The Ultimate Guide to Software Testing Outsourcing
Identifying whether outsourcing is the best solution for your needs and how to find the correct provider among a plethora of possibilities
When it comes to finishing software projects on time and with the fewest possible flaws, managers must decide whether to outsource software testing, hire in-house testers, crowdsource or forego hiring testers entirely (not recommended!). Outsourcing software testing has a number of benefits, including time savings in HR, training, and tool and equipment expenditures. However, finding the appropriate outsourcing partner might be difficult.
If you’re still undecided about whether or not outsourcing software testing is the best move for your company, you’ve come to the right place! In this step-by-step guide, we’ll show you how to determine which form of outsourcing is best for your needs, the key benefits and drawbacks of each outsourcing option, and the factors to consider when selecting a provider.
Software Testing and Its Importance Testing: In-House vs. Outsourced vs. Crowdsourced
Let’s start by defining software testing. Cem Kaner’s definition of testing, “a technical analysis of software in order to convey information about its quality to the various persons engaged in its production,” is one we appreciate at Abstracta.
Software testing is typically performed by someone other than the person who created the code. This person should have a background in software testing and be able to think critically about the product. Software testers are critical in catching code faults and usability concerns.
It’s critical to realize that software testing isn’t a choice any longer. It’s an important part of any development procedure.
Although some may argue that the individual test function has been abolished since developers use continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) to perform unit tests, the truth is that dedicated testers and quality engineers are essential when building a high-quality software product.
Solid quality engineering practices not only ensure that a software product is of high quality, but they also determine whether it will succeed or fail. Users will decline if the quality isn’t high enough.
The primary goal for QA and software testing strategy, according to Capgemini and Sogeti’s 2019 World Quality Report, is to ensure end-user happiness. Detecting software flaws before they go live, as well as contributing to business growth and outcomes, were among the top goals cited.
Testing has evolved to the point where it is now required at every level of the software development life cycle (SDLC). In truth, it isn’t restricted to the SDLC’s testing phase. Software testing can be used throughout the customer journey, including in critical areas of the product and the customer experience.
As a result, while developers can run unit tests, you’ll still need to collaborate with QA and software testing experts who can handle areas like automation, security testing, performance testing, and more sophisticated test cases. The finest development team is one in which software testers and developers collaborate to produce high-quality software by combining their skills and knowledge.
Agile testing procedures should always be used to ensure that all development and maintenance processes operate smoothly, from detecting early-stage problems to improving the user experience.
Testing: In-House vs. Outsourced vs. Crowdsourced
Before determining which approach to software testing is the most useful for your company from a human resources standpoint, you must first understand the fundamental concepts of each option. Here are the advantages and downsides of each option.
You will have complete control over your testing operations if you have an in-house testing staff. You’ll be able to hire the talent you want to join your team and train them to meet your specific demands.
Creating an effective in-house team, on the other hand, is a difficult process that will demand you to invest a significant amount of time and money to build a solid internal infrastructure. If you decide to build an in-house team, you will be responsible for providing specialized training to your staff as well as obtaining and maintaining a variety of testing tools and licenses.
Outsourcing services can assist you in completing specific activities that would be difficult or costly to do in-house. These services provide a wide range of advantages, however, there are several outsourcing options. Each one has its own set of difficulties. It’s critical to grasp the distinctions in order to choose the best solution.
There are two sorts of outsourcing providers: traditional outsourcing and crowdsourcing.
Whether onshore, nearshore or offshore, the former can supply you with a dedicated crew that will work from a remote location and responds to your specific demands at any moment. Crowdsourcing gives you a much wider network of testing expertise, but they’ll be worldwide distributed, comprising of one-off efforts, and operating on various platforms and devices that are unrelated to one another.
Classic Outsourced Testing
An outsourced testing provider is a way to go if you want to keep track of your team’s performance and maintain direct communication with management and testers. Outsourcing your testing requirements to a reputable vendor will result in a professional and structured testing procedure, freeing up internal resources for other areas of the development process. Working with a single outsourced partner also gives you the option of using confidentiality contracts or non-disclosure agreements to keep sensitive information safe.
