Building out an effective dev organization requires a strategic, yet flexible approach to budgeting. As your company grows, you may need to quickly ramp up resources, or ramp down certain teams and shift them over to newly prioritized areas of the roadmap.
This volatility can make planning the budget for any team within your organization challenging, but it is especially true for an outsourced team that must rapidly shift and shape to the changing needs of stakeholders, dev and QA managers, and the customer.
Let’s explore a few tips for ways you can plan your budget so that your QA outsourcing strategy is effective, flexible, and easier to execute.
Involve QA from the start of the project
If your teams use Agile processes, they already know that involving QA at the very first stage of the development process is integral to the fast delivery of a high-quality product. But looping in your team from the beginning — and at every step after that — is a great way to accurately estimate the full scope and cost of the project.
Focus resources on the highest priority tasks
Teams have different ways of labeling the priority of certain tasks. Whichever method your dev and QA teams use, ensure that you’re investing in QA for “must-haves” (a.k.a. mission-critical features or areas of the product) first, and “nice-to-haves” (a.k.a. everything else) second. However, don’t forget the lesser-priority tasks altogether; neglecting these may result in other unforeseen consequences in the customer’s experience.
Invest in the right testing at the right time
If you’re like most organizations, you allocate the QA budget at the start of development. This is a good practice, as it allows you to schedule the right types of testing at the right time. For example, you’ll want to begin automated testing services after the first stable build of the product has been delivered to QA. Similarly, performance and security testing should ramp up just prior to a release. Knowing what your exact testing requirements are, and how that testing fits into your release cycle, is important to maintaining a solid QA outsourcing budget.
Be prepared to ramp up and ramp down as needed
When priorities shift or teams rapidly grow, a ramp up of the QA budget usually occurs. To help ensure that budget is allocated correctly and teams stay flexible, follow these four tips below:
- Only ramp up once the project processes are defined and the product is stable enough for testing. Once processes like build deployment and sprint planning are in place, you can make the most of a complete QA team.
- When dev team grows, plan to ramp up QA. Hiring on more devs means higher output. In order to effectively test all this new code, you’ll need to scale your team along with dev. Learn more about the ideal QA to dev ratio.
- Plan for different types of testing near the end of a release cycle. Don’t just hire an automation team and call it a day. Expect to pay for other QA resources to perform regression, security, performance, and configuration testing.
- Make the move to automation wherever possible. You’ll save time, money, and team effort by automating all of the manual tests that can possibly be automated.
Identify your required configurations early on
Not all of the possible browser and device configurations out there can be tested in time for each new release — it’s just a fact of life. To save time, you’ll want to prioritize your configurations for your QA team so that they know what to focus on. You'll also avoid paying for configurations that none of your customers actually use to run your product.