Nine Points to Consider When Outsourcing Software Testing
More companies now prefer to outsource software testing to minimize project costs and gain competitive advantages. Here are nine important aspects you must pay attention to when outsourcing software testing:
You can choose between total and incremental outsourcing models. In total outsourcing, the service provider takes on the complete testing work for various projects with well-defined deliverables. Incremental outsourcing, on the other hand, divides the work into small sub-sections, or modules, making it more manageable and thus reducing the risks.
Service Level Agreements (SLAs)
Objective of an SLA is to provide a clear outline of the expectations to both the sides. The document must include provisions for variables like on-time delivery, volume of work, client satisfaction, effectiveness, sensitivity, and system downtime and availability, written in clear language. Tying SLAs with the contract on a risk/reward basis is also a good idea.
Intellectual Property Protection
Preserving Intellectual Property (IP) is a key consideration in the outsourcing of software testing. Service providers are under legal obligation to protect all personally identifiable information provided by the client. They need to take steps to ensure the staff does not duplicate, disclose, distribute, convey or make available any such information to third parties.
Signing of contract is followed by a period of mobilization that includes setting up communication protocol, sharing standard templates, defining work breakdown structure, and building a test strategy. Knowledge acquisition, arranging infrastructure and laying out processes is all part of mobilization.
Flexibility of Processes
QA and testing outsourcing agreements have to be flexible to help accommodate timescale fluctuations. Unexpected issues do crop up in software development and flexible processes help work in the changed scenario.
A long-term collaboration between the software development company and the outsourcing service provider would result in better quality. The relationship between the two parties would mature with time, showing a tangible improvement in the processes and work methods. In fact, good effects of long-term collaboration are not just limited to testing, but to other aspects of the end product as well.
Having the most appropriate resources on board is critical for the success of the collaborative engagement. The testing process will require the services of QA engineers, QA leads, technical experts and project managers. You need to talk to the service provider about the qualifications and experience level of their staff. They must also have programs to train employees on various testing methodologies and tools.
A comprehensive change and configuration management system is imperative in testing of software products. Frequently changing requirements are the norm in the industry and poor handling of these would significantly affect the time, quality and cost.
Before outsourcing, you need to take account of communication channels provided by the outsourcer. Efficiency of the process depends to a large extent on effective channels and points of contact open to clients.
Keeping attention to detail will help you zero in on the right service provider who addresses your questions and concerns regarding the outsourcing process.