Testing by a Crowd
On the other hand, crowdsourced testing is still a relatively recent trend in software testing. It entails hiring a scattered group of testers who are frequently scaled up and down as needed. Crowdsourced software testing, on the other hand, presents a more complex set of issues.
Although having so many people with diverse backgrounds and experience test your product might be a terrific source of fresh, new ideas, the fact that testers are spread out all over the world can cause management and communication issues. The presence of several time zones, languages and cultural variations might stymie operations. Confidentiality cannot always be guaranteed when it comes to the protection of your data. Because you never know who is working on your project, it’s tough to create effective non-disclosure agreements.
If you hire testers from a general marketplace or engage with numerous different suppliers, there’s also the risk of excessive turnover. You can be working with a different group of folks every time you scale up testers for a new release if you don’t have sufficient oversight.
To summarize, outsourcing testing services will result in a product that has been thoroughly tested and is of superior quality. You can save money on testing infrastructure by using the flexibility to swiftly expand up with an already trained crew that can handle the additional volume of work. It’s crucial to remember, however, that each strategy has significant differences in terms of security and management. You’ll have to choose which one best meets your requirements.
Common Misconceptions About Outsourcing Testing
In the views of some developers and managers, outsourcing software testing conjures up negative connotations. This could be due to a bad experience in the past that shattered their hopes for a future successful partnership. This does not have to be the case, however. Some frequent outsourcing fallacies are debunked below.
“We need to safeguard IP and maintain internal knowledge.”
Signing NDAs to protect trade secrets and comply with the highest security measures is a top priority for experienced outsourcing providers, just as it would be for an internal team member at your firm. When it comes to maintaining internal expertise, a software testing company can assist in a number of ways. The testing provider can remain consistent if your organization has a high personnel turnover rate or frequent role transitions and promotions. A competent testing company will have numerous internal measures in place to prevent knowledge loss, such as training multiple individuals to work on behalf of one another while they are on leave or vacation. It is the responsibility of the provider’s customer success manager to ensure that any transitions occurring on their end do not impair your company’s development process.
“We’ll lose control of the situation.”
There is sometimes a misunderstanding about the outsourced party’s function in regard to the client (i.e., your company). When you collaborate with a software testing firm, you construct a Service Level Agreement in which you determine who is liable for X, Y, and Z. You’ll always be the one to make the most important decisions.
When a mindful tester discovers ways to minimize inefficiencies or recommend feature enhancements, they’ll make sure to discuss them with you first before acting.
Simply collaborate with the outsourced team as you would your own staff to get the best outcomes.
“Our business will be lost on the outsourced staff.”
Being able to ask the proper questions about the product, the end-user, the business, and the industry is one of the most important talents for a software tester. It’s the only way they’ll be able to properly organize a test and identify the most essential risk areas to address. It may surprise you how quickly a fresh tester can grasp your specific context and, from there, develop the ideal test strategy for you. Keep in mind that the success of the outsourcing company is your success.
On the other hand, having an “outsider” test your product might be really beneficial. After months or years of working on your fantastic new program, you may lose the ability to see it with “fresh” eyes. A software testing organization may even swap testers over time, allowing for that valuable “fresh look” to be obtained more frequently.
Finally, there are numerous software testing companies that may have knowledge of your business. It’s likely that you’ll locate a provider who is already knowledgeable about your industry, goals, issues, restrictions, and other factors.
“Outsourcing is only beneficial to large businesses.”
While large corporations are notorious for using outsourcing to decrease expenses, there’s no reason why small and medium-sized businesses can’t benefit from the same strategy. Let’s pretend you only have the money to hire one tester. When you outsource, you gain access to a group of testers with a wide range of skills in test automation, performance testing, mobile testing, and other areas. Furthermore, the services can be completely customized to meet your specific needs. You may think of it as having access to a Swiss army knife of testers (rather than just one) while simultaneously lowering employee overhead.
