Quality Assurance Outsourcing

Quality Assurance Outsourcing Options

What is the “best” quality assurance outsourcing option? There are certainly a wide variety of lists that you can choose from.

But, only you can determine the “best” based on what YOU need.

Unfortunately, you really won’t know that until AFTER you’ve experienced the results.

But, there are some things you can consider (and questions you can ask) that will stack the odds of success in your favor.

Great Questions to Ask About Quality Assurance Outsourcing

  1. Expertise – Have the test engineers that will be working on your project worked on similar projects recently? What did they learn on those projects that will help your project be a success?
  2. Availability – Are the engineers with that expertise available when YOU need them? If there is a delay starting, will they still be available? How would that work?
  3. Price/Cost – Calculate the cost rather than decide based on the price.  Huh?  Yeah, who cares what the hourly rate is when you don’t know how much time it will take. Get an estimate and then decide based on the hourly rate multiplied by the number of hours estimated. Here’s a hint – talented quality assurance outsourcing engineers can build and execute test plans almost twice as fast as general testers – and you’ll get better result in this project and your next one!  Do the math!
  4. References – Do they have references for previous customers who wanted similar quality assurance outsourcing?  If so, then ask to talk with one or two. This can make a HUGE difference – and here’s why. You really want to hear two things from a reference. How well did they do meeting the goals? What did that person (the reference) do to make the overall project easier and better with the vendor they selected?

How TESTCo Answers Those Questions

At TESTCo, we have all those bases covered.

quality assurance outsourcing questions to askExpertise – we only use experienced software test engineers – no testers! We’ve been delivering software testing and quality assurance outsourcing since 2002 and we only hire experienced test engineers – and they DO make a difference.

Availability – TESTCo is specifically designed to provide on-demand software testing precisely when you need it. Sure, our rates are a little higher but we always have the talent when you need it.

Price/Cost – TESTCo only hires experienced software testing engineers and quality assurance managers. As a result, our prices are a bit higher than most quality assurance outsourcing providers. But, when you combine the test production capability of an experienced quality assurance engineer with the strategy and planning of an experienced quality assurance manager, your project will be completed quicker and with much better results.  The price is higher but the cost is lower.

References – every TESTCo customer is happy to share their experiences working with us. You’ll hear where we succeeded and where we didn’t. Nobody is perfect every time. But, what you will also hear – guaranteed – is how our customers appreciate what we did and how we worked with them. Listen closely to hear their tips and tricks for getting the most out of their TESTCo quality assurance engineers and managers.

And then what?

We’d like to be your next quality assurance outsourcing partner. Contact us to find out how we can make your next quality assurance project a success without hassles.

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project for software testing

Project for Software Testing

How can you get help with a project for software testing when you’re not a big software company or sizzling startup?  Can you get the same quality of software testing services that the “Big Guys” and “Cool Kids” get?

Watch Video or Continue Reading

Three Great Criteria for Selecting the Best Partner for a Software Testing Project

  1. Safe – chose a partner for your software testing project that has experience working with clients like you. Look at their client list and testimonials. If they serve customers like GE, Amazon or eBay then they probably don’t have what you need.
  2. Easy – chose a software testing company that makes it easy to work with them. Do they respond to your inquiry quickly? Do they explain their services in terms that you can understand? Do they deliver the value you really need?  You can discover all of this in a quick 5-10 minute phone conversation.
  3. Reliable – will your chosen software testing company be there when you need them?  You might need them tonight and you might need them in “about a couple weeks”.  Either way, will the software testing team you talked with be the same team you get on your project for software testing?

Project for Software Testing or Outsourced QA Support

Making a smart choice for your software testing project can be a challenge. But, if you know (and try) these three simple software company selection criteria, you’ll save time right now and you’ll save money on your software testing project.

At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises and delivering safe, easy and reliable value. This is as true for our on-demand software testing as it is for our long-term outsourced QA services.

Feel free to chat with us at any time about your project for software testing – big or small.

 

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software qa services

Software QA Services Ignored Value

When is the value of software QA services lost or ignored? More often than you might believe.

In many software testing projects, there is a large chunk of real-world value that is left laying on the floor – ignored or overlooked. It’s a shame really, because software testing is actually just a small part of delivering the software QA services that result in the top-quality software that your customers expect.

