QA outsourcing: pros and cons
Everyday life is dynamic, presenting us with an abundance of challenges and forcing us to find better solutions if we want to improve client outcomes. When you are developing your business, you don’t always have enough time or money to transfer knowledge or even implement a high-quality recruitment process. However, you still want to win your client’s confidence and provide them with five-star quality service. Quickly. Efficiently. Impeccably.
Have you ever thought about outsourcing any of the services you use in your everyday business life, such as products, services, business processes, virtual support, virtual helpdesk, etc.? In this article we will discuss the merits of QA outsourcing.
First, we must admit that while QA is one of the most important areas of SDLC, it also typically receives the least attention. In some companies, developers even test their own code! Yet, should we forget about the main objective of a client-centred organization? Should we ignore the importance of project outcome by prioritizing cost-saving and budget optimization? The answer is obvious. Client satisfaction, quality improvement, and better outcome are the main values of a client-centred organization.
So, what is the solution for a company that, for example, does not have a QA department? What is the solution for a company that has a solid client portfolio and well-organized development teams used to working without testers and delivering without pause, leaving no time for a knowledge transfer or organizational changes that would allow an in-house QA team to be created and incorporated in clients’ projects? Testing is hard. It takes serious effort to put together a decent test harness, to organize your code, etc.
Software testing outsourcing provides a lot of opportunities to both vendor and customer in terms of cost, time, and the possibility of building the QA team you need within a short period of time. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of such a solution and of its impact on your business.
Software development requires a lot of concentration and observation. Software testing, on the other hand, requires a different skill set, one that includes more aggressiveness, more “problem searching” skills. By working with a QA remote team, you’ll have the opportunity to “think out of the box” and find new skills that you will use for your SDLC as well as your current and future projects.
It takes financial resources to recruit, train, integrate and retain an in-house QA team. Software testing outsourcing keeps a company’s financial resources safe from these expenditures. You can also have more people working on the testing of your software projects.
When you assign a task to a colleague, you are calm and relaxed because you have a basic relationship based on corporate trust. In contrast, if you outsource a task, you will be more likely to more thoroughly control that task. This is an evident advantage because it keeps everyone on the team focused and concentrated through the end of the project.
In practice, a specialized QA team will have more expertise and experience in software testing because that is its “bread and butter”. It will have experience testing different software in different environments. Moreover, testers think and solve problems differently than developers. A specialized QA team is focused on finding potentially vulnerable and unstable parts and features of a software product. Using a QA team with an impressive skill-set and multi-project experience is inherently practical.
Different workflows can create misunderstanding and miscommunication between in-house and outsource teams. The solution is to facilitate coordination and communication with a workflow path demo and the participation of a highly qualified engagement manager (EM) from the QA outsource team, who will be able to coordinate and communicate with the client and align your expectations with the QA outsource team’s capacity.
A lack of careful deadline management can create a problem, not the least of which is false delivery time expectations. The solution is to take care when defining deadlines for the outsource team and track the project on a regular basis.
Fear of losing control
The quality of your product and the reputation of your brand are based on how well your software performs. Control and monitoring are crucial when outsourcing software quality assurance. As mentioned earlier, an engagement manager who cares about your collaboration with the outsourcer is a key to success.
Competition and Confidentiality
When you open the door to an outsourcing team you naturally worry about the disclosure of information. After all, you are letting an external team enter the “heart” of your development project and you are understandably concerned that they may take away your know-how and clients. Outsourcing indirectly means running out of time or resource for the client. The process of software testing outsourcing involves keen observation of competitors to avoid letting them take away your clients. Sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) before you start.
I’ve mentioned the pros and cons of using an outsource QA team. How does a company decide whether this solution makes sense in their case? Here are some takeaways from our professional experience that may guide you as you make your decision:
Sign it with your vendor so that any sensitive information you share with your outsourcing team will remain safe.
Highly qualified engagement manager
Choose a vendor with a highly qualified engagement manager who shares your values, who “speaks your language”, who has a reputation you can verify, who makes you feel comfortable.
Workflow path demo
Ask your vendor to provide you with a workflow path demo so that you can align your business processes and work together in a transparent environment.
2-3 weeks of free trial followed by an outsourcer report presenting its methodology and the trial test’s results
Choose a vendor who provides you a 2-3 week free trial followed by a report presenting its methodology and the trial test’s results. It’s the best way to create a relationship based on trust and confidence.
Choose a vendor who provides you with a transparent engagement procedure, a clear agreement and understandable “game rules” that are reflected in all the paperwork you sign.
Take it step by step and automate it
The outsource QA team can be involved in the test automation of single software parts or the whole product. Remember that test automation significantly expands the possibilities in product quality improvement and reduces costs related to continuous software maintenance.
ITIL, PSM I
Elena is the President of Cyperᵀᴹ. In addition to her role at Cyperᵀᴹ, Elena is a lecturer at the University of the Third Age, where she lectures on the topics of “Economic War” and “Globalization”. Elena holds a University Degree in International Economics, a University Degree in Banking, and is pursuing an MBA for Executives at Sherbrooke University.