If you are looking for a Software Testing QA service provider to outsource any of your manual or automation testing work then this guide will help you to evaluate and select the best provider.
Also, check our list of top testing service provider companies below.
Almost every software development project includes software testing. Many companies outsource the software testing work. Outsourcing simply means going for work contract or abroad to another company. The trend of outsourcing testing services is very popular in the IT world.
This article is written to aid you in making the decision of whether to outsource the software testing work and choose the right company to get this service from.
What You Will Learn:
- Things to Consider When Evaluating Software Testing Companies/Service Providers
- When and Why Outsource Software Testing?
- Aspects to Consider Before Outsourcing Testing Services
- Choosing a Company for QA Outsourcing – Guidelines, Tips & Recommendations
- Assess the QA Testing company based on the following factors
- Finally, Our Recommendations
- Recommended Reading
Things to Consider When Evaluating Software Testing Companies/Service Providers
Categorize all the activities of the company into primary & secondary tasks. If software testing falls into the secondary task category, then, in that case, you should go with outsourcing the testing services.
Software testing is an indispensable phase of software development, but for most of the companies, it is not their core activity. Letting software testing go into specialized hands will allow your company to focus on the rest of the core missions.
Frequent requirement changes coupled with a rapid software development lifecycle intensifies the risk of releasing the wrong product in the market.
The cost of software quality assurance is almost equal to 50 percent of the total project cost. Creating and maintaining an internal QA team requires time and resources which are often costly. It is very difficult to build up an in-house specialized testing team.
When and Why Outsource Software Testing?
Outsourcing of the software testing allows companies to focus on their main functions and driving innovation. At the same time, the testing service providers work effectively & efficiently, ensuring better product quality and a positive business outcome. Outsourcing the services to a dedicated, experienced & specialized outsourced quality assurance personnel allows for best results.
When you contract with an independent team of software testing / QA professionals for performing the testing job, it saves the time and money of the organization regardless of the scope of project and frequency of testing needs. Your business money and hassle can be saved by outsourcing the QA needs to a professional QA team.
To sum up, here is why you should outsource:
- Reap cost benefits
- Reduced in-house efforts
- Independent QA
- Access to an efficient & highly proficient team
- Get a team whose primary focus is testing
- Increased application quality
- Quick deliverables/ Boosts up software testing efficiency
- Thoroughly-tested final products
Aspects to Consider Before Outsourcing Testing Services
Let’s discuss these aspects one by one:
#1) The Engagement Models
This is one of the crucial steps in outsourcing. You need to understand the business strategy and business model, as well as select the geographic location and decide on which type of outsourcing you are interested in. You can go with either incremental outsourcing or total outsourcing.
In incremental outsourcing, all the work is divided into smaller parts and each part is outsourced to service providers. You can choose multiple service providers in this case. In this model, the supplier has the lower risk and portfolio & product knowledge remains in-house. However, the client needs to keep a close eye on the outsource provider for the work to be done properly.
In total outsourcing, all the work is given to a single service provider. It is often cost-efficient for the client, as the supplier bears the risk here. Here, the supplier has the big picture of the portfolio. However, total outsourcing requires very careful and detailed planning.
#2) Team Location
One of the most important questions to answer is whether to choose an offshore testing company or a company in the same country?
Offshoring can deliver high-quality at a lower cost. However, contracting the work in a different country (i.e. offshoring) often possess a larger risk due to communication barriers, cultural differences, and language problem.
Due to time-zone differences, it might be difficult to reach out the vendor team. On the other hand, working with the team based in the same country removes all these cultural, time-zone and language barriers.
If you are choosing an offshore service partner, ensure that they are able to bypass these barriers.
You should go with the team which will ultimately add value to your product and saves the overall cost since this is the ultimate objective of outsourcing.
#3) Service Level Agreement (SLAs)
It is the contract signed between the service provider and the client that defines the output expected from the service provider. Defining SLAs upfront is very important to ensure 100% alignment of goals between the service provider and the client. SLAs should be related to the engagement model, KPIs, and the type of testing.
