A Comprehensive Guide to Outsourced Software Testing
Why It’s So Great and How You Can Benefit From It.
Why It’s So Great and How You Can Benefit From It.
21 min read
Outsourced software testing has gained massive popularity recently. But why do companies actually outsource? The foremost reason is, obviously, the lack of own, in-house testing capabilities (complete or partial).
Let’s imagine a firm that is developing an application. Development is quite a costly process on its own, demanding setting up infrastructure, hiring developers, onboarding them (and maybe even additionally educating). But sooner or later, there will come a time when the code will need to be tested.
And now imagine that if the firm is planning to perform the testing in-house as well, it has to withstand the very same drudgery to run this process: set up test infrastructure, hire people (which can be a nightmare just on its own as the skillset required for testing can be very broad), onboard them, etc. It all involves considerable costs of both money and time.
At the same time every company, without a shadow of a doubt, wants to save where it’s possible without affecting the quality. In the case of setting up testing in-house, these cost-effective points are infrastructure costs and people’s salaries. This means that a firm would want to spend as little on the equipment as possible and hire as few testers as possible, squeezing all the required skills into this tiny batch of people. Needless to say, this takes time and a certain degree of luck to find such gemstones.
To make matters worse, consider the fact that there’s a global deficiency of IT specialists. Manpower group states that 69% of companies report talent shortages out of which IT and data professionals occupy the 4-th place, as seen in the infographic below. This translates to an even bigger difficulty in finding those top-notch testers, who can individually perform multiple testing variations.
All of this creates strong reasons for companies to look for alternative ways of carrying out testing, one of which is outsourcing qa.
What’s more, even if a firm already has an in-house QA department, the project’s requirements may exceed its capabilities. This is another great scenario for outsourcing as trying to carry out stuff augmentation, the firm may well consider this option to achieve the required level of competencies.
To back up our words with numbers: a global IT services market was valued at $1.2 trillion by 2022. Its largest segment is IT Outsourcing (ITO) with a global volume of $396.3 billion. It’s a 33%-share (courtesy of Statista).
On average, outsourcing accounted for 13.6% of the total IT budget in 2020/2021 which represented a healthy increase from the 2019’s 12.7% according to Computer Economics. IT outsourcing is set to grow further as 31% of UK clients plan to increase outsourcing volumes, as per PA consulting.
This proves that outsourced software testing is indeed the option more and more firms turn to. This is because done properly, it is faster, cheaper and more efficient than in-house testing. Struggle to believe? Here’s how it’s possible.
Let’s look at what the service can give your business.
1. A significant reduction of costs
Obviously, we haven’t talked about it so much before just for nothing. Outsourcing software testing can help you considerably reduce your testing spendings. This is because when you outsource, the teams’ sizes, tech stack and quotes are predefined, so there are no additional or fine print spendings. The process is more transparent and the rates are fixed. This way, you can better plan your budget.
As we’ve also mentioned above, with outsourcing, you are not bonded by the rates of in-house testers. You can parry this saying you can just hire those who demand less. Well, how much time does hiring take compared to scrolling through quotes?
You can outsource software testing to any provider, even across the street. But this procedure brings the most value and can have enormous benefits if the destination is abroad. And here’s why.
Everything, from testers’ rates to electricity bills is lower in the developing countries. This can save you a fortune in comparison to outsourcing qa services to Western Europe, for instance.
However, you shouldn’t be worried about the quality of the work. The professional level in East European countries is globally recognized as high, so you are not compromising your project’s grade for a lower price. Basically, you will get the same result (or even better - more on that below) for a lower price. Isn’t that a deal?
2. An outsider perspective
Even the best testers who constantly work on only one project, may become bonded like any other specialists who devote a lot of time to their creation. Because of this bond, they may miss some bugs that may negatively impact your future app’s productivity. On the other hand, bringing in someone “from aside” with a clear view can help sound testing and spot the bugs, unnoticed by an internal team.
What’s more, involving professionals from the side may also benefit your internal team. Your specialists may learn some new ways and practices of carrying out work. Since outsourced testers are not tied to a certain product, they can devote more time to master new testing techniques, languages and methodologies, while on a bench, for example. This way, they have a good chance of bringing something new to your team’s practice. It’s never too late to learn, as they say.
3. Flexible teams with always relevant stack and various tests available
Outsourced QA agencies specialize in providing testing services, so they always aim at perfecting what they do to ensure top-notch experience and win the competition. This is why with a high chance they will possess all the resources you might need, even the most exotic ones, which can be a nightmare to find for internal hiring.
Again, since QA agencies are seeking to provide excellent service all the time, they ensure having a hand on everything that’s happening in the testing world. For you this translates to confidence you always receive the best and latest tools, practices and skills.