And, here’s the kicker, that real-world value that was just left on the floor?  It could be had just for the asking – at no additional charge! In some cases, it is even offered and declined!

The Ignored QA Report

Insane at it seems, recommendations for improving the software development process are often ignored when provided along with the defect report by a software testing company. Here’s why this crazy thing happens.

Very few people wake up and decide to make a strategic decision about their software quality. Most people wake up, go to the daily stand-up meeting and get whacked with a software quality problem. Then, they either change their plans to stay late for the rest of the week, OR start looking for help with the specific software testing services they need to solve the problem that whacked them that morning.

The Expense of Re-Applying the Band-Aid

Adding some software testing services will help solve the software quality problem from today’s daily stand-up. More software testing will almost always find more defects that can then be corrected and retested. This will improve your current software product’s software quality.

There’s a catch – fixing today’s broken software will NOT help, improve, benefit or change the quality of your next software release.

If you’re in the software business or build software to run your business, you should know that this strategy is an expense rather than an investment in long term software quality.

And, it could be an investment if you just asked for or read that software quality recommendation report that is often provided by an outsourced software testing company (this is in addition to the usual defect reports).

Extracting the Total Value from Software QA Services

Software testing is only the measurement activity in a larger activity of producing quality software. Again, testing only locates defects and measures your current quality.

If you don’t read and analyze the root causes of the defects discovered, whatever problem that caused the software defect will still be there – lurking in the background to pop up again when it can harm you the most.

TESTCo’s Software QA Services delivers everything you need to find and fix your software defects. What’s more, TESTCo also provides you with the analysis and recommendations (at no additional cost) you need to convert the cost of testing into a long-lasting investment in software quality.

Expense or investment? Just software testing, or QA improvement? You choose.

 

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software testing companies

Software Testing Companies and Software Testing Tools

Competition between software testing companies is fierce! There’s no better place to see the battle being waged than the front page of Google.  Search for any software testing related search term – especially software testing tools – and you’ll quickly get bombarded with “Me Too!  Look At My Tools!”

Just because a worker’s tool belt is full of tools, it doesn’t make them an expert – not even close.

Software testing tools are a fantastic leverage point for getting more software testing completed in shorter times for less money (faster, better, cheaper).

But, only if they are used for their intended purpose and by someone who has at least a couple successful projects completed.

Otherwise, you just wind up with a situation where “when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” syndrome.

Don’t Gauge Software Testing Companies by the Tools They Use

  1. Your Tool May Not Work – Most test automation tools favor or REQUIRE a certain technology stack.  If your’s doesn’t match, your tool and project will fail.
  2. Your Tool Handler May Use It Wrong – Just because someone has used a hammer, doesn’t make them a carpenter. Most software testing tools have 2 layers, beginner and advanced. Either way, without proper training and at least a couple successful projects under their belt, your chance of success on YOUR project is low as the tool handler is learning on your dime.
  3. Your Tool Works but Doesn’t Solve the Problem – Test case management tools are great for organizing a bunch of test cases and test plans. But, if it doesn’t also provide the metrics you need to measure quality, it won’t solve your problem.
  4. Your Tools Works AND Solves the Problem but Costs Too Much – This is how most software test automation projects end up – languishing in the background because they person who built it isn’t around anymore to maintain it. You did consider the cost of maintaining your test automation didn’t you?
  5. And Causes Other Problems Later – Test Case Management systems are prone to this issue. They work great at the beginning.  So great that they become integral to your project management and quality assurance procedures. But, because they tend to be tuned to support one development methodology or another (Scrum, Agile, etc.), if or when you change development methodologies, your test case management system presents work flow problems.

So, how can you avoid falling prey to good SEO but poor software testing tool knowledge? Ask more questions!

Here are a few Great Questions to ask your Short List of Software Testing Companies

  1. What evidence and/or experience can you show me that will help me believe that your approach will work for my project?
  2. Who is your tool expert, how did they become an expert, can I speak with them before the sale and will they be assigned to my project?
  3. How can you convince me that this tool and tool expert will effectively solve my problem?
  4. What is the long term cost projection for continuing to use this tool?
  5. Who else has used this tool for a couple years that can explain how well it works over time?

