Putting Testers to the Test: Who to Trust

Mar 222016
Implementing the latest testing approaches using cutting-edge tools doesn’t guarantee that you won’t miss deadlines, overlook software issues, and launch a product riddled with user flaws. Why? Because great testing isn’t about “the how” but “the who”. We break down the 6 most common testing options so you can decide who to trust.

Testing: a crucial step in delivering quality software requiring time and expertise.

Done right, you launch an application that works as users expect, operates on a variety of operating systems, browsers and devices, responds under demanding and extreme workloads, and provides a flawless user experience. You might already know that cutting corners can cause major consequences, but have you considered that it’s not just about testing approaches but the people behind them that truly makes the difference?

Contractors

Although there are a lot of talented contractors for hire, it can be a steep time investment to get them on board. Let’s say you contact 3 consulting firms and each sends you 5 contractor resumes. Of those 15 resumes, there’s a strong chance that a percentage of those candidates don’t fit what you’re looking for, or they end up taking another job while you’re still deciding - starting the resume review and interview process over again.

Key Takeaway: The time searching for and interviewing candidates is usually underestimated by 97%. Don’t forget that on boarding also takes about 2 weeks.

Offshore

It’s true, offshore testing is a cheaper method than onshore testing. But, is it really worth the cost savings once you factor in increased communication issues, security risks, and an industry turnover rate of 35%? Also consider that it may take 2 offshore testers to do the work of one onshore tester due to the disparity of knowledge and language and communication barriers. Working in different time zones may give the illusion of round-the-clock project work, but early morning and late evening project conference calls can be challenging.

Key Takeaway: If cost is the only thing that you’re basing a decision on, than offshore is for you. Just don’t forget to consider the true cost of offshore testing and not just the hourly rate. If it’s a critical or extensive project, consider the inherent risks.

Business Users

Sure, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is part of the testing lifecycle, but it’s only a small sliver. Even if business users are familiar with their needs for the software, do they really have enough time away from their daily job responsibilities to perform extensive and thorough testing? Will they cover all possible business scenarios or just focus on those most frequently used? And are their tests documented and repeatable for future software releases?

Key Takeaway: Even if business users have time to test, they probably aren’t interested and definitely are not disciplined in testing.

Developers

There’s a fundamental difference between developers and testers. Developers love the idea of building and creating whereas testers have a mindset of finding problems and validating that the application works under many conditions. Best to leave people to do what they do best, especially when a developer’s time comes with a hefty price tag.

Key Takeaway: Developers may cost 3x more than manual UI testers.

On Staff Testers

It makes sense to use your own testing team if you have the expertise on staff. But beware! Statistics show that testers are not busy for almost 30% of the year – yet are paid regardless of their workload. If during peak times your staff is slammed with work, but sits idle when you hit a valley, perhaps it’s time to reconsider this option, too.

Key Takeaway: Testing naturally ebbs and flows. Do you mind paying for a team if they have nothing to test?

We’ve broken down almost all your testing options, but there’s one last solution to consider…

On Staff Testers

Ready to address your testing needs when you need it, onshore testing teams can quickly scale up to meet your demands. Here’s what to look for:

Right Personality. A savvy testing team has an inquisitive and ‘what if’ mentality and makes sure the application works as designed and meets all customers’ needs.

Right Tools. Testers need to have access to multiple mobile devices, have automated and manual testing practices, and offer standardized metrics and reporting. They must have business and technical knowledge.

Flexible. Testers can work remotely or onsite and should fit seamlessly into an agile or waterfall environment.

Consistent. Low turnover rates can mean that teams retain company-specific business and application knowledge from one project to the next.

One Last Takeaway: Who tests is a big deal. It’s the people who influence the success of your project, the quality of your software, and impact on your time and your pocketbook. It’s time to meet critical deadlines and secure positive reviews – even if your application never leaves your company’s firewall.