Why Outsource Testing?
Not all companies have a dedicated testing or QA team, and quite often those that do also need to get additional help with testing. This can happen for a number of reasons, including when a project release deadline is imminent, and the volume of outstanding work... including testing... is threatening that deadline. And it can simply due to staff shortages.
So 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 elsewhere in the organisation, or if testing is outsourced.
* What follows is based on firsthand experience which I have encountered many times over...
Some of the benefits of outsourcing website testing
Some of the benefits of outsourcing your website testing include:
- Outsourcing to experienced website testers can bring a fresh pair of eyes to the project.
- They should already be familiar with how to use test scripts, and how to open bugs within whichever bug tracking tool is being used by the company they're testing for.
- They should be flexible enough to be able to cover the volume of testing required, including re-testing as necessary.
- They should be free from conflicts of interest and other commitments and responsibilities which is typical when borrowing internal resources from other departments.
Borrowing internal testing resources
Borrowing resources from elsewhere in the company can come with risks.
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. There will be no structure, and people might end up testing the same things because they're obvious and relatively easy, 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 you’ll never really be sure precisely what has and has not been tested. But then takes the hit when bugs go live and 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, covering the steps require to be taken, and the outcomes expected.
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 feel out of their depth, and do not feel comfortable or familiar enough with what they're testing, nor the testing and reporting process.
They’ll often have their own 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 aptitude, testing a website or new updates to a website can be tedious. It can be repetitive due to having to repeat tests, or carry out vary similar tests with only subtle differences between them.
Going step by step through a series of tests and variations of those tests can drive many people crazy, so it’s 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 so they can get back to their own work.
Well it looked okay to me, so something must have happened!
Subsequently giving the website, page, section or new feature the “thumbs up” comes with risk, and the excuse of
Well it looked okay to me is something heard far too often.
Making people accountable for the tests they’ve done by getting them to sign each one off as a
fail can certainly help, but unless you have structure, commitment and accountability from those who are testing, it’s likely that the path of least resistance will be followed, 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 the tracking tool the company uses. Often this will be Jira, Trello or similar.
If the additional resources you have brought in to help are not familiar with the tracking tool, naming conventions and processes used, this can become a barrier for some people actually reporting bugs.
Nobody wants to open a can of worms!
Nor, of course, will they want to open a can of worms, and so in order to avoid opening bugs, they might take the
Someone else is will spot this or
It's bound to have spotted it already approach, and leave it to chance that it will be picked up and reported by another team member.
I have seen this happen SO many times!
... 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 why bugs don’t get reported
Another barrier to bugs being reported by someone who has some reluctance about testing, 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!
To add to that, within some of these tracking tools it can be easy to see the presence and activity record of individuals, and on many occasions I have seen hours or even days pass since some people had either logged in, created bugs or made comments.
When to outsource your testing
You don’t need to outsource all of your testing. That could be an option, but you might just need additional testing resources due to an unexpected workload, or absence through illness or vacation, or a team member having left the company.
Need immediate testing resource?
Securing external testing resources with Targa is just an email or phone call away. Help could be immediate if required, or planned in advance for specific dates to align with your sprint or project plan. You might also prefer to have an arrangement on a retainer basis where help is at hand as soon and as often as you need it.
Retainer arrangements come with the advantage that familiarity can be developed between the testers and other team members, as well as the projects, environment, and processes the team follows.
Flexible testing resources
Sometimes the need requires someone to be available at short notice to step in and help for a few hours or a few days, or the testing could be pre-planned as part of a project release or sprint.
And even with pre-planning, outsourced testing resources usually need to be flexible in terms of how long their services are needed, and also at what hours of the day or even weekend they’ll be needed.
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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About Daron Harvey:
I'm the founder of Targa Web Solutions, specialising in website management, testing, auditing, troubleshooting & consultancy.
I began building websites way back in 1996, and I'm now in my 27th year of professional website production, testing and eCommerce best practices, including management of large multi-lingual multi $Billion global websites. Note: AI was neither needed or used to write the content on this page!