Software testing is undergoing a paradigm shift with an increasing number of companies outsourcing testing to third-party vendors. Outsourcing software testing is becoming common now as it allows the in-house team to focus on development and also results in a better quality of testing.
In our previous article, we had addressed the reasons why companies today are outsourcing software and mobile app testing. And in this post, we will walk you through important factors that should be kept in mind while QA outsourcing, steps to follow while choosing a software testing partner, and software testing outsourcing guidelines.
When To Outsource Software Testing To A Specialist And Why
Software testing outsourcing allows organizations to focus on their core functions and drive innovation. It gives you the advantage of an expert testing service provider working efficiently to ensure a positive business outcome and better product quality.
Further, outsourcing software testing to QA professionals helps you save time and money, irrespective of the scope of the project and the frequency of your testing needs. Some of the compelling reasons why you should outsource software testing are –
By releasing the in-house teams and assigning the time-consuming task of software testing to an external vendor, you are allowed to completely shift your focus on taking up new assignments or prioritize core business areas.
Cost-saving is one of the key benefits of QA outsourcing. It helps you save on multiple parameters, including the cost of testing, costly infrastructure setups, and overhead of testing tools.
Better software testing efficiency
Expert software testing vendors use a professionally vetted and systematic approach to perform testing based on global best practices. They also make sure to use the best techniques, fully-compliant processes, and advanced tools to offer top quality testing efficiency.
Outsourced QA testing vendors are equipped with technically robust test resources and have their own infrastructure/testing platforms for testing purposes that allow them to deliver results quickly.
Independent quality assurance
Third-party testing service providers generally do not have any information regarding changes that happened during the software development process. This ensures that you get independent quality assurance and uninfluenced testing.
Thoroughly-tested final products
As testing experts, outsourced software testing vendors ensure to employ the best practices of the industry to offer thoroughly tested and high-quality final products.
Software Testing Outsourcing – Best Practices & Tips
Below are some QA outsourcing guidelines and best practices that you need to take care of when outsourcing the testing function –
1. Define Your Objectives And Goals
Clearly laid out objectives and measurable goals allow you to chart out a robust outsourcing strategy. These objectives will help you make important decisions regarding the key aspects such as a project’s business value, outsourcing models, vendor, projects to outsource, and various possible risks to assume.
Goals, on the other hand, are the events and functional metrics that help the management to monitor progress, take corrective action, and project future performance.
2.Pick Your Way To Outsource
QA outsourcing is available in many different forms. When you begin your search, you will come across the following three types of QA outsourcing vendors –
a) Expert/Specialist QA Providers
Either based in your own country or overseas, they specialize purely in testing and other forms of QA service, such as consulting.
b) IT Generalists
IT generalists are generally the service providers that offer QA in combination with other outsourced IT services. You can hire them for testing services only if you also contract them with development.
c) Crowdsourcing Providers
These are typically the enterprises that give out your testing activity to individual freelance testers. This model gives you the advantage of many different people conducting your tests under real-world conditions.
It’s important to consider your individual requirement of the type of QA solution that will best fit your project.
3. Strike A Balance Between Cost And Quality
For successful QA outsourcing, it is very important to avoid the race to the bottom because a reduced price does not necessarily mean the same thing as a reduced cost.
What is important to remember here is your software testing company can deliver value in multiple ways, but if you are only prepared to pay less for an outsourced service, the benefits you can achieve with the process are very limited.
Instead of making the lowest cost as the selection criteria, base it on your project specifics, and make sure that the chosen QA outsourcing vendor can –
a) Perform testing tasks quicker as compared to your internal resources
b) Make your overall QA process more smooth and efficient
c) Identify more defects, faster than your in-house resources
4. Be flexible and adaptable
Different software testing vendors have their own processes and workflow. As a third-party service provider, outsourcing companies usually follow clients’ QA processes, which require flexible teams to offer excellent service for them.
Further, the outsourced QA vendor should have the ability to quickly learn and adapt to new workflows when working with a new client.
5. Prioritize communication
Communication remains a key enabler in defining the success of any software testing partner. However, what is important here is to communicate with a purpose instead of just inundating the customer with useless information.
Outsourced vendors need to make sure that only the right information and analysis goes to the right person in the organization you are dealing with.
Factors To Consider While Choosing Software Testing Partner
Here we are discussing the important things you need to consider while choosing your software testing partner –
1. Past Experience
A reputed software testing vendor must have an impressive portfolio highlighting their experience. A company with experience in similar kinds of projects or similar industries indicates their comprehensive knowledge and ability to comprehend your requirements easily.
Further, robust past experience will also allow them to find quick and easy solutions if they run into any kind of issue during the process of testing.
2. Background Checking
The market today is full of software testing vendors who would promise great rates, best tools, finest quality, quick turnaround time, and more. But, many of these are just gimmicks, making it important to do thorough scrutiny of the vendor, their clientele, reviews, returning clients, etc.
Another important thing to check is whether your chosen partner is doing the work themselves or subcontracting it to another vendor.
