Outsourcing quality assurance testing provides many benefits to software companies working on a tight production schedule, but it's a good idea to have some knowledge before hiring a team to test and debug existing code. Any time a new step is added to the operation of a technology business, it requires careful planning to minimize disruption of the software development life cycle. Plus, the current production team must be included in the transition as openly as possible.
Software makers have been following agile and integrated development practices for the past decade or so. By outsourcing the debugging phase of the review process, operations managers can get an unbiased view of the efficiency and quality of the product. This strategy helps to free the in-house developers to focus on the current iteration of a program and perhaps on first-run unit testing. There are a few potential challenges, but with a little planning, implementing the change will improve operations considerably.
Here are 3 best practices that any company can use when outsourcing their quality assurance testing:
1. Clearly Define Your QA Process
To ensure that your end product is stable and meets you end requirements, it is very important to clearly define the process at the beginning of the project. Not only does this put a clear path of deliverables into place for the QA team to follow, but it will also define expectations and help the overall process to go much more smoothly.
An example of this methodology may include:
- A kick-off meeting that defines procedures and interviews key stakeholders in order to define responsibilities
- An identification phase that clearly illustrates items such as cost, potential high-risk areas, and the tools that will be used during the project
- The final recommendation phase, during which a final plan and any improvements identified to the overall QA process
2. Plan How to Coordinate Meetings
The biggest challenge of working with a team that's partially based offshore is scheduling meetings between different time zones. It's not effective to make one team suffer during every meeting while the other one is perceived to get special treatment, and it eventually causes resentment, irritation and sleep deprivation in one or the other team.
While emails, texts, and phone calls work well for communicating between meetings, every business must have face-to-face meetings with all personnel on staff to discuss current projects. Most companies that outsource QA testing utilize group video conferencing software to hold meetings, and the only problem to solve then is the time of the meeting. The best arrangement is to alternate times from the local time zone to the foreign time zone so that everyone is treated equally and feels positive about delivering excellent work.
3. Require Formal Approval from Internal and External Parties
Once your software has gone through the QA process, it is always a good idea to go through a series of steps to formally approve the project before it goes into production. Based on the final test plan results, the team may either come back and either recommend against releasing the software or give its stamp of approval for going live with the project.
By getting internal and external approvals, and running through a variety of test cases and can clearly define whether or not your project has passed or failed the inspection. Nobody likes surprises, and by having this system in place potential changes or fixes can be made and all parties involved have clear expectations about the final resolution.
By following these practices and remaining responsive and flexible, software companies can speed up their production schedules and improve the quality of the products they create by hiring an outside team for quality assurance. The transition can be made smoother by providing good documentation for the new team and by regularly meeting with them face to face.
If the in-house staff is included in the change from the beginning, the process should run smoothly and reach full production capacity quickly and without any major issues.