One more advantage of outsourced teams is that they’re extremely flexible. Typically, an outsourced IT company’s staff represents a large number of specialists with various tech stacks. So, if your project suddenly demands more testers or new testing frameworks, new people can be added, or, vice versa, removed from a project in a blink of an eye. Of course, this will find a corresponding reflection in quotes. This means that you’ll only be paying for the work done at the moment - if someone drops out, you’ll stop paying for them. Unlike with an in-house team, where you will still need to pay salaries (even if they are lower) to the people who are on a bench. This again allows you to better plan your budget.
For all the above mentioned factors, outsourced QA agencies can provide all kinds of testing you can think of: manual, automation, security, load - the list goes on.
We’d like to call this section precisely “concerns”. We do not want to name it cons or problems for the listed below things that can cause harm only in case you stumble upon an improper contractor.
If you choose a reliable one - these things will turn into benefits, making the whole thing even better for you. In just a moment we will educate you in detail how to do it. For now, however, to present you the full picture of outsourced software testing, we will describe how these aspects can cause a slowdown.
This aspect is paramount. Ensuring security of project- and organization-critical data should be a top priority of every outsourcing vendor. The data must be accessed, processed and stored (if a provider stores it on site) with military-grade security. We don’t need to tell you what can happen if the data leaks somewhere beyond a perimeter.
This is why before signing any documents with a potential contractor apply as much effort as required to find out how your potential contractor will process your data. They should provide you with sufficient proof of how they ensure the security of their clients’ info.
For example at SENLA, we treat our Clients’ data with exceptional care. Mostly accessing their infrastructure remotely, we ensure several protection layers: creating dedicated accounts with access, using various authentication methods and VPNs.
What’s more, the access is granted only to project members. It means that other testing specialists, who are not involved, can not access the infrastructure. We adhere to this principle not only technically, but also in our interpersonal relations: it is prohibited to disclose any information that may compromise a project to the people who are not involved. This way we guarantee our client’s satisfaction in terms of their data security.
Being one of the undeniable benefits of outsourced software testing, this aspect can also be a downside. It can happen when a contractor chosen will appear inexperienced and thus will let you down. Not only will such outsourcing fail to deliver on the expectations, but it may also kill the possibility of outsourced testing for you per se. This moment once again illustrates how utterly important it is to choose a proper vendor with a proven track record.
Careful examination of a provider’s expertise can help in it. This includes cases, previous clients’ testimonials, experts CVs and anything else that’s relevant to you. Getting as much real, practical information as possible will help you separate the wheat from the chaff and select a genuinely reliable provider.
3. Cross-time work
Outsourcing QA far abroad can be a tough affair. An offshore team’s working time may significantly differ from that of yours which can create serious obstacles for communication and overall project’s productivity. So, it’s very important that your contractor could effectively manage this difference and escape bottlenecks. Otherwise you risk facing more problems than benefits.
So, don’t hesitate to ask about anything that worries you and inside-out negotiate every aspect you consider important. It will help to effectively manage cross-border work with such a big time difference.
At SENLA, for instance, we use both software tools and work practices to nudge our teams towards constant collaboration and communication with Clients’ experts. This approach allows us to eliminate any bottlenecks and manage any cross-time work, regardless of the gap, in the most efficient fashion possible. Below are some practices we employ to optimize work with our offshore Clients:
As you can see, avoiding these concerns and turning them into benefits is all about choosing the right partner. We will tell you how to do it in just a moment but prior to that, let’s talk about when you should do it.
Here are 4 best reasons to consider outsourced software testing:
1. A short-term project
The time to set up infrastructure and hire people may cover most of such project’s timeframe. In these circumstances, creating in-house testing capabilities does more harm than good. At the same time, outsourced testing providers offer very fast onboarding (SENLA experts, for instance, can start working in just 10 days after signing an agreement). The advantage seems clear.
2. A tight deadline
This correlates a bit with the previous point. If you face a burning deadline for the project, all you can think of is how to finish on time. You obviously want to focus on crucial tasks instead of administrative work. Choosing to outsource, you can immediately get top-tier experts ready for work.
3. A need for cost savings
If the project’s budget is not big, one of the greatest things to do without compromising quality is to outsource. The rates in top outsourcing destinations are much lower, and the professional level is globally recognized as high. It means that you can hire a senior tester abroad for the same price as a junior tester in your country. You can also carry out the augmentation of your existing staff with outsourced testers and save a lot. Moreover, involving different experts can give you another perspective and positively influence the whole project.
4. Creating a startup
Setting up an in-house QA department is quite a demanding affair for established businesses, but for a startup it is even harder. It is due to limited budget, resources and talent shortage. That’s why for startups, outsourced software testing brings the most value and has all chances to be the only option.