At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises. We’ve successfully implemented and used software testing tools for almost 20 years. Like you, we expect a software testing tool to solve the problem and keep it solved at a cost that is less than the benefit received from using the tool. If we can’t make the math work, we’ll tell you and offer an alternative. Our tool belt is full and we know when and where to use every one of them successfully!

 

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Website Testing Companies

Reviewing Website Testing Companies

In This Post

There are three things you should think about when reviewing Website testing companies.

If you have a clear idea of these three critical aspects of working with a website testing company, your selection process will run smoothly and your “best choice” will be very obvious.

  1. What Are Your Website Testing Goals? – Specifically, what outcomes do you need your outsourced software testing team to accomplish for you? Not the activities but the outcomes. The activities may look like testing but the real business value is accomplishing your goal. What is your goal and why is it important? Share that with your outsourced website testing team and see what happens. If they are inspired, then you’ve found a strong candidate.  If they only want to know how much work you have for them, you should keep looking.
  2. What Are Your Budget and Time Constraints? – Sure, the budget is a big constraint. But, are there others? Do you have a promised due date for your next release? Do you need tight coordination with a variety of teams to meet your goal? Is this project big and visible to a lot of people? Share these constraints with your offshore software testing team and see what they say. Are they excited about the additional challenges? Do they offer a variety of strategies to accommodate your constraints? Or, do they just want to know how many testers you need and how long you need them? A lack of testing and quality strategies might indicate they don’t know any testing or quality strategies. If so, you should keep looking.
  3. What Are Your Expectations About Website Testing Outcomes? – Everyone has them but few recognize how we are influenced by them. Your expectations are going to one of the prime measures of how satisfied you will be with the process and outcomes. While expectations aren’t goals, they are very important. To add to the problem, most of us are generally unaware of our expectations as something important. Mostly, we just recognize when they aren’t met. This leads to dissatisfaction and then disappointment. Share your expectations with your outsourced website testing team. Gauge their reaction. Most will be interested in meeting your minimum expectations. A few will ask you to explain and may even question your expectations. This is good! They’re asking those questions so they’ll have a deeper understanding of why your expectations are important and how they can incorporate them into their daily software and website testing process. If you don’t get a rise by sharing your expectations then you should probably keep looking.

Comparing Website Testing Companies

What will it take to win your confidence that a website testing company can achieve your goals? That depends on what you want.

Website testing can cover the very simplest issues like testing for accurate rendering on just a few browsers to very complex issues like load and performance testing. But that’s mostly technical jargon. You probably have some business and project goals that are related to your website that you definitely want to achieve. Explain your business and technical goals to your proposed website testing company and then listen as they explain how they will work with you to achieve your goals.

It can be difficult to compare two or more items if the criteria are hard to measure. Here are a couple of simple but very important aspects of a website testing project that you can easily use to compare your preferred website testing companies.

  1. Do they understand your goals and constraints? Are they able to repeat them back to you and then show incremental progress as the project progresses?
  2. Do they have several strategies or are they a one-trick-pony? There is almost always more than one way to accomplish a goal and the constraints on the goal usually determine which strategy will deliver the highest value for the lowest cost. Do you understand and agree with their strategy or will they just “test it for you”?
  3. Do they have the talent to execute the strategy? Test Engineers are twice as productive and twice as effective as “testers”. QA Managers add even more value with analysis, reporting and planning to keep the Test Engineers fully productive on your website testing project. “Testers” do what they’re told – usually without any supervision. How much talent and confidence do you want for your website testing project?

A simple Yes/No score comparison between your preferred website testing companies should provide you with an easy solution for picking the best solution for your needs.

What Does it Take to Have Real Confidence in a Website Testing Company?

Are you worried or concerned about outsourcing to a website testing company? How can you know if you’re on the right (or wrong) track to finding the help you need?

If you are seeing danger signs that erode your confidence in the website testing companies with whom you are working, it’s not too late to give TESTCo a call – here’s why!

