OK, I get it. Everyone wants to get high quality at no cost. Right?
It is particularly in software that we see a clear trend towards outsourcing. This is nothing new.
Because of the increasing average salaries of developers and the difficulty in finding qualified engineers, many companies are welcoming the idea of outsourcing.
When it comes to testing, outsourcing might also look like an easy win. Promised high quality at no (internal) costs. Awesome.
But before you consider outsourcing for your company, I recommend that you ask yourself the following questions.
Is outsourcing more than just a trend?
Web applications and websites are increasingly being tested by external suppliers because more and more businesses strive to reduce internal costs. The main reason could be the increasing cost of employees. Take a look at the average salary of developers in the US and you know why.
How expensive are bugs?
One might argue that the areas of testing and tracking bugs have gained popularity in the last few years due to increasingly complex software. This is probably true. And the true cost of these bugs found in our web apps and websites is increasing.
Putting it bluntly:
Bugs are expensive.
$312 billion a year on a global scale for software bugs is quite a lot. This fact is accelerating the trend of outsourcing software testing.
Should I really outsource Website testing?
Considering the amount of time and money businesses need to spend on website testing, outsourcing is something that every web development team will need to consider at some point.
- Should you continue to do the testing work yourself?
- Should you hire someone to help you?
- Or should you outsource website testing?
Website testing & tracking bugs can easily become a full-time job while building and maintaining complex applications.
If you have a small team, you can’t always dedicate internal resources to your website testing efforts.
You probably end up ignoring testing and tracking bugs, or, if it is done, it’s done mediocrely.
So, how to solve that situation?
Does anyone on my team have the skills I need?
Tracking bugs and testing websites is not everyone’s business but ensuring the high quality of your website or application is something that everyone must be aware of.
Tracking bugs and testing websites is not easy.
In order to report and track down bugs, you need a wide variety of skills. I think it can be simplified a bit further. A great QA agent and bug reporter needs to be highly skilled in the following three areas:
- Communication skills: documenting, reproducing and fixing bugs are also mainly about the right amount of communication.
- Domain expertise
What’s the value of outsourcing?
When thinking about outsourcing the testing & bug tracking tasks, most companies seem to focus more on the expected benefits of outsourcing. There are also costs involved and this side of outsourcing often remains overlooked.
Especially the costs of outsourcing are often overlooked. Setting up outsourced testing will require a contract between your company and the supplier which takes over the testing efforts. Besides the costs of setting up a contract, you also have to consider setting up different processes, such as communication workflows.
Who should I involve in the process of outsourcing my website testing?
The short answer is: Everyone who might be affected by the outsourcing decision.
Developers, designers, project managers or external team members are the most important people affected by the decision. By keeping them closely involved in the decision-making process, the implementation stage can be done faster & easier.
How effective is outsourced bug tracking?
When outsourcing your website testing and bug tracking to an external vendor or supplier, you might find that the work, previously done in-house, suddenly takes longer to get done.
Assume the outsourcer will be half as effective in the first few months, and fully effective after a year
I found this quote quite helpful. Along with the great benefits of outsourced testing, there are always some (hidden) costs. As a team, you have built up certain skills and knowledge and these skills have been built up for a couple of years or even longer. When outsourcing your website testing, it must be clear that external QA agents or contractors cannot take over your entire skill set from day one.
What will the website testing workflow look like?
When thinking about outsourcing all your website testing and bug tracking efforts, you should have a clear understanding of your requirements and the workflows you want to outsource.
Make sure to check out our latest post on how to set up your bug tracking workflow.
How will you measure the success of new process?
When it comes to monitoring the website testing efforts which you have outsourced, measuring success is important.
You need to have reasonable guidelines which define a successful process beforehand.
How you measure the expected success is a great question and is not one which can be answered easily. Here’s a list of questions to ask, either yourself or your team, in order to measure your outsourced website testing efforts:
- What’s the main goal of your website testing efforts?
- On how many browsers must the site / application be tested?
- On how many devices must the site / application be tested?
- On how many operating systems must the site / application be tested?
- What are your requirements and performance criteria?
As you can see from the questions above, it’s all about defining your goal and requirements. By comparing those requirements with the actual testing outcome, you are able to measure the success of your outsourced testing.
To give you a feeling of which facts & figures to watch out for when dealing with outsourced testing, I recommend the following criteria:
- Total number of created bug reports
- Total number of reproduced bugs (some bugs might simply be not reproducible)
- Number of testing hours spent on each browser / device / operating system
- Total number of fixed bugs (fixing bugs might not be part of the outsourced testing, though it’s a KPI to consider since your developers rely on great bug reports. The better the bug report is, the more bugs can be reproduced + fixed)
Wrapping it up.
Testing websites and tracking down bugs is an effective, and important method when building new websites or applications.
Its importance continues to grow every year since new devices and browsers are making it harder and harder to ensure a bug-free website or application on every device.
Outsourcing your website testing & bug tracking sounds like an easy win. In some cases, it truly is. But there are a lot of things to consider which you’re probably not aware of in the beginning.
The 9 questions, of which I’ve gone into detail here, will ensure that you know whether or not you should outsource your testing efforts.
Further recommended readings:
- Fundamentals on setting up your bug reporting workflow
- How to approach mobile website testing?
- When bad bug reports happen to good people
- The 4 W’s of Bug Reporting
What’s your experience with outsourced testing & bug tracking?