If you use an outside firm for quality assurance, here's how to best reap the benefits.
Quality assurance (QA) testing guarantees the best user experience under safe conditions that protect users from hackers attempting to access their private information. As developers make changes on the back end of the software, QA testers ensure that the front-end experience is unaltered and functions properly.
Frequent QA testing is a practical solution for catching the small errors before they become major issues. Often, in-house staff may not have the time or resources necessary for comprehensive QA testing, leading many companies to outsource.
There are numerous benefits to outsourcing QA testing, including lower costs and an improved product on the market. But companies should outsource QA strategically to ensure the most favorable outcomes.
These five tips are essential to successful QA outsourcing.
1. Research extensively before selecting an outsourcing vendor.
The most common motivator for outsourcing is cost reduction, but you shouldn't select an outsourcing firm based solely on the lowest price. Be objective and compile a list of various vendors before making a final decision.
Consider the time zones and how the time differences may affect scheduling. You should also be mindful of challenges that may arise from language barriers. If these elements are too dissimilar, it will be difficult to communicate properly throughout the project, leading to frustration and delays.
How well does the outsourcing firm work with others? Do its team members have enough experience to meet the specific needs of your project and address any setbacks along the way? What barriers could prevent your outsourced team and staff from communicating effectively to get the job done accurately and on time? These are just a few of the questions and details you must consider as you decide the best outsourcer for QA testing.
Ask the top outsourcing candidates on your list for reviews and testimonials from former clients. Because the internet has added more transparency to a company's operations and work history, you should also search online for website descriptions and unbiased social media reviews for a deeper look into each company's strengths and weaknesses.
2. Have a comprehensive service-level agreement.
A service-level agreement should never be overlooked if you want your outsourcing partnership to work. An SLA not only protects both parties, but it also gives a detailed outline of project specifications and deadlines while addressing other issues that may arise during testing.
At every phase of testing, there should be specific rules and guidelines, because a general outline of your project may be too vague and can lead to miscommunication. The SLA is a legal point of reference for both companies and sets clear expectations, keeping everyone aware of what needs to be done at various testing phases. This makes the management process easier because everyone knows what is expected and can prepare.
3. Motivate outsourced teams and in-house staff.
Maintaining a high level of team morale is essential to the process of successful QA testing. Both outsourced testers and internal teams must feel valued and respected, because this will motivate them to do their best work. Appreciation for team members can be shown in a variety of ways, including the following:
Providing up-to-date tools and information to help everyone work efficiently
Listening to employee input and taking action to meet their needs
Making time to let everyone know what a great job they're doing
4. Keep outsourced testers focused on QA.
Outsourced employees who are testing for quality should only be contracted for tasks related to quality assurance. Having the outsourcing team work on building code can be counterproductive if they also have to test the code. Biased testing is more likely to happen because developers will naturally be more hesitant to spotlight their own inconsistencies.
If a neutral party is outsourced for QA testing, their testing methods will follow the necessary protocols that ensure quality. When QA testers are thorough and report all bugs and faulty code, small issues can be rectified immediately before they become costly mistakes.
5. Communicate effectively.
Because outsourced teams commonly work in another country, the distance can create feelings of isolation and exclusion. Make your outsourced QA testers feel right at home by providing them with multiple communication platforms to stay connected with internal teams. This can be done via Skype, WhatsApp, Slack, or other messaging and video services that operate in real time.
Through frequent communication in a friendly and collaborative environment, outsourced testing teams will be far less hesitant to ask for help when needed. IT managers can further benefit from dedicating time blocks to creative conversations, feedback, and questions amongst all staff to gain more perspective on the employee experience and address issues that are lowering productivity.
By investing in QA outsourcing, IT managers are protecting users and the company's reputation, because their software is less likely to malfunction or pose a security threat to users. Hiring an outsourcing firm to provide QA testers is a cost-effective way to bring in a group of experts focused on testing with accuracy without office politics and internal distractions, such as the daily tasks that in-house staff has to handle. If it's done correctly, the return on investment in QA outsourcing will be well worth it for your brand and customers.