Introduction To Outsourced QA Teams:
The amount of competition in the tech industry is enormous. Every other day, we see a slew of innovative products hit the market. Gaining a competitive advantage over competitors is only feasible when startups effectively offer their clients/customers what they need. (i.e., high-quality goods). Large corporations will have high-level teams dedicated to finding bugs throughout the development process. However, when it comes to an entry-level startup, they usually do not have such groups, and thus their chances of fading away from the market are significantly greater.
But Why Do SMEs Need Outsourced QA Teams?
Despite significant financial and time investment, many early SMEs frequently fail in the market. Many factors can cause a startup to fail, but the most important is “Releasing low quality and user-unfriendly applications to the market.” The only way to ensure your product’s success is to ensure that it falls in line with all quality standards. But, most in-house teams will lack the time and resources to conduct comprehensive QA testing. And that is why the errors leak into the finished product.
To avoid this, startups must seek assistance from expert teams to survive in the market and focus on other critical tasks. However, finding and hiring the right team to serve the purpose consumes a lot of time & money. In this scenario, the obvious solution is to ‘Hire the best QA outsourcing partner.’ But how do startups manage and get the most out of their outsourced QA teams?
This article will walk you through the challenges that founders face when working with offshore QA teams, as well as how they can overcome and successfully manage QA outsourced teams.
How Early Stage Startups Can Manage Outsourced QA Teams Effectively
Challenge – 1 : Finding a Trustworthy Outsourced QA partner
Solution: The most critical challenge a startup may face is locating a trustworthy outsourced partner who can keep the startup’s critical product information safe and secure. When entrusting a project to an outsourcing company, the trust serves as a foundation. They have less control and supervision over the testing processes conducted by the outsourcing team than an in-house team.
There are numerous companies in the market today that offer excellent quality assurance services from which to choose. Startups can also explore various business directories to find the best service providers based on client reviews. Therefore, we recommended that entrepreneurs check the reviews of the outsourced company and its services from genuine sources. Examine its previous projects, the outcomes of those projects, and overall client feedback.
Bonus Tip: Asking employees and coworkers for suggestions is also a good and more accessible option.
Remember to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) before disclosing any confidential information to the QA team. This contract will assist the company in safeguarding critical product information.
Challenge – 2: Communication Barriers & Lack Of Opportunities For Open Discussions
Solution: Lack of effective communication among the teams can be a nightmare for many startups. Especially while the teams are working with outsourcing companies, from understanding the requirements, planning, developing strategy, and reporting the last bug, communication runs like a thread. That is why it is crucial to search for a partner who has strong technical skills and good at communicating and understanding.
Optimizing a product’s quality may call for more quality assurance checks. In such a case, startups must provide detailed documentation regarding the product changes they decided to make and the expected outcome of the testing process. Give the outsourced team a clear idea of your objectives, products, and business. If training is to be provided to them, do it for free. Create ample room for discussions to clear any further doubts.
Also, massive delays may occur when there is a possible miscommunication between the testing team and the dev team during their feedback exchange calls. Therefore it is necessary to make sure both outsourced and the in-house teams are communicating to bring both the teams to the common ground.
Request the dev team, in-house QA team (if any), and the outsourced QA team to use communication tools like Slack. Appoint someone as the responsible person of contact and clarify their role to them. Set a time and date to have a sprint planning & summary call. Finally, have a good project management tool that suits best for the startup. If there are any more differences between the dev and outsource team, encourage teams to discuss them openly.
Challenge – 3: Missing Deadlines & Unclear Workflows
Solution: When startups start working with an outsourced team, the time zone differences may lead to delay in the testing process. This can lead to missing deadlines. The time difference is a huge challenge when working with teams in different parts of the world. It is vital to align your business speed to the speed of the market. Especially when you are in the software industry!
A good QA team should always try to keep up with the deadlines and be able to deliver the bug reports as early as possible. This will give the dev team a lot of time work on the bugs and fix them.
When your outsourced partner has a workflow already in place to align the actions of the external QA team with those of the in-house team, avoiding the delays becomes easy. By having clear workflows, we can reduce confusion regarding the tasks to be done, roles and responsibilities of each team member. We can also understand the workloads of each team member, and optimize resources.
To facilitate the cooperation between teams, the startups should also provide information from their end about the project management approach. They should also be able to identify the stage of SDLC that their project is currently in and should communicate the same to QA outsourcing company.
Challenge – 4: Results that don’t meet expectations
Solution: Sometimes, the expected results may vary from the actual results. Even though the client has explained all his requirements and the outcomes he is expecting out of the testing process, the results may vary. Because everyone has their own perspectives of quality checks.
Therefore it is important for the QA team to understand the problems the startup is looking to solve, the criteria of evaluation of the testing process, the timelines, allocable resources, etc. Similarly, it is the QA team’s responsibility to inform the applicable testing types and achievable benefits from these testing types. It is up to the client to decide on how often the outsourced team should perform regression & retesting and how often they release builds to the market.
Challenge – 5: Lack of control
Solution: It is quite common for someone who opts for QA outsourcing services to worry about control over critical aspects of the testing process. So, QA vendors must provide a detailed demonstration of the process as well as a report. This report should contain details like testing methodology, the process, test results. Clients can also specify what exact information and the format of presentation they would like to see by the end of the testing process.
Also, the startups can create some performance metrics that help in measuring the performance regularly. These metrics can be either time-based or project-based. Creating some benchmarks/performance indicators is very important to monitor the progress of QA teams.
Managing an outsourced QA partner can be tricky and complex. But using some fruitful techniques as mentioned in the above blog post, can give a smoother working experience.