Best Practices in Software Testing Outsourcing From the Head of the XB Software QA department

When outsourcing software testing, lots of questions may arise regarding its necessity and benefits.

Besides, clients are always concerned about various nuances of QA outsourcing, such as how to select a QA company, how to work efficiently with the QA team.

There may be also issues related to workflows, transparency, reliability, and many more.

Therefore we decided to ask Alexander Raysky (the head of the QA department of XB Software that outsources software testing services) about the most important issues clients should pay attention to when they work with a QA company.

qa team lead

- What the client is usually concerned about when he decides to engage an outsourced QA?

- When the client applies for software development, the least thing he thinks about is testing. That’s because eventually he is guaranteed to get a functioning product. Another matter when the client requires outsourced testing and he looks for it intentionally. If that is the case, questions may differ greatly and they usually depend on the client’s level of preparation.

But the main issues are like in everything else – cost, quality and speed. And sometimes the speed and quality are not so much important to the client as the cost. Here you should take into account that the client concerns about his product most of all, while the benefits from spending money on testing is not always clear and obvious.

- Another question arises right away: why software testing is necessary? and what are the advantages of testing outsourcing?

- This type of question is usually asked during job interview. Sometimes you can hear interesting answers. Many of those are true, telling about software quality assurance, program product examination process and performance verification. In general, there’s a lot of opinions, but the main thing everyone agrees about is that the product has to be client-ready and be at its best.

That’s the responsibility of the true QA. As for advantages: here, as in the whole outsourcing, the benefits are in the saved costs, professionalism, and, be it as it may, in dispassionate attitude to the development process. As for the cost and professionalism, I think there’s no explanation needed. It’s better to pay once to professionals than build a QA team, hire personnel and train it. Working separately from the development team is quite important in the testing process. Practicing unbiased and prudent approach during software testing is the best decision.

- What can influence the choice of QA company?

- Someone needs beautiful reports and charts, someone wants to see transparent processes, and so on. Some clients prefer to get a ready result, spending no time for excessive reporting. But it may happend that the client is determined and there’s nothing to do but to spend hours for paper work.

- What are the most popular types of testing rendered by XB Software?

- Generally, functional testing of websites is very popular, from short-term to long-term projects. Applications that work in browsers, for example, apps to handle staff work or collect statistics. These are mainly long-term projects. For the projects which come and go, I can name mobile testing, load testing, and game app testing. Requests for testing with focus groups, seo testing, testing of prototypes and specifications, and others are more rare but nevertherless happen.

- What are the most frequent problems that arise while product testing?

- The most frequent problem is lack of time. As a rule, everything should have been ready yesterday and the release is scheduled for today. If that is the case, it is necessary to think out how to please everyone and do the job well. For example, add QAs to the project, work extra hours or divide release into several stages.

The second problem is sudden changes in the product and missing specifications, which affects, first of all, the end product. That happens because the result expected by the client may differ from ours. In such cases it is necessary to interact more closely with the customer and clarify details Or, you can on standards and personal experience.

- What claims the customer can have during acceptance of the project?

- It is actually hard to remember any serious claims to QA from the customer during project acceptance. It is more common that we are asked how to implement certain functionality that we suggest them to change. In most cases, we start to work together so closely that we become one team and take mutual responsibility for the project. So, all of us are interested in the result.

Clients are usually thankful to us for the implemented outsourced testing. This may sound like an advertisement but that happens de facto: the client stops making a difference between himself and us. Yeah, some claims can arrise during the testing process, but they are rather working points than claims, which are always discussed and solved.

- What should be done if the project has been already approved by the customer, and in a month some bug breaks everything? what should be done and who will pay for it?

- Fix it!!! Urgently fix it, and then go deep into the details what could break it. There’s plenty of such cases in QA life. As a rule, it is found out later that the environment was changed, for example hardware, operating system, browsers, and so on. In addition, our task is to test the product in the final environment. We are sure in the product quality and take responsibility for the result.

There was yet no case that we pushed a critical bug to production. Speaking about a package of services from our side that involves both web development and testing, we provide 6-12 months of technical support depending on the project. Of course, we can also remove essential bugs appearing later. After all, it is important for us that the app is of high quality.

- What does free testing include and why the customer should give it a try? Where is the catch?

- When we got an idea to start the service of free trial testing we tried not to put any limits for the client and gave him a possibility to choose the type of testing he needs from the range of services we provide. The idea was to provide our QA team with a variety of tasks from all areas of testing. We receive a request for free testing and estimate the volume of work that will be done depending on the load of QA department.

We try to provide the client with a ready result, bug and testing reports. There’s actually no catch. We just getting more and more experienced and eliminate idle time in work. Besides, it is an excellent way for the customer to see and evaluate the results of our work free of charge.

- How do the QA team and client’s developers work together? how to control their work?

- If we speak about the dedicated QA engineer who is assigned for the client’s team of developers, it’s quite easy. He is part of the team and contacts the developers and the client’s managers directly. As far as our outsourced QA are professionals who obtained wide and diverse experience while working over internal projects of the company, it is easy for them to cooperate together with the team of developers.

Taking into account that dedicated QAs work in the same department, they can always get advice. Beside, they attend lectures and seminars on a regular basis and put them into practice. We keep in touch both with the developers’ team and managers all along. We are always informed about any problems once they arise, that’s why we can settle them asap.

- How many testers are required to test a small project or a large project? How to define how many QA engineers you need?

It works quite the same as with the developers’ team. First of all, you have to find out how much time is necessary to test the project. Afterwards, depending on the timeframes, we define how many QAs to assing. It is true for one-time testing. When we dedicate a team of QA to work with developers, we follow the rule of one QA for 2-4 programmers. Still, if we have to perform additional load testing or automate test cases, we can assign one QA for two programmers.

Source: XB Software

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