It will be easier to add testers to your outsourced team rather than hire additional staff as your consumer base and product grow. Your goods will be familiar to the testing organization. They can bring on extra team members without requiring you to personally onboard them.
Offshore vs. Nearshore Outsourcing Locations
So, let’s pretend you’ve decided to outsource software testing. The next step is to decide where you should outsource. The terms “offshore” and “nearshore” are used in outsourcing to denote the location. Offshore refers to travel to a different part of the planet, often spanning multiple time zones. Nearshore refers to a country that is close by and has a similar time zone. For example, if a corporation in the United States outsources to Vietnam, it is regarded offshore, whereas outsourcing to Mexico is considered nearshore.
Pros from the Offshore
When cost is the most important factor, companies turn offshore. Offshoring has a number of advantages, the most important of which is cost savings. The demand for software testers in Asia and Eastern Europe is substantially lower than in the Americas or Western Europe.
While cost savings are advantageous, there are several drawbacks that many teams choose to avoid. Language and communication hurdles, cultural differences, a lack of openness, and time differences, for example, can all be big roadblocks to effective communication. You may also get what you pay for if you hire inexperienced testers who aren’t invested in your product.
Pros of the Nearshore
When compared to hiring an in-house QA team, choosing a nearshore partner can save money. When compared to offshore testing, nearshore locations like Central or South America are more likely to provide better communication, cultural understanding, and real-time collaboration. Nearshoring is frequently referred to as a “best of both worlds” solution since it provides all of the advantages of outsourcing without the hassles of working with a team half a world away.
Hiring nearshore software testers are likely to be more expensive than hiring offshore software testers. However, we believe the benefits outweigh the additional expenditure.
Is it true that we are biased in this case? Yes, absolutely!
Creating a Checklist for Choosing the Right Company
After you’ve made the decision to outsource (whether offshore or nearshore), it’s time to acquire some clarity on your requirements before contacting software testing vendors. As you study different companies, keep all of the possibilities listed below in mind.
Are you looking for a specific type of engagement?
For the proper firm, software testing service providers are ideal for short-term projects, internal team augmentation, or wholly outsourced staff. The duration and amount of engagement of your partnership with a software testing company will ultimately be determined by your business demands. You should seek out a provider whose distribution approach corresponds to the best option for you.
Consider this: what type of role do you want the testing company to play? Do you want them to advise you on your test approach and consult with you? Are you seeking for extra people to join your team so that you can execute your own strategy?
Make certain you have a clear understanding of:
The length of a relationship (short vs long term)
What kind of engagement model are you searching for? (staff augmentation vs managed testing)
What kind of services do you require? (test execution, consultation, etc.)
What Qualities Do You Look for in a Software Testing Company?
Now that you’ve figured out what kind of relationship you want to have with the provider, it’s time to think about some of the basic characteristics of your ideal software testing firm.
The Firm’s Size
Small-to-medium-sized independent providers are businesses that specialize in one-of-a-kind, boutique services. Because they primarily offer clear-cut software testing, these can be beneficial if your firm has a concentrated QA demand. They will invest a significant percentage of their resources to improving their testing knowledge and will have a high level of expertise. Because of their scale, high-ranking executives are nevertheless heavily involved in client projects and day-to-day operations.
There are also outsourced behemoths to pick from. They can employ anywhere between 500 and tens of thousands of people. These huge companies not only provide QA and software testing, but also software development, business process outsourcing, IT management, and other services. Consider the firms Accenture and Sogeti.
You may already have a choice for nearshore or offshore, but do you have a city or nation preference? Do you wish to work in the same time zone as the tester, or is it sufficient to have the tester’s workday overlap with at least half of yours? Each of these solutions has its own set of advantages in terms of quality and cost.
Rates by the Hour
As previously stated, the rate is heavily influenced by the area. A testing organization that only operates in the United States, for example, will have substantially higher rates than a team with the same capabilities in South America, Europe, or Asia. Rates will also be affected by the competence level of the tester(s) you’re looking for. Of course, if you want a specialist in their field of testing, you’ll have to pay more than a junior or manual tester.
