Why Quality Assurance (QA) outsourcing is good for business
The software testing services is expected to grow by more than USD 55 Billion between 2022-2026. With outsourced QA being expedited through teams distributed across geographies and locations, many aspects that were hitherto guaranteed through co-located teams have now come under a lot of pressure. Concerns range from constant communication and interworking to coverage across a wide range of testing types – unit testing, API testing, as well as validating experiences across a wide range of channels.
Additionally, it is essential to note that DevOps is the preferred methodology for software development and release, with collaborating teams oriented towards faster delivery cycles augmented by early feedback. And QA is regarded as a critical binding thread of DevOps practice, thereby ensuring a balanced approach in maintaining collaboration and communication between teams while ensuring that delivery cycles are up to speed and the quality of the delivered product meets customer expectations.
Best practices for ensuring the effectiveness of distributed QA teams
Focus on the right capability:
While organizations focus to a large extent on bringing capabilities across development, support, QA, operations, and product management in a scrum team, paramount from a quality perspective would be QA skills. The challenge is to find the right skill mix. For example, a good exploratory tester; and automation skills (not necessarily in the same person). In addition, specialist skills related to performance, security, and accessibility also need to be thought through. The key is to choose an optimum mix of specialists and generalists.
Aim to achieve the right platform/tool mix:
It is vital to maintain consistency across the tool stacks used for engagement. According to a 451 research survey, 39% of respondents juggle between 11 to 30 tools to keep an eye on their application infrastructure and cloud environment; 8% are found to use over 21 to 30 tools. Commonly referred to as tool sprawl, this makes it extremely difficult to collaborate in an often decentralized and distributed QA environment. It’s imperative to have a balanced approach toward the tool mix by influencing the team to adopt a common set of tools instead of making it mandatory.
Ensure a robust CI/CD process and environment:
A weak and insipid process may cause the development and operations team to run into problems while integrating new code. With several geographically distributed teams committing code consistently into the CI environment, shared dev/test/deploy environments constantly run into issues if sufficient thought process has not gone into identifying environment configurations. These can ultimately translate into failed tests and, thereby, failed delivery/deployment. A well-defined automated process ensures continuous deployment and monitoring throughout the lifecycle of an application, from integration and testing phases through to the release and support.
A good practice would be to adopt cloud-based infrastructure, reinforced by mechanisms for managing any escalations on deployment issues effectively and quickly. Issues like build failure or lack of infrastructure support can hamper the productivity of distributed teams. When strengthened by remote alerts, robust reporting capabilities for teams, and resilient communication infrastructure, accelerated development to deployment becomes a reality.
Follow good development practices:
Joint backlog grooming exercises with all stakeholders, regular updates on progress, code analysis, and effective build and deployment practices, as well as establishing a workflow for defect/issue management, are paramount in ensuring the effectiveness of distributed teams. Equally important is the need to manage risk early with ongoing impact analysis, code quality reviews, risk-based testing, and real-time risk assessments. In short, the adoption of risk and impact assessment mechanisms is vital.
Another critical area of focus is the need to ascertain robust metrics that help in the early identification of quality issues and ease the process of integration with the development cycle. Research conducted in 2020 by Gatepoint and Perfecto surveyed executives from over 100 leading digital enterprises in the United States on their testing habits, tools, and challenges. The survey results showed that 63 percent start testing only after a new build and code is developed. Just 40 percent test upon each code change or at the start of new software.
Devote special attention to automation testing:
Manual (or exploratory) testing allows you to ensure that product features are well tested, while automation of tests (or, as some say, checks) helps you improve coverage for repeatable tasks. Though planning for both during your early sprint planning meetings is essential, test automation services have become an integral testing component.
As per studies, in 2020, approximately 44 percent of IT companies have automated half of their testing. Businesses are continuously adopting test automation to fulfill the demand for quality at speed. Hence it is no surprise that according to Data Bridge Market research, the automation testing market will reach an estimated value of USD 19.9 billion by 2028 and grow at a CAGR of 14.89% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2028.
Outsourcing test automation is a sure-shot way of conducting testing and maintaining product quality. Keeping the rising demand in mind, let us look at a few benefits of outsourcing test automation services.
Early non-functional focus:
Organizations tend to overlook the importance of bringing in occasional validations of how the product fares around performance, security vulnerabilities, or even important regulations like accessibility until late in the day. As per the 2020 DevSecOps Community Survey, 55 percent of respondents deploy at least once per week, and 11 percent claim multiple daily deployments. But when it comes to security, 44 percent of the mature DevOps practices know it’s important but don’t have time to devote to it.
Security has a further impact on CI/CD tool stack deployment itself, as indicated by a 451 research in which more than 60% of respondents said a lack of automated, integrated security tools is a big challenge in implementing CI/CD tools effectively.
It is essential that any issue which is non-functional in nature be exposed and dealt with before it moves down the dev pipeline. Adoption of a non-functional focus depends to a large extent on the evolution of the product and the risk to the organization.
Benefits of outsourcing your QA
To make distributed QA teams successful, an organization must have the capability to focus in a balanced and consistent way across the length and breadth of the QA spectrum, from people and processes to technology stacks. However, the ability to make these practices work hinges on the diligence with which an organization institutionalizes these best practices as well as platforms and supplements it with an organizational culture that is open to change.
Trigent’s experienced and versatile Quality Assurance and Testing team is a major contributor to the successful launch, upgrade, and maintenance of quality software used by millions around the globe. Our experienced, continuous testing practices put process before convenience to delight stakeholders with an impressive industry rivaled Defect Escape Ratio or DER of 0.2.