A Guide to Outsourced Software Testing
The success of any software, including desktop and mobile apps, depends on the functionality and usability of its User Interface and Application Programming Interface (API). Software must be secure and perform well under a wide range of conditions, and this requires extensive testing.
To execute this, you have two options: to test in-house or to outsource your testing to a third party. You may be asking yourself, why should I outsource the testing of an app my company is developing? Well, it’s becoming more important than ever to outsource this element of software development to maintain the productivity and performance of your team.
To answer this question and point you in the right direction for product testing, we’ll discuss the following
Why is software testing being outsourced?
Before we go over why software testing is being outsourced, let’s explore what this means. It entails one company delegating the testing of an application or other piece of software to an independent test specialist, testing firm, or third party. The company responsible for development will not be involved in the testing, and the software testing party will not be involved in other aspects of software development.
Today, software testing is being outsourced because testers require the right combination of skills to execute the complex task of ensuring software has excellent usability, functionality, and security. They need to be up to date on the latest technologies and best practices.
This can be costly in terms of both time and resources for a company to carry out independently. Outsourced software testing has become an essential service. The market exceeded $40 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow over 6% from 2020 to 2026.
Let’s say your company is developing a customer relationship management (CRM) desktop application to be used internally. You have your IT team working tirelessly on software development, but they lack knowledge of specific testing strategies to ensure digital security and functionality. However, an outsourced testing service has all the tools and experience necessary to conduct thorough and effective software testing. This means you don’t have to make any investment in infrastructure or operations to roll out quality software.
Pros and cons of outsourcing software testing
The software development process involves a lot of moving parts. During each step, decisions must be made that’ll impact your software’s look, feel, and quality. Like any decision made during software development, there are pros and cons of outsourcing software testing.
Consider the following benefits and disadvantages of software testing outsourcing.
Cons of outsourcing software testing
1. Security concerns
How you ensure the security of customer and company data should be your priority. During the testing process, your software testing services will typically need sensitive customer and company data. You must ensure the security of this data from the data transfer until it comes back to you.
You must choose a service provider with the best security measures to ensure the confidentiality and privacy of company and customer information. At Global App Testing, we meet the highest worldwide security standards. We provide:
- Data hosting and encryption
- Single sign-on and authentication
- Web application and network firewalls
- Disaster recovery and business continuity
The next problem is that it’s hard to control the quality of testing of your outsourced services. For example, you have outsourced your QA software to a company. The pricing for services was suspiciously low, but your CEO wanted to push through product testing without making too much of a financial investment. After your rollout, your QA team finds that the software is buggy with multiple compatibility issues.
With the right outsourcing service, you’ll be provided with the best quality testing to ensure you end up with high software quality at competitive prices. Any problems that do arise will be sorted quickly before the final rollout.
3. Working across borders
When you work internally, you’ll almost always carry out onshore testing. However, with outsourcing companies, your test engineers might be located across the globe. Not only can this get tricky with different data privacy and protection laws, but different countries also have different standards when it comes to software QA. You may also find that working through different time zones causes lags in communication.
However, being allowed your choice of experts from around the world can be very beneficial. You can build a team to communicate effectively from wherever they’re located and ensure your product meets the standards of a global market.
If you’re a company out of the US, you may want to look for a company that can provide onshore services. On the other hand, if there are particular data security features you need to do business in Europe, you may want your application testing to be executed by someone with expertise in GDPR compliance.
Pros of outsourcing software testing
While you may think that outsourcing software testing is an unnecessary additional expense, it will save you time and money in the long run. Your development team just worked for weeks to create a piece of software. They may not have the expertise in QA testing. It’ll take your team extra time and resources to learn how to do it and then carry it out.
In the end, the cost savings will come in the form of:
- Human resources: You save on a skilled testing team.
- Project time: Experienced teams will be able to do more in a shorter amount of time.
- Data and hardware: You don’t need to invest in the data or hardware required to perform quality testing.
Ultimately, outsourcing might be your most efficient option. Even compared to automated testing, it can provide you with better testing methodologies and higher quality assurance. Test automation tools don’t come cheap and can miss certain flaws that a human tester would’ve caught.
