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Your Ultimate Guide to Outsourcing QA Testing Services

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written byEPAM Startups & SMBs

The Editorial Team of EPAM Startups & SMBs is an international collective of tech consultants, engineering managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on business technology and project success tips.

The Editorial Team of EPAM Startups & SMBs is an international collective of tech consultants, engineering managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on business technology and project success tips.

Clients expect fast turnaround and perfection in their products and services. This is especially true for software and technology companies, where any glitches or bugs can lead to significant financial losses and damage to reputation. To ensure the quality of their products, many companies turn to QA (quality assurance) testing services.

Quality assurance (QA) testing identifies and addresses potential issues before they reach your users, safeguarding your reputation and user satisfaction. However, maintaining an in-house QA team can be costly and resource-intensive.

Fortunately, there is a cost-effective alternative for businesses, namely software testing outsourcing. Outsourced software testing allows businesses to leverage specialized expertise without the overhead of in-house staff, tools, and infrastructure. This guide explores the benefits, processes, and best practices of outsourcing QA testing, helping you make informed decisions for your software projects.

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What is testing outsourcing?

Outsourcing software testing involves hiring external service providers to perform the software testing services for your products and services. These tasks can range from manual functional testing to more complex automated testing able to evaluate both performance and security requirements.

Testing outsourcing is a strategic approach adopted by many organizations to benefit from the expertise of specialized QA outsourcing companies. By entrusting external service providers with software testing tasks, businesses can tap into a pool of skilled professionals, diverse testing methodologies, and cutting-edge tools.

Pros and cons of outsourcing QA

Outsourcing QA testing can offer numerous advantages, but it's essential to be aware of potential drawbacks as well. Here are some of the most obvious pros and cons of utilizing a third-party software testing company.

Pros

  • Expert testing services: Outsourcing partners bring a wealth of experience, knowledge, and technical proficiency in various testing domains. They have the expertise to handle complex testing scenarios, perform comprehensive test coverage, and deliver high-quality results. In addition, QA outsourcing companies often have the latest tools and technologies available to them.
  • Efficient resource allocation: Outsourcing allows businesses to allocate their internal resources more effectively. By having access to dedicated software testing services, companies can improve their overall turnaround time, helping release products to the markets faster.
  • Cost optimization: Outsourcing testing services can lead to significant cost savings. It eliminates the need for hiring, training, and maintaining an in-house testing team. Organizations can avoid the costs associated with infrastructure, software licenses, and employee benefits. In addition, many external providers operate in regions with lower labor costs, allowing businesses to realize further cost savings.
  • Flexibility and scalability: Outsourcing provides businesses with the flexibility to scale their testing efforts based on project requirements. Instead of having a development team on standby when no products need testing, QA outsourcing lets you call on resources when you need them.
  • Risk mitigation: Outsourcing testing can help organizations mitigate risks associated with software failures and defects. Companies focused on performance testing have experience across many different projects. This expertise is easily applied towards compliance and regulatory adherence and security testing. By partnering with experienced providers, businesses can identify and address potential issues early on, reducing the likelihood of costly rework and reputational damage.
  • Data-driven insights: Outsourcing providers often supply detailed test reports, analytics, and insights. This data can be leveraged by organizations to make informed decisions, improve software quality, and enhance overall testing effectiveness.

Cons

  • Communication barriers: Working with an external team can sometimes lead to communication challenges, especially if there are language or cultural differences. Clear communication and regular updates are crucial to overcoming this barrier.
  • Time zone differences: While time zone differences can provide around-the-clock testing coverage, they can also pose challenges in coordinating meetings and real-time collaboration. Effective planning and scheduling can mitigate these issues.
  • Internal compliance: When dealing with a third party, it is critical that emphasis is placed on training and compliance to ensure that the third party aligns with your business. It's essential to establish clear expectations, provide detailed documentation, and regularly monitor the testing process.

Why should you outsource your testing needs?

QA and software testing offers numerous benefits that can help businesses improve their software quality while optimizing resources. Here are some compelling reasons to consider outsourcing your testing needs:

Focus on core business activities

Utilizing software testing companies lets your in-house team shift their attention away from testing and concentrate on their core business functions. This enables them to dedicate more time and resources to activities that are directly related to your company's growth and success, such as developing innovative products, creating effective marketing strategies, and providing exceptional customer support. By outsourcing QA, you can optimize the utilization of your internal team’s skills and expertise, enhancing overall productivity and efficiency.

Faster time-to-market

By entrusting your QA process testing needs to a dedicated team, you can significantly accelerate your product development process. QA outsourcing companies have the capacity and expertise to handle all aspects of testing, from regression testing to mobile testing and everything in between. This helps to ensure that each testing phase is as robust as possible, whether done through manual testing or automated tests, so that your product is thoroughly evaluated and meets the required standards. This streamlined approach allows you to bring your product to market more quickly, gaining a competitive advantage and capitalizing on market opportunities.

