numerical control industrial machinery easier to reprogram in order to optimize its production.

Performance engineering is a process in which systems are built and maintained to meet criteria defined by their users. Unlike many system-based processes, the non-technical aspect of the business creates the benchmarks against which the system is tested. It is the role of the technology team to work to meet these goals in a timely manner. The overall goal of performance engineering is to create a lean, responsive computer system that facilitates employees and increases productivity.

Almost all companies have one general objective: to make money. Performance engineering fits this goal well, simplifying systems and increasing productivity. This is done in a number of ways, primarily by reducing wait times for information and creating reliable, easy-to-use systems that reduce training, maintenance and downtime. While many of the changes created by these processes are small, together they can represent a major improvement.

In most cases, the first step of a performance engineering plan is carried out by the business side of the company. During this initial phase, issues are identified from the user’s point of view. Often these problems have non-technical definitions, such as ‘speeding up’ a process or ‘getting the new version’ of a program. Opening these specs allows for wiggle room used later.

This list of requests and ideas goes to the technical team responsible for the other side of the performance engineering process. The team will look at the requests and figure out how to translate them into specific tasks. For example, if a common process is deemed “too slow” by initial planning, the technology team will examine the process to see how it is currently working. It may be possible to shorten the physical transmission distance, increase the function’s priority, or even configure a new secondary system to handle that specific request.

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This is where the non-technical part of performance engineering can work well for everyone. The non-technical team wants an effect, but doesn’t care how it happens. This allows the technical side to work within current guidelines and budgets as they see fit. As long as the ultimate goal is reached, everyone will be happy.

The next common step in performance engineering is testing. The technical team determines the best possible methods to improve the system, maintenance schedules and upgrade procedures. When multiple options are available, engineers test the feasibility of each change in a closed environment. Because business systems are often exceptionally complex, small changes in one area can have unexpected results in another. After testing is complete, the changes are moved to live systems and work schedules and the process begins again.

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