All QA engineers know that you cannot throw QA projects over the wall and expect them to come back, magically, done just as hoped. There has to be a level of integration, communication, and management when outsourcing QA to a QA partner even for the simplest tasks. Further, we have found that the most successful offshore model is a hybrid onsite offshore model. A US-based team lead or project manager interacts closely with the offshore QA lead and a dedicated QA team.
Our clients tell us they paid a lot of attention to company culture when they were comparing offshore QA companies. They were convinced, based on prior experience, that culture is the critical difference in companies that integrate successfully with the development team and consistently find critical bugs. No amount of tools, methodologies, nor bug reporting processes can overcome a weak company culture when outsourcing QA. Nor can these resources contribute as significantly as company culture to the motivation of the QA engineers doing the work.
Automation can save time and resources, plus increase test coverage. In the past, many organizations found it to be either too expensive or too difficult to implement automation. However, today, through the use of open source tools, shared information, and more experienced engineers, test automation projects are worth the time and effort. The benefits usually outweigh the costs, assuming the automation suite is maintainable and portable. Here’s my list of benefits for test automation.
A recent news story reported on an allegation that Silicon Valley’s biggest tech companies were conspiring to avoid hiring each other’s top talent. Apparently some companies may be willing to risk anti-trust lawsuits from the Department of Justice in an attempt to retain key employees. The need to retain your best people is as important in QA as with any other tech function, and can greatly impact the quality, effectiveness and speed of software quality assurance efforts.
Innately, with a long-term business relationship, your QA team should become more efficient in testing just by the mere experience with your product and team. Over time, the testers get more comfortable with your product features. You and your testers learn the best modes of communication. Your experience enables you to focus on the most efficient processes for receiving and fixing bugs. Like any team, outsourced or in-house, management, development, and QA together build an efficient product development process through experience and adaptability. But that is not all you should expect.
Maintainable, portable, and extensible automation solutions are often difficult to achieve. There is nothing more frustrating than funding a test automation project that results in endless time and resources to maintain it, or worse, funding a test automation project that has to be re-built after 6 months. Many test automation projects fail because the objectives were not identified early on or the scripting strategy excluded considerations of long term maintenance.