Suppose you’re an e-commerce company that’s creating an integration for your mobile app. Your QA engineers don’t have the expertise in specific API testing processes. This can lead to inefficient workflows and an ineffective test plan. An outsourced team will know how to best go about mobile testing. They’ll also be able to perform quick regression testing after each change.
3. Test Variety
One of the most significant advantages of outsourcing software testing is the variety of tests that companies can easily perform on your new software. These tests can be completed by the company using manual testing and automation testing. The main difference between the two is that one is completed by humans and the other by using automation tools.
There are different types of testing that outsourced testers can complete, including:
- Localization testing: Localization testing ensures that your product will work well in global markets.
- Performance testing: Tests that your application performs under all testable circumstances, testing your software to its breaking point.
- Security testing: Makes certain that your software has the best protection against hackers and other types of data loss.
- Functional testing: This tests that your application enables a high-quality user experience and functions under pressure. Functional testing takes your software through a wide range of test cases to ensure your app performs under normal and extreme circumstances.
- Exploratory testing: An exploratory test gives the testing team the freedom to perform any test they deem necessary. They scour the app to uncover potential bugs.
4 reasons to outsource your software testing
Now that you know the pros and cons of outsourcing, we’ll go over some of the reasons you should outsource. From specialization to fresh perspectives, there are many reasons you need to switch to outsourced testing in your DevOps.
1. Your internal team lacks the skills and resources
Your team can’t be experts in everything. Especially for startups, it may be helpful to tap into the skills and resources of experienced QA testing services. Your outsourcing service provider will provide you with a team of experts to ensure that your software experiences a smooth launch. They know all the best practices, techniques, and testing methodologies to get the most out of the QA process.
Outsourced QA allows you to find the best organization or individual contractor for the job. For example, your development team made a great mobile banking app. However, they lack the processing power, software, hardware, and knowledge to test it effectively. The QA testing services you’ve found have done testing for some well-respected banking institutions. They can not only provide quality manual testing but have all the systems in place for selenium testing.
2. You need to hit a tight deadline
Imagine your DevOps team has just worked hard on a new CRM application for six weeks. They’re approaching the testing phase, and you want to release the app as quickly as possible. Your team is burnt out and lacks the skills and resources to test quickly. You could postpone the launch, but you have investors that are expecting the application soon.
To meet this deadline, you turn to an outsourced QA testing service. Their expertise and efficient workflows mean that they can provide quality testing in a short time frame that means you can meet even the tightest of deadlines. Using an outsourced testing service allows you to get fast results without compromising on quality.
3. You’ve hit a wall and need an outsider perspective
When you work on the same project for weeks, you can get too close to it to see its flaws. You know how it’s supposed to work and how users are supposed to interact with it. One of the best features of outsourcing is to get a fresh pair of eyes.
The testing team was not involved in the development process. This allows them to recognize gaps in functionality and useability. They also account for the aspect of unpredictability in user behavior to see if there are any bugs that the app may experience.
For example, you’re launching a mobile gaming app that’s set to be released on Android in a few weeks. Your internal QA team is confident that it should go through testing without any bugs in the software. However, your testing team finds a security bug that was only revealed through their security testing. GitLab, in their 2021 Global DevSecOps Survey, found that 68% of those surveyed believed that fewer than 50% of developers could spot vulnerable parts of their code.
4. It’s a short term project
Like we have already mentioned, QA outsourcing saves you money on gathering the equipment and expertise required for software testing. This becomes more cost-saving on short-term projects. You don’t want to create a whole team of QA testers for a project that won’t last long.
Let’s say your team is building an API so your CRM software can connect with the platform you use for customer service. This project will only last a couple of weeks before it should be good to launch. You want to make sure the software works, but you don’t currently have a team with expertise in software testing. This is a great chance to use outsourced software testing to ensure your customer and company data remains secure.