  1. A 90 Minute Start. We know you’re in a hurry and under the gun.  But, we need a basic amount of information about your website testing project so we can accurately achieve your goals and objectives. (Isn’t that what it’s all about?)  Don’t worry though, we’ve done this before (a bunch) and have a list of questions already prepared so we can get started quickly and effectively. We assign a QA Manager to every project (at no additional cost) so that we always have all the information and access we need for our Test Engineers to get your work completed accurately.
  2. The Basics. All great teamwork requires effective communication. It’s basic stuff really – writing status reports and participating in daily stand ups – like brushing and flossing every day (twice please). Our Test Engineers know this and do it as a natural part of their working process. Testers that other companies use typically just test what they are told to test.
  3. Leverage and Assets. Your website (and the website testing project to launch it) can either be an expense or an investment. An expense is once and done.  An investment creates an asset that provides leverage for future opportunities and produces a regular return (new prospects maybe?). If your website is an expense, then just skip this.

Here are a few more tips about selecting a website testing company.

How to Be Successful with Your Website Testing Company

How can you be confident that you’ll be successful with your outsourced website testing project? What might you do to insure the certainty of success?

Selecting an outsourced website testing company is only the first step. Next, you’ll want to make sure they are successful in achieving your goals for you. Your involvement with the website testing team will be important but it shouldn’t take a lot of your time. Here are some tips for making sure you get the most out of the website testing company that you select.

  1. Before Your Project – your website testing team will need a clear set of goals and constraints so they can achieve your goal. This information is usually covered in a Scoping process prior to building and delivering a proposal to you. You liked and believed the proposal enough to select this website testing company, so take some time and make sure it is accurate. It’s worth a brief 30 minutes to review both, your scoping document and your proposal to make sure that everyone is perfectly, crystal clear on your goals and constraints.
  2. During Your Project – your website testing team should deliver at least a daily status report. At TESTCo, we provide 2 daily status reports – one in the morning and another again each evening. Please, take just a few minutes and read these reports when you receive them. They contain a wealth of important information about the status of your project and can be an early indicator of Things Going Wrong. If you don’t understand or agree with what you see in the daily status report, please speak up quickly so your website testing team can correct their course and get back on track to achieve your goals.
  3. After Your Project – Once your website testing team has completed their strategy and plan, you should have a very clear picture of the quality of your website. In most cases, there will be defects that need to be fixed by your developers. Fixing those defects can cause additional defects! It’s worthwhile to talk with your website testing team about a second round of testing for your website – just to make sure that the big fixes didn’t break something else that was already working. Talk with your website testing company about another round of testing – just to make sure that they can have your website testing team available when you need them next.

TESTCo’s Three Values for Website Testing Companies

At TESTCo, we believe there are three values that are really important for website testing companies to provide. See if you agree.

Safe – Our work and way of working with you is safe. You won’t have any surprises. Our work will follow a well-thought-out plan with twice-daily status reports. You’ll always know where things stand and how we’re doing honoring our promises to you.

Easy – We’re very easy to work with. You can have as much or as little transparency as you like. Our work processes will integrate yours without any interruptions. The defects we discover for you will be crystal clear and ready for fixing. And, we can stop and re-start with just a one days notice.

Reliable – We honor our promises and plans. Our QA Managers will present you with the best strategy and plan to accomplish your goals. Our Test Engineers have the experience you need and we’ll have your favorite Test Engineer ready when you need them again.

TESTCo, One of the Few Website Testing Companies that Delivers Business Value Every Day

If your website is an investment, then you’ll want to make sure you’re getting every bang for every buck you spend. In website testing projects, the test cases and test plan are your assets.  They measure and validate the quality of your website – today and then again next quarter when you update it.

At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises. Honoring promises produces trust and confidence. You want confidence that your website will meet your quality standards and represent you and your brand effectively.

Once you start talking to us, you’ll notice the difference between TESTCo and other website testing companies. Once we start working for you, you’ll know you made the right choice. Let us prove it.

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Automated Regression Testing for Software | TESTCo

Automated Regression Testing Dilemma

Nobody likes running long software regression testing cycles. It’s long, hard and boring.

And yet, nobody likes to release bugs either. NPS (Net Promoter Score) drop like a rock and the support phones light up like little annoying Christmas ornaments.

So, just grin and bear it or take the plunge into software test automation?

It depends on where you stand on these two dilemmas.