Making outsourced testing deliver the expected outcomes is all about choosing the right vendor. So, how exactly do you do it?
This section is very important as your choice will not only directly influence the quality of the work you will get. If this is your first time outsourcing software testing, your choice will affect the overall impression of this service. Don’t let someone ruin the experience for you - outsourced software testing is great! Let us prove it to you and choose a great vendor that will back it up with actions.
1. Thoroughly check a provider’s background
The providers generally list this information on their websites. You can also check profile directories or companies listings to find out more.
If you want to go even deeper and learn about the overall state of the market and who’s leading it, you can study the reports from trusted sources in the area. This will not only give you a broader look on outsourced software testing on the whole. It will also allow you legally find out whose services your competitors are using.
2. Verify the provider has sufficient resources
Study the following important moments in the provider’s portfolio:
3. Assess the contractor’s reliability and security standards
Don’t hesitate to ask absolutely everything that bothers you. Some of the aspects to pay attention to are:
4. Check how comfortable doing business with the provider is
While asking your prospective contractor all these questions pay attention to how they respond: how fast the answers are, how well your questions are covered, how many clarifying details they include. You want a provider that speaks your language, well understands how you do business (or can learn fast how to navigate in your business processes), knows how to prioritize and has transparent business and clear billing.
5. Assess the quality of the provider’s management
The goal of outsourcing is to save - effort, time and money. This is what people expect to get when choosing such kinds of services. If the process is not polished to perfection, however, the outcomes may be far away from this.
The cornerstone of this polishing is a contractor’s management. How well it functions determines how close the results will be to your expectations. So, make sure high-level process management is implemented into your prospective agency. Otherwise, conducting business with them may be tough.
One good indicator of such implementation is how easy it is to contact the responsible persons. You can assess this at the initial stage by how fast your inquiries are replied to. Speed is important. Imagine, you have a major alteration in requirements and need to report it as soon as possible. If you cannot reach anyone liable immediately - from that moment on the contractor’s teams will be doing wrong work that will require changes later. A bottleneck at its finest.
6. Finally, define the best terms for both parties and sign a competitive contract
Thoroughly and carefully negotiate all aspects of your mutual work: billing, liability, security. Bring to light everything that bothers you at this point and make sure that the answers perfectly satisfy you.
Again, discuss everything. Leaving anything out of the agenda hoping to avoid it or that it will dissolve on its own is detrimental. Such moments can severely harm the outcomes due to a missing reaction plan. Everything that’s related to work, even the smallest details, are to be in a contract. That’s the only way to ensure that both you and the provider are satisfied with the work being done.
A good practice is also to split one big SLA (service-level agreement) into smallers SLAs that cover dedicated services. This will help keep better control over the work.
Finally, upon discussing all the terms, sign a competitive contract. And welcome to the world of outsourced software testing!
You may find all the information above to be quite voluminous and seem difficult.
It’s totally fine - there’s always a fair amount of research before a major purchase, whatever it is that you're paying for.
But luckily there is an easier way! If you feel unwilling to deal with all the research yourself (at the end of the day, one of the outsourcing benefits - time saving - can seriously shrink during the first time, when you search for contractors) - that’s where we are to get your back! By turning to us you can take a shortcut and jumpstart your project almost right away!
Throughout our career that already counts 10 years today, we’ve accumulated a vast experience by providing a lot of services. Outsourced software testing has been one of the first among them. This means that this article is the very core of our knowledge and expertise.
We’ve accomplished dozens of projects that involved all kinds of testing coverage: from unit testing to an end-to-end one. It allowed us to accumulate decent experience in the area and position ourselves as market leaders in this field.
We provide a wide range of testing services that you might need, including manual and automation testing. Our specialists constantly perfect their skills and are always eager to learn. This is why we are sure that we’re always, at any point of time, giving out our best to Clients.
If outsourced software testing is what you are looking for - just fill in the form below, let’s make your first impression lifelong!
SENLA software developers are your full-time employees, and they’re as dedicated to your success as your in-house team.
You, your tech lead, or your project manager communicate with the dedicated development team directly. No middlemen, no miscommunication.
You pay your developers’ salaries and a flat monthly fee for our services.
Change team size with only one month’s notice. Request advanced IT security. Travel to our offices to work alongside your software developers or bring them over to your headquarters.
I'm only looking to find a team asap. Can you help?
Sure! We can deploy a team within 5-10 business days.
What if I want to scale a team to 15 people?
We have 650+ top-caliber experts on staff, so be sure you will have something to choose from. We also replace people in big teams in case of sick leaves or vacations to ensure delivery.
We want developers with Agile experience. Do you have them?
Of course! We have more than 5000 mandays of development under all actual project management methodologies.
Request an offer