3. Well-defined Service-level Agreement (SLA)
A detailed and well-defined SLA acts as a blueprint that sees the project from start to end. It ideally would include the timelines, milestones, summary of the project, communication pattern, and other important aspects.
SLA acts as a legally binding document to safeguard the interest of both parties and will also have a guideline for the processes to be followed in different situations.
It is also important to make sure that your SLA should have the following items –
- Process compliance
- Entire reporting and project management timelines
- Knowledge transfer
- Core business know-how
- Various product quality measures, such as defect reporting, test case efficiency, traceability, and more
4. Domain Expertise
Picking a software testing partner with resources, but limited expertise in your domain could be a disaster for your overall service delivery timeline. This will also slow down the execution and end quality of the product. It is, therefore, recommended to hire an expert in your domain who can offer faster results in testing along with suggesting improvements in the process flow and design.
When selecting a QA software testing company, it is also important to ask various questions to be able to identify the right service provider. Some of these questions include –
- Does the software testing vendor hold relevant experience?
- Are your requirements matching up with the proficiency of QA outsourcing vendors?
- Does your software testing partner have all the client-communication procedures in place?
Does your test automation partner have all the resources readily available to meet your needs?
5. Robust Communication
There are times when communication barriers between a client and outsourced software testing partner create a complete roadblock in the work to be done. A proper communication strategy is, therefore, another critical factor to consider when choosing a vendor for software testing.
It is very important to establish a proper communication channel between the involved parties, along with a list of items to be exchanged between the two for each area of work. Also, make sure to set clear communication goals with your outsourced partner so that there aren’t any issues between you and the vendor at a later stage.
Put simply, an effective communication model generally incorporates the following factors:
- Issue Resolution
6. Data/Intellectual Property Security
Data holds critical importance when it comes to a software product. While hiring your outsourced software testing vendor, you need to make sure that robust measures are taken so that the data, design, and personal information is not compromised.
IPR protection is, in fact, one of the critical aspects to consider while outsourcing software testing services. The vendor you pick for the job needs to protect the Personally Identifiable Information (PII) provided by you and make sure that it is not used for any other purpose apart from the intended business.
So, when you outsource to a QA partner, make sure that the following outsourcing standards have been addressed:
- Confidentiality contracts for employees
- IP protection
- Nondisclosure agreements
There might be other factors to consider based on the specific needs of your QA and testing project, such as a configuration management system or maintaining a comprehensive change.
7. Robust Engagement Model
Picking and establishing a robust engagement model is another important consideration while hiring an outsourced partner for testing. It’s always recommended to get this covered early during the planning phase, as you will have to consider multiple factors such as language barriers, international business strategy, and timezones.
At this point, make sure to make a decision on whether you’re going to implement a complete outsourcing model or an incremental outsourcing model.
If you are outsourcing for the first time, it is best to outsource smaller modules to first assess the vendors on parameters such as the quality of testing, delivery timelines, quality of the bugs found, proper communication, etc.
Steps To Choose The Best Software Testing Partner
Here are the steps you need to take to select the best-outsourced service provider –
1. Thoroughly think over what to outsource
The process of QA outsourcing can be very overwhelming, making it essential to first know what exactly you want to outsource. Begin with deciding the areas of testing, type of testing required, the overall scope of the work, and the test coverage you are expecting from the software testing vendor.
Primarily the outsourced testing services can be categorized into four main types including –
- Web application testing
- Desktop application testing
- Enterprise Application testing
- Mobile application testing
Apart from this, it is also important to make a list of the target devices and platforms over which you want the process of testing to be done.
2. Shortlist software testing vendor
Once you have clarity on what testing services you need to outsource, the next logical question is – whom to outsource these services? To answer this, you need to make a list of software testing vendors in the market who are capable of serving your needs.
Make sure to assess the service model and processes of the shortlisted companies to find out if it will work with your in-house team or not. This will also allow you to narrow down your list of shortlisted vendors out of the big pool.
3. Do a thorough check
The next step in the process is to investigate the shortlisted vendors in terms of their reputation and the services they offer. To do this, you can either research on the web, compare their offerings with companies using similar services, talk to ex-employees, or check the reviews on social media.
The idea here is to cross-check the information provided by vendors themselves and do a thorough analysis of the software testing partner you choose for outsourcing.
4. Interact and ask questions
Before making your pick of the vendor, ensure that your own in-house experts interact with these vendors to collect more information about them.
Ask questions about the team, past work experience, and their capabilities. It is critical for the testing process that the outsourced testing partner fully understands your products and your clients.
5. Assess and take your pick
After making a final assessment of the shortlisted vendors, outsource the work to the vendor who checks all the assessment criteria.
When you’re running a business, there is an irresistible itch of wanting to do everything yourself. But this often ends up requiring more time, cost, and resources. The easiest way to go about it is to outsource your software testing to a qualified QA software testing partner.
Software testing outsourcing does not need to be tricky if you set clear expectations from the beginning and know how to navigate the process.
To outsource your software testing to a QA testing partner who has flexible engagement models and ensures robust communication Maruti Techlabs is your one-stop solution for end-to-end QA services. Simply drop us a note here and we’ll take it from there.