1. Business Speed Dilemma

This dilemma is about your cost and speed of producing software versus capturing more customers and larger market share before your competitors.

  • Adding customers, solving real problems and growing your market share requires more features in your software.
  • More software features require more software testing.
  • More software testing takes more time, people and delays releasing your new features.

So, faster software production equals more customers as long as you meet their minimum quality requirements. Otherwise, they dump your software or mobile app like yesterday’s leftover tacos.

2. People Versus Machines Dilemma

This dilemma considers that people are more adaptable but more expensive than machines that are more consistent but less expensive.

  • People are better at finding defects.
  • People are slower and more expensive than machines but require less “programming”.
  • Defects found late in the process are very expensive to fix.
  • Machines are better are consistently repeating sets of activities.
  • Machines are slower and less expensive than people but require more “programming”.
  • Defects found early in the process are cheaper to fix.

So, how to resolve your dilemma? My friend and business mentor, Keith Cunningham says

One choice is slavery. Two choices is a dilemma. Three choices is freedom.

Hybrid Software Regression Testing That Turns a Dilemma into Freedom

Consider a hybrid approach to software regression testing.

Use people for manual regression for all features in the current and previous version.

New(ish) features are where most of the defects lie in hiding. This leverages the human advantage of finding defects in new features.
This also minimizes the amount of time & money spent on people in the regression testing cycles. You will have the benefit of faster and cheaper software regression testing cycles.

Use Test Automation for regression testing all features released prior to the previous version.

Older features are where most software developers do damage. This leverages the machine advantage of consistently repeating activities. This also minimizes the amount of time between discovering a defect and fixing the defect – which dramatically reduces the cost of fixing the defect.

You and your developers will have the benefit of real time testing so that regression defects (where new features break older existing features) are much cheaper to fix.

The Drawbacks to Hybrid Software Regression Testing

  1. You may need to add Test Engineers to your software testing team. Successful test automation will require written test cases that can be easily automated. Test Engineers know how to write these types of test cases.
  2.  You will have to decide on which approach to use for Test Automation – Record/Play, Scripted or built-in APIs. You’ll need an experienced Test Automation Engineer to help you determine the best path for you and your business.

At TESTCo, we can help with both – call and let’s talk about how to implement or improve your automated regression testing.

agile software testing reportDownload our report that looks at the challenges and pitfalls of creating automated regression tests in an Agile environment.

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Software Test Automation

Software Test Automation Case Study

Journyx has customers worldwide and have been improving their products with software test automation for the past seven years. The company offers customers project, time and expense tracking software, and resource management software for forecasting projects, budget status, and employee time and availability.

Challenges/Pains

Before hiring TESTCo to manage software testing and develop best practices, Journyx was in a world of hurt. Early on, they used company staff and even some family members to bang on new software releases, but that didn’t work so well. This was about 15 years ago. “It’s difficult, repetitive work,” said Journyx CEO Curt Finch. “No one really likes it, and it’s not really a core competency.”

The company wasn’t able to hire more people for testing, but they were always under pressure to release new versions of their products. “We couldn’t get a handle on when our next release would show up and what level of quality it would be. We could say we’re going to ship this come hell or high water by May 1st, but we’d be in danger of shipping broken software.”

“Back then, customers hated us and wanted to shoot us,” said Finch.

Journyx’s director of product management, Meredith Zachritz, had to manage a lot of the chaos at the time. “In the early days, our developers were responsible for testing their own code,” she said. “There were no robust peer code reviews. It was very messy. We just about drove ourselves out of business.”

The company didn’t have an official product manager back then, and they didn’t have the budget to hire testing resources in-house. “I was spending more than 50% of my time on testing and related fire drills,” said Zachritz. “It affected customer retention, and we lost confidence in our product’s ability to handle customer needs.” When mobile apps came along, complexity increased, and it was even more difficult to keep up.

 

Decision

The Journyx team eventually decided on outsourced testing, but they struggled with how to do it. Initially they hired contractors in India, but that failed. “We tried a couple of different firms,” said Zachritz. “It wasn’t apparent that they had QA expertise. If they did, the language barriers and time zone limitations were too difficult to overcome, and we couldn’t make it work. Our QA didn’t improve, and they didn’t understand what our goals were. They had no certifications or formal expertise, and no one was managing the entire project.”