Compatibility in Culture
Do you know what values you’d like a supplier to share with you? Does the provider appreciate openness and trust as much as your team does on an organizational level? You can learn more about a testing company’s ideals by looking at their social media, website, or customer reviews. What is their attitude toward their employees? What about their favorite method of communication and teamwork?
Is it critical for the testers to be able to communicate clearly and fluently in their native language? What about real-time communication? How much of a communication gap do you think you’d be comfortable with?
Evaluating Amongst Different Vendors
The biggest software testing service providers now account for only 5% of the global industry, which means there are a lot of possibilities (and, naturally, it might be daunting)! After you’ve thought about the preceding questions and located a few organizations that suit your basic requirements, it’s time to narrow down the list by looking into the following.
What distinguishes each one?
Can you tell what distinguishes each company from the others? Is their offering relevant to you and your requirements? Some service providers advertise themselves as the most cost-effective or quickest to get up and running. Others highlight their breadth and depth of experience, as well as their work experience in specialized industries.
How often do you go to a new restaurant without first reading the reviews on Google or Yelp? If you’re that picky about who cooks your food, you should be picky about who tests your software as well! It’s critical to seek evidence of their capacity to satisfy their clients and, as a result, satisfy you. On each company’s website, testimonials and reviews should be pretty easy to access.
Domain Expertise and Testing Specialties
Not all software is created equal. Risks, technologies, and timescales that teams must cope with differ substantially depending on the business and industry. For example, healthcare software necessitates a thorough awareness of compliance problems as well as intensive security testing. Check to check if a software testing firm has worked for companies that are similar to yours (or at least in the same industry) to get confidence in their abilities.
Furthermore, perhaps your goal is to hire a firm to assist you in developing a test automation framework. Check to see if they have any case studies that demonstrate they have done it before. You can look at their website or read the Clutch reviews again.
Because there are so many various types of testing, each testing company will have its own set of strengths. If a firm claims to have extensive experience testing for all elements of software quality, run!
Toolbelt and Technology
Don’t forget to check or inquire directly with each organization to see if they have experience with the testing tools you like. If you’re not sure which is best, ask if they can examine your situation and make a recommendation. Consider your product and the type of testing you’ll need to do. Is a full automation system required, or would simple tools enhance manual testing suffice?
It’s absurd to expect a testing organization to have worked with each of the thousands of testing tools available today. But keep in mind that a smart tester can quickly learn how to use a new tool. What’s more important is the mindset they adopt and the way they test.
Additional Considerations for the Serious Buyer of Software Testing Services
So far, I’ve presented a laundry list of topics to think about and investigate when looking for a software testing service provider. However, if you truly want to have that “positive feeling” about the organization you choose, there are a few other factors to check for:
- Projects that demonstrate a commitment to testing tool research and development as well as contributions to the open-source community
- Team members and leaders who give back to the testing community through meetups, conference lectures, blogs, podcasts, and other means.
- With a low staff turnover rate and a sophisticated and highly selective recruitment procedure (Pro tip: you can obtain this information using LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator)
- Employee training and career planning possibilities abound.
There are several strategic locations.
- Flexibility on their part to travel to in-person onboardings, deliver training, hold seminars, and so on, so that you may connect with them in person (once it’s safe to do so).
Of course, there could be a few more points added to this list, but I hope these suggestions provide you with some further food for thought. When it comes to preserving a healthy business culture, it’s critical to pick a provider who not only talks the talk but also walks the walk. This is frequently missed. You can estimate how well you’ll be able to work with an outsourced software testing service based on your company’s culture and values. Consider how effectively the testing firm can fit into your company’s culture and procedures.
Outsourcing Best Practices
On both sides, establish a point of contact.
