Think of QA onboarding like adding a new employee to your team. The sooner they can learn about your company - from your product and work culture to existing processes and project requirements - the sooner they can provide the deliverables you need.
Fortunately, many QA vendors have been in the industry for decades and can get up to speed quickly. That being said, there are specific onboarding procedures expected from you so that your offshore QA testing team can start testing sooner and produce expected testing results faster.
So, what are the best tips on how to onboard new employees successfully when those employees work offshore as your QA partner?
It all comes down to providing structure, be it for QA requirements, communication, workflow and documentation. We recommend following these onboarding tips as you add your QA partner to your team.
1. Create Clear QA Requirements
QA outsourcing is an opportunity for you to create flexible, custom QA processes that adjust to your technical and business requirements. A successful onboarding process includes providing a test strategy that outlines what your offshore QA team must know throughout the duration of your project, from timelines and technology requirements to desired test results.
Defining your needs helps your outsourced QA testing team create measurable deliverables. Creating this QA onboarding document also lets you familiarize yourself with each phase, including the type of testing being performed and the engineer(s) involved.
Consider these QA onboarding tips when creating QA requirements:
- Be Available: Make sure your outsourced QA team can reach you, especially during the early phases of the project. That way, they can easily ask you any clarifying questions regarding your requirements, and you can offer solutions for common QA pain points throughout the testing process.
- Be Specific: Spell out which types of testing are required and your technical environment available for testing, including environments, languages, tools and platforms.
- Be Proactive: Your QA requirements should include a detailed checklist for pre-deployment, deployment and post-deployment. Further streamline your QA process by also including an action plan for troubleshooting scenarios, from environment failures to rollback plans.
2. Implement Strong Communication Protocols
We can all agree that the definition of velocity is the combined measure of client profit and offshore QA team productivity. The secret to increasing velocity with an offshore QA partner is having solid communication protocols and processes in place.
When QA outsourcing, you and your partner should define all communication protocols during the onboarding process and review what each party should expect in terms of QA onboarding documents and outsourced QA testing reports. Communicating effectively as a QA manager means having your team know exactly how to communicate their findings and solutions to you - a win-win for everyone.
Consider these QA onboarding tips when implementing communication protocols:
- Create a Communication Schedule: Determine how often your teams meet for status updates (daily, weekly or bi-weekly) and how meetings are to be conducted (phone conferencing, video conferencing and/or email).
- Open All Lines of Communication: Make sure your team and QA partner have multiple ways to communicate. Successful teams incorporate video/phone conferencing platforms and instant chat messaging in addition to their desk phone lines and work emails.
- Define Roles & Responsibilities: Confirm that lead roles within the QA process have been assigned, including Test Analyst, Test Architect, Test Automation Engineer and QA Team Lead. Doing so establishes project expectations and encourages full team ownership of QA results.
3. Approach Offshore Teams Like They’re Onsite
Client satisfaction is the primary goal of any offshore QA team. However, keeping in contact can be difficult when the client resides in one time zone and the QA outsourcing team resides in another. An “out of sight, out of mind” attitude can quickly develop when your onsite team doesn’t actively engage with your outsourced QA testing team.
To prevent this mindset, a successful onboarding process makes sure an offshore QA vendor is treated like an onsite team member. Before onboarding, ensure that your QA partner can guarantee weekly, monthly and quarterly meetings for checking up on project status and discussing any new project requirements. During these meetings, address any areas that could be improved - your insights are passed directly to the QA engineers overseeing your project.
Consider these QA onboarding tips and best practices for successful offshore agile QA:
- Display a Time Zone Visual: Showcase a QA onboarding document at the office that clearly illustrates what time it is for your offshore team during all hours of your workday. This can make it easier for your team to understand when to schedule meetings and communicate with offshore QA leads.
- Communicate Time Zone Difference to Management: On paper, your leadership understands that your QA partner resides in a different time zone. However, they can easily forget this key information during the project as deadlines approach. Make sure when delivering status reports and project updates to leadership to remind them of the time difference between both teams.
- Strategize Your Meetings: Since syncing time zones can be difficult, use your time wisely when gathered together. Have a plan on what needs to be discussed and/or resolved. Be mindful of everyone’s time during these meetings by inviting only those who are required to attend for any non-team meeting.
Considerations When Evaluating QA Vendors
Not at the QA onboarding phase of your project just yet? Your team can enjoy the benefits of outsourcing QA when resources are constrained more quickly by choosing the right QA services provider for the job.
As you continue to explore your offshore QA options, keep in mind that your potential provider should offer these key benefits during the QA process of your project:
- Offshore/onsite hybrid business model: A team lead or project manager either working in your office or residing in your country interacts closely with the offshore QA lead and dedicated QA team.
- Domain expertise: Confirm that the QA vendor has extensive experience working within your domain. Ask for case studies or references regarding previous projects within your domain.
- High engineer retention: How long do their QA engineers choose to work with their company? This can show that the vendor is invested in the careers of their engineers as well as emphasize the skillsets engineers have based on their company tenure.
- Latest testing infrastructure: Good infrastructure can decrease ramp-up time and determine project deadline. Make sure they have the testing infrastructure in place that supports your project needs.
- Quick ramp-up/down of team resources: Ensure that your vendor of choice can offer flexible scalability of resources, especially if project demands within your company can fluctuate with little notice.
- Ability to match dynamic demands of IT industry: Your vendor of choice should have experience with implementing and designing automation frameworks. Inquire about their internal training strategy, especially regarding the latest testing methodologies and industry tools.
Still choosing a provider for your QA onboarding process? Select QASource as your trusted QA services partner. Our team of testing experts offer diverse domain knowledge and software testing expertise as well as the resources required for seamless onboarding. Get in touch with a QASource expert today.