Some key go-to items to have in your SLA are:
- Reporting & project management timelines
- Product quality measures (Test case efficiency, defect reporting quality, traceability, test plan quality, etc.)
- Knowledge transfer
- Process Compliance
- Core business know-how
A Sample SLA Metrics Dashboard (source)
This phase primarily consists of three things
- Developing the contract
- Creating SLAs
- Formulating the SOW (statement of work)
In the mobilization phase, the organizations come together for the outsourcing to take place. The contract, statement of work, and service level agreements should be finalized and communicated to the chosen service provider. The legitimate interests of both vendors & clients should be protected. Moreover, building an effective long-term relationship between the involved parties is critical.
#5) Flexibility & Scalability
Outsourcing agreements demand a degree of flexibility to ensure that the timescale fluctuations are met. Flexibility should be decided by examining factors like robustness, modifiability, new capability, and ease of exit.
#6) Quality Improvement
One of the primary objectives of the client is to achieve a significant quality improvement through outsourcing. As the contract matures, the process and working methods should be tried to improve continually. The ultimate target should be an overall improvement of the end product.
#7) Change Management
There might be frequent requirement changes from the client end which impacts the testing cycle, if not handled properly. To overcome the additional cost, time and efforts of handling the requirement changes, service providers should maintain a strong change management system.
#8) Intellectual Property Protection
IPR protection is one of the vital aspects to consider while outsourcing the services. One of the biggest challenges is to protect the businesses’ intellectual property when it is outsourced. The Personally identifiable information (PII) provided by the client should be protected by the vendor and not to be used for any other purpose apart from the intended business.
Sometimes communication barriers between client & vendors create a roadblock in the work to be done. So, it is very important to establish a proper communication channel between the two parties. The list of POCs for each area of work should be exchanged between client & vendor.
The team of QA engineers, leads, managers & technical staff to which the vendor assigns the outsourced work should be competent & an expert in software testing & management skills. You need to ensure that your work is going into the right hands.
Many clients also conduct interviews at the vendor site to ensure the resources employed for the project are proficient enough to take up the project work.
Protecting data is very important from a business perspective. The outsourcing providers have information security policies & standards. Many vendors get their dedicated team to work in an ODC (Offshore Development Center) where only the team for a particular client project sites.
The entry of any external staff is restricted in ODCs. ODCs also restrict the use of mobile phones, cameras, storage devices like pen drives, etc.
Choosing a Company for QA Outsourcing – Guidelines, Tips & Recommendations
Choosing the right service provider for your software is a challenging task. You will ultimately end up in chaos if your software gets into the wrong hands for testing.
Below are the risks posed to your business if you choose a wrong vendor for your testing work:
- Hindrance in the flow of work due to time zone, cultural & language gap
- Depreciated quality
- Delivery delays
- Delayed support
- Security breaches
- Slipping control over operations
Outsourcing needs very careful considerations and thorough study before delegating the work to a vendor. Spend a good amount of time before making the final decision.
There are many software testing vendors in the market today who all claim to be the best in their place. But, you have to select the right one out of this pool of vendors.
Follow These Steps to Select the Best Company:
#1) Know what to outsource
First, know what you want to outsource. Jot down the scope of your work, areas of testing, type of testing required and the test coverage you are expecting from the vendor.
There are different types of testing services that you can outsource. It can be categorized into 4 broad types:
- Enterprise Application testing
- Web application testing
- Desktop application testing
- Mobile application testing
Also, clearly list the target devices and platforms over which you want the testing to be done.
#2) To Whom to Outsource?
Having decided that you need to outsource the testing services and once you are clear on your requirements, a big question arises that to whom to outsource?
For this, you need to find out what vendors in the market are capable of serving to your needs.
Don’t worry! We have made it easy for you. You can refer to our list of top 20 software testing service providers.
There are big corporate IT companies like IBM, Capgemini, Wipro, etc. that provide testing services. Apart from these, there are some companies that provide specialized QA testing services only. These are TestFort, QA Mentor, QASource, etc.
The article link provided above lists the best testing service providers along with a link to their official website. It also itemizes the top software testing companies specific to India. Now, that you have the list of software testing service providers handy with you, the next challenge in front of you is to choose the best service provider out of this list.
