Reasons to outsource website testing

Why should you outsource your website testing?

Why should you outsource website testing?

Staff shortages, illness, vacations and volume of outstanding work can all threaten project deadlines.

This is why even companies with dedicated testing or QA teams often need help with testing.

Not all companies have a dedicated testing or QA team, but those that do quite often need extra help.

Reasons to outsource website testing

Why outsource your testing?

Not all companies have dedicated testing or QA teams, and quite often those that do can also need additional help with testing.

This can happen for a number of reasons, including when a project release deadline is at risk due to staff shortages and the volume of work.

That work can include testing, but testing is often one of the corners cut when time or budget is tight. This introduces risk of failures, lost revenue, and additional time and cost to fix problems, which by the time they were discovered, had already gone live.

Therefore to avoid risking delays to the project, or the project going live without being thoroughly tested, extra help with testing is often needed.

That help can of course come from within the organisation, but there are pros and cons about whether internal resources are borrowed from other teams or departments, or if testing is outsourced.

Some of the benefits of outsourcing website testing

There are many benefits of outsourcing your website testing. Experienced outsourced testers:

  • can bring a fresh pair of eyes to the project.
  • can bring in a wider perspective due to prior experience gained whilst working on projects for other companies.
  • should already be familiar with how to use test scripts, and how to create bug reports in whichever tracking tool is being used by the company they're testing for.
  • should be flexible enough to be able to cover the type and volume of testing required, including any re-testing pre and post launch.
  • should be free from conflicts of interest and other commitments and responsibilities, which is typical when borrowing internal resources from other departments.

What are the pros and cons of outsourcing website testing?

Outsourcing website testing can have both advantages and disadvantages. Therefore the decision to outsource should be based on the specific needs and priorities of each organisation, and the type of projects which need to be tested.

Pros of Outsourcing Website Testing:

  • Cost savings

    Outsourcing can often be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house testing team. This is particularly beneficial for smaller companies or those with limited budgets, due to the potential for saving on hiring and training expenses, as well as reduced infrastructure costs.
  • Access to skilled professionals

    Outsourcing allows you to tap into the expertise of specialised testing professionals who may have experience with a wide range of technologies and testing tools. This can lead to higher-quality testing and more accurate results.
  • Focus on core business activities

    By outsourcing testing, your in-house team can focus on core business activities, such as development and innovation, while testing experts handle the quality assurance aspects.
  • Scalability

    Outsourcing provides scalability, allowing organisations to easily scale up or down based on project requirements without the need for hiring or laying off in-house staff.
  • Time saving

    Outsourcing testing can lead to faster testing cycles, as dedicated testing resources can focus solely on the testing process without being distracted by other development tasks.
  • Global perspectives

    Outsourced experts may bring a global perspective to testing, from best practices, testing and tracking methods, different user behaviors and expectations from diverse regions and countries.

Cons of Outsourcing Website Testing:

  • Cost Savings

    Outsourcing can often be more cost-effective than maintaining an in-house testing team. This is particularly beneficial for smaller companies or those with limited budgets, due to the potential for saving on hiring and training expenses, as well as reduced infrastructure costs.
  • Communication challenges

    Different time zones, language and cultural differences can potentially lead to communication challenges. Any resulting miscommunication may result in misunderstandings and incorrect interpretation about project requirements and goals
  • Quality control concerns

    Maintaining control over the quality of testing processes and results can be challenging when outsourcing. It requires careful selection of a reliable outsourcing partner and ongoing monitoring.
  • Security concerns

    There may be security concerns related to sharing sensitive information about the website with an external party. Ensuring data security and compliance with regulations is crucial.
  • Dependency on outsourced partner

    Relying on an external partner can lead to dependency issues. If the outsourcing partner faces challenges or goes out of business, it can impact the testing process and timelines.
  • Poor of understanding of business context

    Outsourced testers might not fully understand the business context. This could lead to potential issues in understanding user expectations and business requirements
  • Flexibility and adaptability

    Flexible and adaptable resources can be highly beneficial. However, some outsourced teams might struggle to adapt quickly to changes in project requirements. Lack of flexibility can be a challenge if the project undergoes frequent changes.
  • Cost control

    While outsourcing may seem cost-effective initially, it is wise to understand how costs can be impacted due to miscommunication, rework, or changes in project scope.

Borrowing internal testing resources

Borrowing resources from elsewhere in the company can make a lot of sense, but it can also come with risks which I have encountered... firsthand... many times over.

If people are simply asked to Take a quick look or Give it a quick once over and let us know if you find anything wrong the level of attention to detail will vary from person to person, and is likely to be quite low.

Without structure and organisation people might end up testing the same things. That is because some things are obvious and relatively easy to test, and they offer the path of least resistance.

As such, if a tester feels that their objective is to complete a purchase or make a reservation, they'll often take the same obvious steps each time, whilst avoiding other things they’re either not aware of, or which appear to be slightly more difficult to test.

