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?
What happens when you can’t accurately measure the cost, effectiveness, and progress of a software testing project? A lot of less-than-ideal things. Projects can balloon in cost, creep in scope, fall in quality, or run on for what seems like forever. Without defined metrics attached to each QA project, they can get out of control -- and this scenario is a nightmare for both the product company and their team and the testing provider and their engineers.
Short answer: yes, definitely. The Agile method is quickly becoming the preferred way of working at today’s most successful product companies. Agile teams are, by their nature, cross-functional. They’re composed of technical team members, such as developers, as well as non-technical folks, such as business analysts. Together, these teams have the combined knowledge and skill required to produce an exceptional product. They share their achievements and progress with each other, anticipate any potential roadblocks, and plan accordingly to help deliver a high-quality product.
One of the key challenges of working with an outsourced QA partner is aligning a new, offshore team with your product, procedures, and larger business objectives. Without the proper transfer of knowledge from the customer to the offshore team, engineers will be testing blindly. This leads to process slow-downs, inflated project budgets, and even lost contracts.
Most successful product companies know by now that QA testing is a great investment. It ensures that the product is functionally sound, built to user expectations, and ready for adoption by a large, demanding market. But many companies still struggle with prioritization of the testing they actually need. This is particularly true of companies who have grown very quickly, and are pursuing a QA vendor to meet the expansion of their dev team.