Access to advanced tools and technologies

QA outsourcing companies invest in acquiring and maintaining the latest testing tools and technologies. By partnering with such a company, you gain access to state-of-the-art testing infrastructure, including automated testing tools, performance testing tools, and security testing tools ensuring that the software testing process as a whole is as comprehensive as possible.

Agile development

Experienced QA professionals possess the skills and knowledge to identify potential issues and defects early in the development process. By involving QA outsourcing experts at an early stage, you can proactively address these issues, preventing costly post-release fixes and minimizing the impact on your product launch.

Software testing stages

Understanding the general process of software testing is essential for successful outsourcing. Here's an overview of the typical steps involved:

QA services outsourcing: testing stages

Requirements analysis

During the requirements analysis phase, the software testing services team reviews the project requirements to understand what needs to be tested. This step is critical because clear and comprehensive requirements form the foundation of effective testing. The team identifies key functionalities, performance criteria, and user expectations, ensuring all aspects of the software are covered.

Planning

The planning phase involves creating detailed test documentation that outlines the testing strategy, scope, objectives, resources, and schedule. This plan will describe the overall testing processes and serve as a roadmap. The test plan also includes risk assessment and mitigation strategies, ensuring potential issues are addressed proactively.

Creating test cases

Test cases are detailed, step-by-step instructions for testing specific functionalities of the software. These cases are designed to ensure all aspects of the application are tested thoroughly. The QA team writes test cases based on the requirements and uses the scenarios to cover all possible user interactions. Each test case includes input data, execution steps, and expected results, providing a clear guideline for testers.

Test environment setup

Setting up a test environment involves configuring hardware, software, and network conditions to mimic the production environment. Dedicated software testers ensure the test environment matches the end-user environment as closely as possible, including different operating systems, browsers, and devices. Proper environment setup helps in identifying issues that might occur in the production environment.

Test execution

During the test execution phase, the QA team performs the tests as outlined in the test plan. This includes usability testing based on the defined assessment criteria. This phase involves both manual and automated testing, depending on the project requirements. The team executes test cases, logs defects, and retests fixed issues. Test execution is iterative, with continuous feedback and adjustments to ensure comprehensive coverage and accuracy.

Defect tracking & fixing

Any defects or issues identified during testing are logged, tracked, and assigned to the development team for fixing. This phase includes re-testing fixed issues to ensure they are resolved appropriately. The QA team uses defect tracking tools to manage and prioritize issues, ensuring critical defects are addressed promptly. Regular status updates and defect reports keep all stakeholders informed about the testing progress and any outstanding issues.

Retesting

Retesting involves verifying that previously identified defects have been successfully fixed without introducing new issues. This step ensures the software's stability and reliability. The QA team retests the fixed defects using the same test cases to confirm the resolution. Retesting is essential to ensure that fixes do not impact other parts of the application.

Regression testing

Regression testing checks that recent changes or fixes have not adversely affected existing functionalities. This step is crucial to maintaining overall software quality. The QA team selects a subset of test cases that cover critical functionalities and frequently used features. Regression testing ensures that new code changes do not introduce unexpected issues, maintaining the integrity of the software.

Test closure

The test closure phase involves summarizing and analyzing the testing activities and results. A final report is prepared, documenting the overall quality of the software and any remaining issues. The QA team conducts a test closure meeting to review the test coverage, defect trends, and key findings. Lessons learned and recommendations for future projects are also documented, providing valuable insights for continuous improvement.

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Best practices for outsourced software testing

To maximize the benefits of outsourcing QA testing, it's essential to follow best practices. Here are some tips for successful outsourced software testing:

Set clear objectives:

  • Define testing goals, requirements, and success criteria in detail.
  • Ensure alignment with the outsourcing partner's objectives.
  • Create a comprehensive testing plan that outlines the scope, schedule, and deliverables.

Choose the right outsourcing model:

  • Consider factors such as cost, location, time zone, and cultural differences.
  • Onshore outsourcing involves domestic providers, while nearshore involves neighboring countries, and offshore involves more distant locations. Assess each model's advantages and disadvantages.
  • Interview the service provider and find out about their quality assurance approach. Ensure that your selected testing vendor can seamlessly work with your internal teams.

Establish effective communication:

  • Implement regular meetings, weekly status updates, and daily scrums.
  • Use collaborative tools like project management software, messaging platforms, and video conferencing.
  • Encourage open communication and prompt responses.

Implement continuous feedback:

  • Provide feedback on the service provider — discuss their performance, including strengths and areas for improvement.
  • Conduct regular code reviews, testing reviews, and performance evaluations.
  • Encourage the outsourcing team to provide feedback to your organization as well.

