Outsourced Software Testing in An Agile Project – Is It Real?
The answer is yes. Now that that mystery is solved, check out how companies use it and the challenges they face.
Join the DZone community and get the full member experience.Join For Free
The volume of the IT outsourcing market is constantly growing. More and more companies the world over opt for outsourcing some of their functions, including software testing.
And this is understandable: when using outsourcing, there are no taxes related to salary, there are no sick leaves and vacations, there is no need to waste time searching and onboarding an employee in the work process, organizing a workplace. And all disputes are easily resolved by introducing amendments to the agreement.
According to the study conducted by the consulting company Capgemini, outsourcing of software testing works reduces testing costs by 25%. The most optimistic managers believe in 45%.
At the same time, many companies are still hesitating about buying a team that is located in another part of the world. Especially when it comes to executing a project using the Agile methodology that implies constant changes. Are there any grounds for such concerns? Let's see the matter.
What Should Be Considered When Hiring an Outsourcing Software Testing Team?
Most potential customers are concerned about the time difference, cultural characteristics, and compatibility of the team with the company's employees, as well as the ability of the team to deal with the challenges that will arise out of the Agile principles, for example, changing software requirements. And if the first three concerns are easily resolved at the discussion stage, the changes in the requirements are not so easy to manage.
Changes in Requirements May Increase Testing Costs
This fear is justified. First, changes in requirements will arise the need to reformulate a test plan and change test cases. And this will ask for extra time and budget resources.
Secondly, even minor changes in functionality require a large amount of regression testing to be run. Moreover, there is a risk that testers will create a huge set of test cases that will be in unclear dependencies with the client’s requests, other tasks, and pieces of functionality.
These difficulties can be overcome by hiring a competent testing team with experience in Agile. This will help reduce the cost of implementing changes to your Agile project. Let's see how.
On the Agile project, a team of testers gets down to work at the stage of analyzing software requirements. This is really important since the cost of fixing a bug at the requirements stage will cost you $1 (retype and reprint the text), while the elimination of the same defect after releasing the product can cost thousand times more.
Large regression testing is also not a problem for professional QA engineers who know how to apply a Risk-Based Testing approach. This approach allows you to highlight areas of software solutions that are likely to be affected when new functionality is introduced. Accordingly, these areas will be tested first. Risk-Based Testing allows you to reduce the volume of testing due to the prioritization of test scenarios.
And What About Test Cases Dependencies?
An experienced team of testers uses best practices and special tools for organizing test cases. To streamline the work they will create a testing model to link test cases to customer’s requirements and user stories. This approach also allows project newcomers to quickly navigate the entire volume of test cases.
Synchronizing Development and Testing
Speeding up the process of bringing the product to the market requires synchronization of the work of developers and testers. But if your testing team is located somewhere far away in a different time zone, this task may seem to be impossible to fulfill.
This difficulty boils down to the fact that during the regression testing process a mass of defects is detected that are attributed to code changes. The reason is that test cases don’t correlate with a new code. At this point, the testing team begins to rewrite test cases aligning them with the new code. As a result, idle time increases, the moment the product enters the market moves away, the costs of development grow.
Do not forget that the key Agile component is open communication. Professional testers will not update test cases after regression testing, but rather will synchronize this activity with the developers changing the code. If QA and Dev work synchronously, the suite of test cases will be updated in a timely manner.
As you see, the truth is that it does not matter in which part of the world your testing service provider is located. The main thing is responsibility and readiness to adapt to the process.
It is impossible to bring down the success of the project to one simple formula. Changes in requirements will require additional efforts from both the customer and the service provider. Building successful collaboration within the framework of an Agile project will require high-quality communication and taking on certain obligations.
The service provider must promptly respond to changes in requirements using proven techniques and practices that, on the one hand, allow adjusting to changing requirements, and on the other hand, do not harm the project.
In addition, high-profile QA companies employ software testing pros who specialize in some particular business domain (Banking, Telco, Retail, etc.) and can be onboarded to the project to assume in the early stages of the project what areas of the product will be most prone to changes and therefore will cause most problems. Accordingly, testers will be able to direct their efforts to assuring the quality of these areas.
Expecting effective and open communication from testers, the customer should understand that the same is expected from his/her side. Understandable and timely notification of any ideas to the outsourcing team and the clear statement of tasks will save considerable communication time and speed up the project delivery.
Today, the software development process looks like a Formula 1 championship: teams try their best to bring the product to the market faster than their competitors. And all participants in the process should work smoothly to achieve this goal.
An outsourced software testing team can accelerate project success and reduce its cost. The main thing is to remember what Agile is about:
- Individuals and interactions are over processes and tools.
- Responding to change is over following a plan.
And all project activities should be built in accordance with these principles.
Opinions expressed by DZone contributors are their own.