There is no doubt that quality assurance should be an integral part of software development process. However, which option is best: to hire an in-house QA specialist or outsource it to a team of experts?
In this post, we will discuss the pros and cons of each approach. Hopefully, it will help you to choose the best QA strategy for your particular case.
When you outsource the QA of your project, you hire a third-party company to discover the flaws of the product for you. The external team will conduct an audit of your systems, evaluate their state, and fix bugs if necessary. More and more software developers choose this approach today. Here is why.
First of all, let us look at the undeniable advantages that QA outsourcing has to offer.
Hiring an in-house team demands a lot of additional costs:
Your HR needs to find and compose the team. The time of the HR specialist also costs money;
It will take the new employees some time to get familiar with the project and with each other. During this period, the efficiency of their work will be decreased;
Depending on the type of QA, you have to invest in specialized software or testing facilities, for example, eye-movement tracking devices;
The salaries of every employee should be planned in your budget. After the project is complete, it becomes not cost-effective to have your own QA team.
As a result, you will have a team that exclusively works on your project and knows it well. But if you do not have much time that is needed to create a team or are not ready to purchase expensive equipment, working with a third-party company might be a better option.
Outsourcing quality assurance to a specialized agency, you save money and time. An experienced team already has well-organized working processes and dispose of the necessary knowledge and equipment in order to deal with different QA-related tasks. If needed, they can augment the team attracting other staff members to the project and work faster without compromising on quality.
You can trust quality assurance to the same people who developed the product but it is not the best choice. The creators know how the product should work, and it can obscure their vision when testing it.
Also, adding new responsibilities to the to-do lists of developers, you distract them from their main job. Nobody can do everything at once remaining super productive. Unless you have a whole QA department in your company, it is better to outsource quality assurance.
Attracting completely new people to the evaluation of the product, you can get an objective look at the code quality and functionality.
Professional intuition is very important in the work of a QA engineer. They have to investigate the flaws of the product, which truly reminds the work of a detective.
Even if you have seasoned software developers in your team, it does not mean they are good at discovering bugs or combining different QA methods to achieve the best results. They are more focused on writing good code in the first place.
If your project grows, and you need to attract more engineers to the project, it is easy to do when you have a partner. The QA company will take care of everything so that it would be easy for you to scale.
When the team that works on your project is not in-house, it raises concerns. Let us look at the most common ones.
It seems risky to introduce third-party engineers to your project, especially if you are developing something highly innovative. However, if you choose a reliable partner, you can trust them with the details of your project without any doubt. You will work by a contract and sign an NDA, which eliminates any risks of the details of your project being disclosed.
Another thing that often stops project managers and business owners from QA outsourcing is that the work of third-party vendors is harder to monitor. The processes are not as transparent as in the case of in-house development.
Here it is important to understand that different companies have various approaches to QA. You are entitled to choose the vendor that will keep you aware of the slightest details and will allow the in-house team to monitor their activities.
Working with an outsourcing team, especially, if this is a remote team might seem frightening. It is difficult to establish effective communication even inside the company, what to say about third-party engineers.
However, professional QA firms have plenty of experience working with remote clients. They will offer you the tools for business communication and discuss the procedures that will make your cooperation as comfortable for you as possible.
QA outsourcing is a flexible approach to software testing. You can work by different models:
Dedicated team model is the most common in QA outsourcing. Third-party engineers take ownership of the entire project from start to finish. They are fully involved in the testing product. The responsibility for the quality of the services is born by the third-party vendor. Therefore, the client can switch to high-level business tasks rather than monitor the entire process.
This model is preferable when you are looking for a long-term partnership and the technical requirements for your project are constantly changing. In the long run, it allows cutting the costs on testing. In this case, payment is made monthly.
You need expertise in a certain type of testing such as automated testing, penetration testing, performance testing. A QA company can provide you with a subject matter expert for the task. You can outsource just part of the testing. Alternatively, you trust them to keep an eye on your project throughout the whole development process if it is small-scale.
This option suits you if there are no in-house testing specialists, or they cannot cope with the amount of work and need a hand. Contracting a member of an experienced team is less risky than working with a freelancer.
No matter if you work with a dedicated team or an individual contributor, you will probably choose one of the following pricing models.
Fixed price. The particularity of this model is that the payment, the deadlines, and the expected results are fixed in the beginning and are not changeable on the go. It may seem attractive at first. If you have a small project and you are sure no modifications to the product will be needed, it is the right approach for you. However, if you are working with a larger project, which is constantly transforming, choosing Fixed Price means compromising on quality.
Time and Materials. You are paying for the time your partner spends on QA. A contractor assesses how many man-hours it will take to complete the project and multiplies it by the rate of a specialist. The project is usually paid for in iterations when intermediate results are presented to the client. This model is very flexible and allows you to introduce changes as often as needed and be always aware of what is happening. A possible drawback can be that the estimation of how much the project will cost is only approximate at the beginning.
Both of them have their pros and cons and should be chosen based on the size of the project, technical requirements, and the level of flexibility that you seek.
Overall, quality assurance should be part of any development process. It allows you to check the functionality of the software systems, as well as make sure that the interface is accessible and intuitive to the users.
In-house quality assurance demands a lot of organization work. Finding the right people for the QA and setting up QA processes are money and time-consuming. Buying the necessary equipment can be not cost-effective if you are only going to use it once. Moreover, in-house software engineers can fail to provide an unbiased look at the work of their colleagues or their own. This may affect the final result very negatively.
On the other hand, outsourcing QA to experienced professionals provides you with much more freedom. They have the resources to conduct testing of any volume and complexity. In case something goes wrong, you will have a reliable partner to cover your back: be it the necessity to meet strict deadlines. A QA agency has already worked on a similar project to yours and can apply the best strategies to secure the quality of your product.
In the long run, the costs of working with a third-party vendor are going to pay off.
Every project is unique and there is no universal testing approach that fits all. However, if you decided to outsource testing, these 5 simple tips might help you to get the most out of your experience.
There is a huge variety of testing companies out there. You can ask your business partners to recommend someone or check out independent aggregators. Some examples are Clutch and GoodFirms. They collect information about the best IT companies and independently assess the participants. On the website, you can also find the approximate rates and client feedback.
You can find a good company regardless of your geographical location and ability to travel because many countries work remotely. You can save money working with software engineers from countries with low labor cost such as India, China, Poland, Ukraine, and the Philippines.
No matter if you work with a freelancer or a company, sign a contract that clearly states your obligations and rights. You provide access to the internal systems of your product and have to be protected in case something goes wrong. NDA can help you to feel more secure.
Clearly stating when and how you are going to monitor the work of your third-party vendors will save both sides a lot of nerves. Transparent communication is possible even when you outsource quality assurance but it requires a bit more effort, especially in the beginning. A professional QA company will provide a manager from their side who will keep you updated about the progress on your project.
Trust is important in the relationship with your partner. However, if you do not want to be disappointed, be involved in the project. This way you will be aware of what is going on and will be able to express your opinion and participate in the decision-making process more effectively. In order to be aware visit Agile meetings or request weekly reports about what is being done on your project.
As you know now, there are different possible models of cooperation with professional testers. Get in touch with a couple of firms, discuss how they work. Search for a flexible experienced team that is quality-oriented. Your goal is to find a partner who you will feel at ease with.
Quality assurance needs to be done at every stage of the project if you want to meet the requirements of a highly competitive market. Unless you have a dedicated department already, in-house quality assurance is a messy and costly endeavor. That is why so many software development teams and businesses prefer to work with remote third-party teams. They will be in charge of all the processes so that you could enjoy the results.