As distributed teams become more and more common, it’s not unusual for development teams to be distributed, or for QA teams to be remote from the rest of the organization.
While there are many benefits to having a distributed team, from greater diversity to increased responsiveness to product needs, developing a productive, efficient distributed work culture remains a challenge for many teams. For remote QA teams, in particular, communication snafus and time delays can create major bottlenecks to deployment and exacerbate quality issues.
Here are three ways that fast moving teams can maximize the potential of their distributed or remote QA teams to ensure that distance doesn’t hold back productivity.
1. Automate Mission-Critical Communication
Communication is always a challenge for distributed teams, but it’s one of the most significant factors to its success. Miscommunication with the QA team can lead to bugs slipping through the cracks. “Shift left” and involve QA as early as possible in the development process to keep quality control on your team's mind and to streamline the process of writing test scripts.
Automating the dissemination of critical information wherever possible can help keep everyone on the same page, no matter where they are. Integrating your continuous integration notifications into Slack or Hipchat keeps everyone in the loop on the status of builds. You can also integrate notifications into your communication platform to let the team know when there’s a bug as soon as possible, or send those test results straight into bug tracking tools like JIRA. Either way, automating key notifications reduces the friction of having to manually let your remote colleagues know when they need to take action.
2. Use Time Differences to Your Advantage
A negative side effect of distributed teams is that time zone differences can slow down the testing feedback loop and prevent development from moving forward. Time differences can’t be ignored, but that doesn’t mean that they have to be a disadvantage.
Fast-moving teams use this time difference to their advantage, rather than letting it slow them down. As an example, a team with developers in North America and QA in Asia can send new code to the QA team each evening and get their test results back in the morning. By building the time difference into your development process, you can essentially create a 24-hour development cycle to keep projects moving forward with minimal interruptions due to testing.
3. Use a Variety of QA Tools (Like Crowdsourcing!)
Remote QA teams often call up images of “button pushers” doing mindless repetitive tasks. But the modern remote QA team is much more than that, and building a distributed workforce gives teams access to highly skilled QA engineers and automation specialists from around the globe.
As with any QA team, remote QA teams can work most effectively when they have a variety of testing methods in their toolkit. While your QA team will probably do some manual testing, a crowdsourced testing platform like Rainforest will help them quickly execute repetitive tests so they can focus on higher ROI activities -- whether that’s exploratory testing or writing automation scripts. By ensuring that your team has the right tools to get the job done, you’ll empower them to be as fast and efficient as you need them to be.
To learn more about how one development team has leveraged crowdsourced testing to supercharge their remote QA team, read our case study of Jitjatjo.