To start, get ideas from the companies service model & processes and then find out whether it will work with your in-house team or not? By doing so, you will come up with a smaller list of vendors out of the big pool.
Investigate these vendors with the help on the web, other companies using similar services, ex-employees, social media, etc. Cross-check the information provided by vendors about themselves. Do a thorough analysis of the company you are choosing for outsourcing.
Have your technical & managerial experts interact with these vendors to dig out more information about them. Get details about the team, their capabilities, and experience. It is essential for the testing process that the testing outsourcing company understands your products and your clients.
#5) Assess & Finally Decide!
Make a final assessment of the vendors and outsource the work to the one who ranks number one in your assessment.
Now, how do you perform an assessment on the service provider?
Assess the QA Testing company based on the following factors
#1) Specialization in software testing
The company should be specialized in software testing services & equipped with the best of breed specialized professionals.
Review the company’s portfolio in terms of its vision, mission, objectives, experience, customer focus, and existing clients. The company should be well established in the outsourcing world and have a good rapport in a market.
#3) Customer Relationship
Give preference to a partnership-oriented vendor rather than the one who just takes up a one-time project at any price. Partnership oriented vendors want to retain a long-term relationship with the client. They do their best in providing services and thus add value to the customer business.
#4) Flexibility & Scalability
The client needs to determine if the testing requirements change in future, that the provider is able to handle it smoothly. The vendor should be adept enough to deal with fluctuations in scales & timelines. The business model should be flexible and strong enough to incorporate the possibility of technology change, team resizing and pilot project.
There are various levels of security namely:
- Physical security
- Network Security
- Database security
- Adhoc security
- Intellectual property protection
- PII protection
- Inspect all aspects of security provided by the vendor and choose one who is offering a highly secured environment. Never compromise with the protection of data which is highly critical for your business.
Evaluate the company’s trustworthiness on their effective communication.
The testing service provider must establish smooth & regular communication with the client. This is very important for the project’s success. There should be dedicated POCs from the vendor who can communicate with & provide support to the client.
The vendor should have excellent & reliable communication arrangement including VoIP phones, high bandwidth internet, IMs, mobile phones, etc.
#7) Testing Infrastructure
Make sure the testing service provider has the required infrastructure to support your product. This includes certified test scenarios & procedures, all necessary software, hardware devices, testing tools, operating systems, platforms, backend database systems, etc.
#8) Vertical Expertise
Figure out the business domains, technologies & industries where the service provider is most proficient. Check if this proficiency aligns with your testing needs. The more a vendor understands your product and business, the better the testing results will be.
#9) Documentation Standards
Make sure that the vendor follows all the documentation standards that you need. The test cases, test plans, test scenarios, scripts, test reports and test results should be well documented and you should have easy access to the documents.
#10) Management Style
Make sure that the vendor’s managerial style is compatible with your company’s management processes and practice. It is very important that both of you speak the same managerial languages otherwise clashes can occur in working together.
#11) Work Guarantee
Does the vendor stand behind its work? A testing company that guarantees its work will show confidence in delivering its services and will always do its best to achieve a maximum level of customer satisfaction.
Evaluate how the company manages response times. You will love working with a vendor who is quick in responding to your queries, in the matter of assembling the team or delivering results.
#13) The True Cost of Working with Them
After assessing the company on all the above parameters, finally, determine the true cost of working with them. You should go with an outsourcing company that is providing you maximum return on investment in terms of high quality, on-time delivery, and overall value addition.
Software testing is needed in almost every software project. Generally, an organization whose primary tasks are other than software testing goes for outsourcing the testing services. The main intent of outsourcing software testing services is to achieve improved quality at a lower cost and at the same time let the organization focus on its core business areas.
There are a lot of vendors available in the market who specialize in providing software testing services. A careful & thoughtful consideration is required before you delegate the work to new hands. You need to match the vendor’s profile with your testing needs and make an assessment of the vendor based on certain criteria.
Finally, Our Recommendations
Based on all the points we discussed earlier, we have come up with the list of providers.
I hope this article will prove helpful for you in making the right selection of the software testing provider.