Monitor performance:

  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure the outsourcing team's performance.
  • Regularly review metrics such as test coverage, defect rates, and project timelines.
  • Conduct performance audits to assess the outsourcing team's compliance with SLAs and quality standards.

How to choose the right outsourcing company?

Choosing the right QA outsourcing company is crucial for the success of your project. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Technical expertise: Assess the company's technical expertise, industry experience, and familiarity with your specific testing requirements.
  • Client testimonials and case studies: Review past projects and client testimonials to gauge the company's track record and reliability.
  • Communication and collaboration: Evaluate the company's communication practices, including their approach to collaboration, reporting, and problem-solving.
  • Geographical location and time zone: Consider the geographical location and time zone differences to ensure smooth coordination and timely communication.
  • Security and confidentiality: Ensure the company has robust security measures in place to protect your intellectual property and sensitive data.

Nearshore vs. offshore software testing

When it comes to outsourcing QA testing, businesses often choose between nearshore and offshore options. Here’s a comparison to help you decide:

Nearshore software testing

Pros:

  • Proximity: Nearshore teams are located in nearby countries, often within the same region or time zone. This proximity provides several advantages:
    • Better cultural alignment: Teams from nearby countries tend to share similar cultural values, norms, and communication styles, which can facilitate smoother collaboration.
    • Reduced language barriers: When teams speak the same language or have a high level of proficiency in a common language, communication becomes more efficient and effective.
    • Time zone overlap: Nearshore teams are more likely to have overlapping business hours, making it easier to schedule meetings, calls, and other forms of real-time collaboration.
  • Communication: Easier communication and collaboration are key benefits of nearshore teams, thanks to fewer time zone differences. This can be particularly advantageous for teams that need to work closely on projects or tasks that require frequent communication and coordination.
    • Enhanced collaboration: The ability to communicate and collaborate in real-time allows teams to brainstorm, solve problems, and make decisions more efficiently.
    • Reduced misunderstandings: Fewer time zone differences minimize the risk of miscommunication and misunderstandings due to different interpretations of messages sent at different times of the day.
  • Travel convenience: Nearshore teams are more convenient to visit if needed, as travel time and costs are typically lower compared to offshore teams located in distant countries. This can be beneficial for:
    • On-site support: If necessary, team members can travel to the nearshore location to provide on-site support, training, or guidance to their counterparts.
    • Troubleshooting and problem-solving: In cases of complex issues or problems, face-to-face interactions can be more effective in resolving them promptly.

Cons:

  • Cost: Nearshore outsourcing can be more expensive than offshore options.

Offshore software testing

Pros:

  • Cost savings: Companies can significantly reduce their expenses associated with salaries, benefits, and other overhead costs by hiring offshore teams. This can lead to increased profitability and enhanced competitiveness in the global market.
  • Access to talent: Offshore teams offer access to a broader pool of specialized talent across different regions. By tapping into global resources, companies can find skilled professionals with niche expertise and experience that might be challenging to locate in their local markets. This expanded talent pool allows organizations to hire the best candidates for their projects, fostering innovation, and driving business growth.

Cons:

  • Communication challenges: Greater time zone differences can complicate communication and collaboration.
  • Cultural differences: Potential cultural differences may impact working relationships and project execution.

How can we help you?

At EPAM, we offer comprehensive outsourced QA testing services to help you achieve the highest quality for your software products, including software testing consulting and QA team augmentation. Our team of experienced QA professionals specializes in various testing methodologies and tools, ensuring thorough and efficient testing processes.

Why choose EPAM for your QA outsourcing needs?

  • Expertise: Our team of 9,000+ QA professionals globally has extensive experience in QA testing across various industries.
  • Advanced tools: We leverage the latest testing tools and technologies to deliver outstanding results thanks to our well-established in-house QA competency center.
  • Scalability: Our services are scalable to meet your project requirements, whether you need a dedicated QA team or support for specific testing tasks.
  • Quality assurance: We adhere to strict quality standards to ensure your software is thoroughly tested and meets all requirements.

Ready to outsource your QA testing? Contact us today for a consultation.

Conclusion

Outsourcing QA testing services can provide numerous benefits, including cost savings, access to expertise, and increased flexibility. By following best practices and choosing the right outsourcing partner, you can ensure your software is thoroughly tested and meets the highest quality standards. Whether you opt for nearshore or offshore outsourcing, the key is to establish clear objectives, maintain effective communication, and continuously monitor performance.

FAQ

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written byEPAM Startups & SMBs

The Editorial Team of EPAM Startups & SMBs is an international collective of tech consultants, engineering managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on business technology and project success tips.

The Editorial Team of EPAM Startups & SMBs is an international collective of tech consultants, engineering managers and communications professionals who create, review and share their insights on business technology and project success tips.

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