Finding the right offshore QA service provider for your software project can be a tedious process. However, it can be done through careful selection and proper planning. This article provides helpful tips on how to overcome the challenges of choosing the best remote QA outsourcing vendor to succeed in your current software projects.
#2 Select the most suitable offshore QA outsourcing service provider
Below are some salient points when searching for the right vendor.
Diverse experience and reliability. To identify a reliable vendor, it is highly recommended to verify the vendors’ references and milestones in their previous clients. A good service provider implements detailed test documentation or a basic test strategy and a plan, including test cases, scenarios, and reports). This enables you to easily access their test templates. Validating the vendor’s competence can be shown if your provider has QA software testing certificates (e.g. International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) or Quality Assurance Institute (QAI) of remote test team staff. Also, a trusted firm implements data security policies and standards in its workflow (e.g. HIPAA and PCI DSS), along with quality and testing standards such as ISO9001:2015 and ISO/IEC/IEEE 29119.
Adequate resources and wide range of services. Before selecting a vendor, consider that an offshore QA partner can provide at least five times more testers than what you require in your software project. Your software testing provider should be capable to conduct all testing processes such as automated or manual, desktop, mobile or web, including several testing like functional, usability, performance, compatibility, API, and security. Although these testing processes may not be needed at the moment, when scaling up is required in the future, your offshore QA vendor can easily ramp up and can ensure a wider testing coverage.
Self-management. The main concept behind QA outsourcing is to transfer the time-consuming and tedious testing process, management of QA issues, and their enhancements to a skilled external team and prioritize high-level quality management, code development, and software design and integration. In this case, your offshore QA vendor needs to have the capacity to self-manage its team to undertake an efficient QA process. This involves providing assistance to requirements specification development to ongoing testing in the entire application lifecycle. The vendor’s success stories and test artifacts templates are helpful guides to identify its QA outsourcing capacity. Also, a QA manager assigned to the vendor’s side is necessary for responding to all related inquiries and have a point person for arising issues.
#3 Assess and manage the service provider on a regular basis
Based on the current statistics, less than half (39%) of leading global IT firms believe that they are efficient in achieving all the benefits in the management of their outsourcing initiatives. Here are general tips to assist you in managing your selected service providers effectively.
Identify your vendor. The vital factor in vendor management is knowing what drives your service providers. Like any other industry players, a QA vendor has to overcome different pressure like operational expenses, talent acquisition setbacks, and related issues with other simultaneous assigned tasks. However, keep in mind that extensive demands for price cuts can lead to inadequate resource allocation for your project as a vendor may minimize the price by reducing their actual expenses and assigning the tasks to newbies or junior staff.
Another consideration is that you should not hesitate to share the confidential data with your software testing vendor (as cited in your NDA). To deliver high-quality software testing services, an offshore QA team should fully understand your software, business goals, technical specifications, and user expectations.
Conduct regular vendor assessment. Evaluating your QA outsourcing vendor frequently will ensure that your software development company achieves what you should be getting. If the service quality provided by your vendor does not meet your expectations, you can right away look for another option or find other approaches to enhance your ongoing partnership.
When validating your testing vendor performance, this involves the most relevant tasks required and billing criteria. This provides you a general overview of how efficient your selected vendor works. Below is the sample checklist of the assessment criteria:
- Several missed bugs
- Quality of defective descriptions.
- Results between testing efforts and outcomes.
- How the test documentation is conducted.
- Resource capacity and availability.
- The efficiency of testing processes.
Your QA manager should expand this set of key performance indicators with more specific criteria related to your software testing tasks and potential pain points.
Manage your vendor efficiency. For your offshore QA vendor to deliver the required services at an optimum level or exceed the expectations, your dedicated QA manager needs to monitor their performance regularly. A QA manager is required to evaluate the testing documentation at least once every month. Also, the manager should ensure the test team gets constant feedback, identify hidden missteps and cost drivers, coordinate your business standards with the vendor’s work systems and spot the causes of potential QA process challenges.
In addressing your actual QA outsourcing issues, vendor management must consider frequent interaction between your QA staff and the vendor’s dedicated development manager. For instance, if there are many missed or unreported bugs, your QA staff should inform the vendor about these so they can provide relevant solutions to get rid of what is causing the problem. The general cause of missed bugs and unclear bug reports involves business and software requirement specifications that are not explained to the software testing team. To ensure the offshore QA company understands the designated software functions and business requirements, the QA manager should conduct ad-hoc interviews whether they know the full project details.
Consider employing a multivendor process. While assessing vendor performance, you can find various problems. At times, your vendor’s testing quality is substandard, they employ incompetent staff in their roster, use obsolete bug reporting tools or has no capacity to address your needs. Also, they may be using poor test documentation. Working with an incompetent service provider puts the entire project or parts of it at risk. Thus, it is very useful to apply a multivendor strategy. This approach takes several vendors and designating each team to a specific project or tasks. This eases vendor replacement, although this strategy is not considered a widely accepted lifesaver.
The multivendor strategy is applicable to a specific project and business scale. A project consists of at least 30 outsourced testers that are worth the time spent on the search and overseeing several vendors.
Keep in mind that a sole in-house QA manager cannot manage several vendors in his full capacity. The dedicated development personnel should be exposed to various plans, bugs, test strategies, reports, requirements, and different modified procedures. In this case, you require a number of in-house QA staff who can manage service providers individually and lead an in-house team to collaborate them and ensure all test teams are working closely to each other.