QASource sponsors the Agilistry & QA Meetup Group. The goal of the group is to create a community where software engineers and developers can meet to learn new skills, build on current skill sets as well as network with other business professionals.
The Agile method is a development methodology that depends on fast iteration and close collaboration among dev and QA teams. Historically, people have viewed outsourced QA as incompatible with Agile, emphasizing the misconception that teams need to be under the same roof in order to effectively communicate and reach alignment on project requirements. This view is drawn straight from the Agile manifesto: “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is a face-to-face conversation.”
But with advances in technology come great shifts in thinking, and people are realizing that dev and QA need not be housed in the same building — much less the same country or continent.
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.
Today, it seems like every app connects and integrates with the next. We can check out via PayPal, login via Facebook, and share content across all of our social media platforms at once. This interconnectedness helps people get more done in less time, leads to rapid growth for relatively young product companies, and creates a supportive ecosystem of well-crafted, well-tested applications. And all of it thanks to the essential bond, the tie that binds: the API (application programming interface).
Today, product companies are striving to lead in four key areas: Innovation, Efficiency, Accuracy, and Speed. Before automation technology was as common as it is today, CTOs, product managers, and engineering leads were slowed down by repetitive manual tasks — becoming truly efficient and innovative was a distant goal, something they could only discuss in abstract terms. Automation has put more power in the hands of developers, QA engineers, and the people who manage them.
Market competition and an emphasis on great user experience drives innovation. And today, companies are innovating at breakneck speed. As product and service companies scale up their development teams to embark on new, attractive features and match the pace of their respective markets, they also scale up their QA teams to match the increased workload.
Or do they?
If there’s one thing startups know all too well, it’s that speed to market is crucial to a company’s success. However, customers today are increasingly unwilling to put up with faulty products and buggy apps, so developers cannot afford not to test. So how can an organization choose which to invest in, speed or quality?
For many U.S.-based software product companies, outsourcing is a cost-effective way to retain top talent at an affordable rate. The IT sector is booming in places like India, Mexico, and South America, and companies that aren’t quite ready to hire on an in-house QA team often meet their needs with an offshore provider. Inevitably, challenges arise. How do the teams stay in communication? How does the outsourced QA team learn the company, product, and working culture? In short, how do we make this arrangement work?