It’s important to keep in mind that even if you’ve outsourced software testing, you’ll still have to answer their emails and assist them with problems. When dealing with an outsourced team, appointing one person from your team and one from theirs as the main points of contact can make all the difference. These individuals will be responsible for ensuring that everything runs smoothly and that everyone receives what they request on time, avoiding project delays. Creating an environment where anybody feels comfortable asking questions is vital for effective outsourcing, according to Karen N. Johnson in her presentation, “Managing an Offshore Team.” When working with you, the outsourced software testers will know exactly whom to address, and vice versa.
Include the testing team early in the development process, if not before.
The sooner you involve the testing team, the more quickly and easily they will grasp the product and what you’re attempting to accomplish in order to create value. Starting testing as soon as possible also saves a lot of time and money. Defects discovered early on cost substantially less to fix than bugs discovered during UI tests or once in production (especially larger bugs).
Establish a strategy and project objectives from the start.
Before you begin working on your project, make sure you have a testing strategy, process, test cases, and timetable in place. You may hit some dead ends if you don’t have a firm plan in place, and everyone will have various ideas about what to do next. Ascertain that all parties are aware of the strategy. Provide testers with all of the information they’ll need to get started, including the required requirements. It’s also crucial to set expectations early on so that testers know what to expect. If they don’t know what their expectations are, how can they fulfill or exceed them? Make a detailed service level agreement that includes the volume of work, timelines, downtime, and availability, among other things, so that neither party is in the dark.
Work to build trust
Both parties must trust one another in order for outsourcing to be successful. Trust implies belief in the notion that everyone is working toward the same goal, that each team can rely on one another, and that both sides are capable of working together effectively.
It’s critical to establish confidence with the outsourced workforce by:
Pay attention to their requirements.
Mutual respect is built when the outsourced staff realizes that you care about their concerns by listening to them. They will trust you as a trusted partner if you do what you say you’re going to do by keeping your promises, and they will be more likely to follow through on their end.
To spare their feelings, don’t give them a phony reason for your disappointment with a certain outcome. Give them honest feedback so they can trust you when you are happy with their effort.
Get to know them as individuals.
Your outsourced employees are also people. Empathy for them is one method to gain their trust. Inquire about their well-being and learn more about them than just where they live and what they do. Regular video conversations will allow you to get to know each other better than you could over the phone. Simply seeing each other’s faces makes the interaction much more human. They’ll like it if you perceive them first and foremost as people, then as testers.
Make sure that everyone on your team agrees with your decision.
When you outsource part of your testing, your in-house testers’ morale may suffer. Explain how it will only help them and the overall quality of your application if you are open about your motivations. On the other hand, bring outsourced testers to your office or introduce them to the full staff through Zoom to maintain excellent morale. As much as possible, make them feel included.
Outsourced testers should be treated as long-term partners.
It’s tempting to see an outsourced workforce as a transient addition to your business goals that don’t require much attention when you outsource hiring for a brief project or contract. A good vendor, on the other hand, should treat all customers fairly. Make your outsourced software testers feel appreciated so they’ll want to work with you again. Treat them as though they were a long-term partner, even if the endeavor is only temporary. You never know when you might require their services again.
Important Points to Remember
Many software engineering and quality engineering managers have looked to outsourcing as a helpful answer to their company demands because of the numerous benefits of outsourcing software testing.
Consider all of the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing software testing, such as nearshore vs. offshore locations. When looking for the right testing organization, make a list of criteria that meets your business objectives. When reviewing your top selection of organizations, there are various factors to consider, including the firm’s size, cultural compatibility, communication style, and pricing. With adequate research and evaluation, you’ll be able to identify the greatest software testing firm for your needs.
Also, once you’ve finally onboarded a new external team, keep the best practices in mind. To give the most value to your organization, your outsourced staff, like any internal team, requires good supervision. Hopefully, this post has made selecting and working with a software testing service provider easier for you.
Fortunately, collaborating with a software testing company can help you bridge the gap between testing and development, allowing you to give developers feedback faster while lowering costs and decreasing business risks. And that’s only the beginning!
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