Best practices for outsourced software testing
When outsourcing, you want to ensure that your service provider implements the best practices, including the latest testing technology and agile methodologies. However, there are a lot of independent contractors and organizations that provide this service. So, how do you choose?
1. Check the credibility of your outsourced team
Just like you would never hire a random person from Craigslist to do your accounting, you should never hire a random company for software testing. Verify that the person or company you’re hiring is reputable and credible. Get references if necessary and check their track record on past projects for the quality of service and excellent outcomes.
Not only should you check their record for good outcomes, but you should also check whether they’re equipped with the expertise for your specific project. Typically, a reliable testing service will have test documentation and provide prospective clients with templates of their test artifacts.
The test documents, along with case studies and references, will allow you to choose between several reputable teams. For example, you’re trying to choose between two different software testing service providers for your new health app. They both have good reputations and excellent outcomes. However, only one has a history of testing well-respected health applications. You would obviously go with the provider with the most experience.
2. Understand their resources and limitations
Even if an outsourcing testing company has an excellent reputation, it’ll always have its limitations. Consider what you need in terms of testing before you partner with an external team. What testing tools do you prefer to use? What tools do they have in terms of automation and manual testing?
You wouldn’t expect a new QA testing service that might not have all the latest tools to complete a complex job that requires a wide range of automated and manual testing. Understanding all the resources at their disposal and their limitations will help you choose the best outsourcing service for your new software.
For example, you are developing a new mobile app game. It’s straightforward and utilizes code that’s trusted and already tested. You just want to test to ensure there are no problems with the alterations you’ve made. You decide to go with a trusted independent contractor. You know they have limitations, but they will do all the testing you need for a cost-effective rate.
3. Seek out specialized niches if need be
If you’re developing an app for a particular industry, seek out software testing services that have experience and expertise in testing those types of applications. Not all software is the same, and you need to seek out the companies that will make the best team for your objectives.
Risks, timelines, and technologies vary by industry. You want to hire a company that can test your application following specific guidelines and compliances. You have a lot of options when it comes to outsourced software testing. Take the time to choose a company that fits your niche.
Let’s say you’re creating a healthcare application for a hospital, so patients have easy access to their appointments and results. This requires the best in terms of security to protect customers in accordance with HIPAA laws. Choose a team that has worked with these types of apps before to ensure your app has good usability, functionality, and security.
4. Check how transparent and communicative their process is
The best companies to team up with are transparent and communicative throughout their interaction with you. When allowing a company access to your data, you want to feel secure in how they deal with their data. If you’re on a tight deadline, a communicative team will give you peace of mind with how testing is progressing.
For example, some testing (including those done with Global App Testing) gives you your results in real-time. This type of test management allows you control over the testing process and gives you raw data to enable effective communication with your team. You’ll be able to develop better solutions and more thorough testing with a team that’s open and regularly communicates with your developer.
5. Set strong KPIs before working with them
No matter how good a software testing company is, they can’t provide you with the best service if they don’t have measurable and attainable goals to work towards. Key Performance Indicators or KPIs are metrics that are tracked to measure the efficiency and effectiveness of the testing process.
If you need help setting the KPIs for your industry, do some research and talk to the testing team you plan on working with to see if you can come up with a plan together. Some KPIs you can measure for software testing are:
- Active Defects: This tracks how many defects are currently new, open, or fixed and waiting for re-test. For this KPI, you’ll set the number of acceptable defects based on previous projects and industry.
- Automated Tests: As a company, you should decide on a threshold of how many tests you would like automated. It’s suggested to start at 20% of tests and adjust as you have more experience knowing what works best for you.
- Tests Executed: This is a velocity KPI that monitors the different types of tests you complete, including manual and automated.
These tests will provide you with the raw data you need to decide on when you can safely and confidently launch a new product.
In today’s fast-paced software development market, outsourcing the testing process is a valuable resource. Testing service providers dedicate themselves to the latest in testing technology and tools to provide you with the best in usability, functionality, and performance.
If you’re considering outsourcing, do your research and ask questions. Speak to a QA specialist to see if you can use one of our over 50,000 professional testers to increase the performance of your team.