Working With Outsourced Testing Services?

@simon_tomes shared a great question on Twitter recently:

I searched The Club for a discussion about this but all I could find was a discussion about Crowd Source Testing which is quite different.

What is your experience of working with outsourced testing/QA services? (You don’t have to name the company if you can’t/don’t want to)

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In my experience it can be good or bad. But, mostly bad.

There are many famous consulting/contracting companies which provide contractors for testing, for short term or long term. Often, the contracting company’s goal is not aligned with the client. There is a often a tendency to increase the head count and billable hours. This leads to more communications (since more people) & hence more chaos, and unnecessary fragmentation of work (need to keep the extras busy). If you have too many of these extras, then your under occupied, full time employees will start looking for new employers.

To make outsourced testing work, ensure that you have a competent, full-time, well-compensated & happy technical team. This team can clearly set the expectations of the contracted testers, guide them and check if the requirements have been met. They can ensure that the contractors do their job and do not deceive the company. Make sure that the team interviews the contractors because the hiring standards of the contracting company might not meet the client’s needs. Without such a team, the client could be in trouble.

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It’s been a while since I’ve done it, and I wasn’t overly impressed.

It may have been down to the vendor we went with, but we found that we had to explain in excruciating detail each step of the test cases for what was already a large regression test suite, only to find that they were ignoring pre-test configuration requirements or testing the wrong things meaning that frequently we had to redo a significant amount of the testing. Part of the problem was also that the vendor rotated test teams, meaning there was no product familiarity so we had to instruct each team effectively from scratch.

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There are a lot of companies and freelancers who provide qa testing services nowadays.
Outsourcing should only be utilized in a company does not have the capabilities or resources in-house to address testing needs.
Outsourcing can be given to organizations with expertise in many areas including testing software for the web, mobile, desktops, etc.
Testing companies can provide outsourcing services located in the home country of business or many other onshore or offshore sites.

Pros of Software Testing Outsourcing Offshore:

  1. Best choice for long-term projects
  2. Low costs
  3. Round-the-clock support
  4. Fast Scalability

One should hire someone who possesses at-least the below qualities:

  1. Consistency
  2. Willingness to learn
  3. Understand priorities
  4. Good at reporting
  5. Flexible to support whenever it’s required
  6. Team player
  7. Think and act as an end-user
  8. Experienced in the domain of your project.

I’ve done it with my last two roles and i think it is important to ensure that if you are outsourcing, that you or your company still have oversight and set standards. When I joined my current role, the outsourced partners had complete ownership of the strategy and ran the show effectively. Bringing that back in house has made a positive difference.

I still struggle with the imbalance and want more highly skilled personnel in house and use the outsourcing for flex resourcing when needing extra bodies in to complete test execution.

I think it can work well if the strategy and mindset is set by the company and good screening of outsourced personnel occurs to ensure you have the right kind of people. If these controls aren’t in place, it can be hard to get process and good quality output

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Have worked successfully with Pactera Pactera.

My main comment would be that it required multiple full-time “local” people, including myself, spending a lot of time managing the realtionship and prepring tests for them to run.

So it only really works if:

  • You have significant “local” resource for test analysis
  • The work isn’t or can’t be automated
  • There is suffciant scale so you can send over many 100’s of tests on a regular basis for them to run