Having no testing structure means gaps and uncertainty

At the end you’ll get people telling you that is looks okay, but without structure and organisation you’ll never really be sure precisely what has and has not been tested. But then who takes the responsibility when bugs go live? Who will be held to account when more work has to be done during the next release to fix those bugs which were not spotted?

This certainly highlights the need for detailed test plans and test scripts...

Test plans and scripts should cover the steps required to be taken, and describe the expected outcomes. If the steps for each test are followed and the expected outcome is not reached, it's a fail!

Lack of familiarity and conflict of interests

Whether a free-for-all approach is taken or rigid test scripts are used, sometimes people from elsewhere in the organisation can feel out of their depth. They do not feel comfortable or familiar enough with what they're testing, nor with the testing and reporting process.

They’ll often have other priorities in their own areas of work, and are therefore not exactly thrilled at the prospect of spending a few hours or a few days doing what feels to them like someone else’s work!

Testing can be tedious (but that's no excuse!)

Without the right attitude, testing a website or updates to a website can be tedious. It can be repetitive due to having to repeat tests multiple times, or carry out very similar tests with only subtle differences between them.

Going step by step through a series of tests can drive many people crazy. It's therefore no wonder that their end goal subconsciously changes from finding and reporting as many bugs as possible, to getting their part of the testing wrapped quickly and giving it the thumbs up so they can get back to their own work.

Make people accountable

Making people accountable for the tests they’ve done by getting them to sign each one off as a success or fail can certainly help. However, unless you have structure, commitment and accountability from those who are testing, it’s likely that the path of least resistance will be followed far more than necessary, and that means there will be gaps in the testing.

Bug finding, reporting and ownership

To add to the original task of testing, people also need to know how to report bugs or problems in a tracking tool. Often this will be Jira, Trello or similar.

If the additional resources you have brought in to help with testing are not familiar with the tracking tool, or do not understand the naming conventions and processes used, this can become a barrier for some people actually reporting bugs.

Well it looked okay to me, so something must have happened since!

Another thing I have witnessed many times is that to AVOID reporting bugs, some people take the approach that Someone else will spot this or It's bound to have been spotted and reported already, so they'll leave ignore it and move on.

I have seen this happen SO many times, and the likely consequence is that despite some bugs being found, they're NOT reported! They go live, and then we hear the excuse It looked okay to me, so something must have happened after I tested it!

Bug tracking...

... be familiar with the tracking tools and the naming conventions used when reporting bugs

Be familiar with the tracking tool and the naming conventions used when reporting bugs

Reasons to outsource website testing

More reasons why bugs don’t get reported

Besides the reasons already stated above, another reason that some people avoid reporting bugs is the fear that they'll have to re-test any bugs they report after they have been fixed.

So the more they find now, the more testing they’ll have to do in the future, and that might not be an incentive to test thoroughly and report on their findings.

You find it, you own it!

However, this fear of creating more work for themselves could be overcome if the steps to recreate the bug are recorded and described in sufficient detail. That should make it possible for not only the developers to recreate the problem before fixing it, but also for other testers to re-test after the bug has been fixed, so it can be signed off.

Does experience matter?

In some cases, yes... very much so. However, if the purpose of testing is to gauge how a typical customer responds when visiting your website, in many cases those customers are not experienced.

Even if there are no bugs or functional errors, if your website is confusing or not intuitive enough for a typical customer to do what they intend to do, they’ll leave and go elsewhere. That includes their experience on mobile devices, not just on desktop or tablet.

User Experience Testing

By finding out how your website or app works in real-world conditions, you should be able to confidently release them knowing that they will give users a positive experience.

User Experience Testing covers this kind of testing. It can range from a single person giving impartial feedback, but a far more effective way to test what users... your potential customers... think, is to use a group of people, who have been organised in a way which enables them to independently test and report on their experiences of using your website, section, individual page, feature or process.

User Experience Testing

US based company UserTesting comes highly recommended for user testing with mulitple participants. They operate globally, and provide a wealth of resources, tutorials, and information to get you set up.

Flexible testing resources

Sometimes testing requires someone to be available at short notice to step in and help for a few hours or a few days, or scheduled as part of a project release or sprint.

Even with pre-planning, outsourced testing resources might need to be flexible in terms of how long their services will be needed, and also at what hours of the day (taking into account international time zones).

This could also include weekends, especially when deadlines are tight, or you're releasing during unsociable off-peak hours.

This is where Targa can help...

Call and speak with me directly. I'm Daron Harvey and I have worked with companies around the world and in all time zones. I also understand the reasons for some testing to be carried out at unsociable hours due to releases being scheduled for off-peak times of the day or week. So if you're considering outsourcing your website testing, get in touch.

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Daron Harvey

I'm Daron Harvey, founder of Targa Web Solutions, specialising in AI chatbot implementation, website testing, auditing & consultancy. I am now in my 28th year of professional website production, testing and eCommerce best practices, and excited about the opportunities that AI chatbots and digital assistants can bring to ourselves, our customers, and our customer's customers.
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