Journyx ended up with nothing to show for their efforts – no test scripts, documentation or processes they could hand over to their internal development team. “We got what we paid for,” said Zachritz.

After that fiasco, Journyx hired a dedicated employee to be QA manager. They built up a set of test scripts – nothing automated – and some manual testing methods. “We had to train her,” said Zachritz. “She was only one person. When she was out, she wasn’t doing QA. And when she found a more attractive offer, she left. When you have someone in house, those are always issues.” That employee didn’t offer up any strategic guidance or best practice recommendations either.

Local, Accountable and Low-Cost Solution Helps Drive Revenue

Journyx eventually found TESTCo and solved everything in one fell swoop. They found a local company with the expertise to manage complex software testing and low-cost offshore testing labor. “What I like about TESTCo is that they’re an intermediary to different cultures,” said Finch. “At one point they switched testers from Romania to Ukraine, and we didn’t notice the change.”

“They’re here in Austin, and I can take them to lunch and hold them accountable or beg for forgiveness if we’ve messed something up on our end,” he continued. “We trust them, and the costs are very reasonable for what we get.”

Finch categorized the value of what TESTCo brings in terms of revenue, cost and risk. “TESTCo helps us understand exactly what we’re shipping,” said Finch. “We know customers will be happy with it right away, and our sales people have confidence in the software. That translates to increased sales.”

“The sales team is no longer afraid to demo stuff in presentations,” added Zachritz.

“Our costs are reduced because the testing talent is in another country where it’s less expensive to employ them,” continued Finch. “If I were to replace TESTCo with people here in the U.S., I’d have to spend about $5,000 to $10,000 more per month.”

As Journyx rolls out new product features and new software, they reduce risk by leveraging TESTCo resources. “For one thing, I have reliable, detailed insight into the status of everything,” said Finch. “With TESTCo we’re able to have a known level of quality in a consistent, predictable way.”

Journyx can also examine potential costs and complexities when considering the addition of new software features. “We can ask TESTCo how much it’s going to cost to add something to the testing,” said Finch. “That’s a double-check on the complexity question. It’s like a reverse estimation tool.”

Virtual In-House Team

Zachritz meets with TESTCo for bi-weekly progress calls and has daily email status updates from the TESTCo team. “We coordinate as though TESTCo is an in-house team,” she said. “The TESTCo QA process is run for me. I don’t have to do anything but review status and answer questions. I contact them with adjustments. They come to me with best practices and next steps guidance. All of that is very powerful for me.”

She now spends about 5% of her time on testing chores (as opposed to the 50% she mentioned earlier). “Now I can spend my time on planning and execution, and avoid all that fire fighting,” said Zachritz.

With TESTCo, Journyx can also scale up and scale back resources depending on their release cycles. “We can really manage it closely in terms of what we need at a given time,” said Zachritz. “And it doesn’t hurt us when someone takes a two-week vacation during testing. The TESTCo replacements are seamless.”

Software Test Automation Moving Forward

The TESTCo solution allows Journyx to automate software testing processes, as well. The goal is to reduce regression testing cycle times and get new releases out in a shorter amount of time.

Initially, Journyx didn’t tackle software test automation when starting out with TESTCo, but they eventually decided to move ahead with it in order to further enhance productivity and free up resources. “We tried to implement an automation suite earlier,” said Zachritz, “but coverage was bad, the platform was difficult to maintain, it was open source, and it wasn’t possible to upgrade it.”

TESTCo recommended changing out the platform. The two companies went through a new platform evaluation process, and found a new system that fit Journyx’s budget.

“We ended up automating the most time consuming manual tests and regression test cycles,” said Zachritz. “That speeds up our release cycle and in effect drives sales.”

 The process helps them improve code quality, close the gaps between fixes and generally move faster as an organization. “Our support teams can now work on bug reports and patching custom solutions for customers,” she continued. “They can also work on the videos they create to help people configure their solutions. Software test automation allows us to work on more strategic projects because of the quality of releases.”

“All of it has transformed our business,” said Zachritz. “It’s really incredible how it works.”

Read more about TESTCo’s software test automation services.
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