Software Application Testing Company Three Questions

Software Application Testing Company Three Questions

There are just three things to think about before contacting a software application testing company. Yep, just three little questions to ask yourself once your software is “almost” ready and it’s time to have a professional take a look to make sure there aren’t any nasty little surprises left in there.

Trust me on this–if you know the answers to these three questions, I can promise that you’ll find the perfect software application testing company for your unique needs.  I promise!

On the other hand, if you don’t know the answers to these three questions, the best any application testing company is going to do is *guess* or *assume*.

I’m pretty confident you don’t want the company you’re seeking help from to *guess* or *assume*, do you?

Answer These Questions Before Contacting Any Software Application Testing Company

1 – What are your goals for this project?

Specifically, the list of things you want done (and NOT done) and the list of things you want to see so you can be confident the goal has been achieved. Nothing complicated – even some jots on a napkin will help. What’s MOST important here is that you’ve thought about it enough to be clear about what you do and don’t want.

Why? Software quality means different things to different people. Google is OK with some defects in their software (permanent Beta) while high-end jewelry stores are not willing to tolerate even a slightly-less-than-perfect image.  Either approach is effective but only in the context of your specific needs and goals. If you know (or have at least thought through) where you stand on your goals, the application testing company you’re talking to can do a much better job of understanding and meeting your specific needs and goals!

2 – What is your budget for this project?

Yeah, the budget question….and budget is more than just dollars! Possibly more important is TIME. When do you need it to be done? You probably already know this but it’s important enough to make sure. Take a minute and confirm the dollar budget you have to spend and the date by when you need to launch the application.

Why is this important to know and SHARE? Very simply, it helps the application testing company you’re talking with do a better job of understanding and proposing a solution that meets your unique needs. If you withhold this important information under the guise of an outdated and ineffective vendor negotiation model, you’ll get quotes and proposals that are more guesses than fact. What you get is a best-guess for a solution where critical facts are missing. Further, if you award the project based on this approach, you’re merely awarding the “best guesser”.  That’s probably not what you were seeking when you went looking for a software application testing company. The good ones don’t *guess”.

3 – How will you chose the best vendor for you and your project?

Some folks have a need for speed and others have a need for deep attention to detail. Some want a very close relationship between developers and test engineers and others don’t want their developers bothered. Some people want lots of transparency in the process and some people just want the defect reports. Decide which methods and priorities best meet your needs.

Why? If you share your selection criteria with the application testing companies you’re talking to, they can customize their proposals to highlight their differences and how those differences can be valuable to YOU. If you don’t, everyone is back to guessing and that’s not going to improve your certainty of success. In some cases, time can be saved when a firm quickly determines they are NOT the best fit for your project. Wouldn’t it be better to acknowledge that and get out of the way instead of endlessly pestering you for another sales call?

A good software application testing company, like TESTCo,  is not in the guessing business. We’re in the facts and confidence business. Please help us help you achieve your goals and dreams. Think through the three questions the best you can, then give us a call.

 

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Mobile Application Testing Strategy

Why You Need a Mobile Application Testing Strategy

In This Post

App testing looks easy but you might want to think again – and I’ll help you think through a mobile application testing strategy.

Simple, but not Easy

You can very easily skip or ignore some very important risks just because you didn’t even know to think about them! Mobile application development moves very fast, is usually highly agile and covers much more than just the mobile app itself. Most mobile application testing projects spend too much time on functional testing and not enough time finding and reducing real technology and business risks.

Starting to test your mobile app without a Testing Strategy can result in a “well tested” mobile app that frustrates customers, scares off prospects and lights up the support phone and chat lines.

All because you didn’t know what you didn’t know!

And that’s probably not what you wanted or expected.

A simple mobile testing strategy will help you find the important risks, plan your testing work to focus on the important areas and reduce the time and money you spend launching your mobile application

What You Don’t Know CAN Hurt Your Project!

There are six  important subject areas in that you need to consider in your strategy for testing your mobile application.

  1. Devices – What is your list of most important devices? What devices are you willing to exclude or not test? Do you have access to those important devices?
  2. Networks – What networks will your mobile application use? Are they cell networks or wifi networks? What happens when your mobile app switches networks?
  3. Servers – How much of your mobile application functionality depends on accurate information from a server application? Most mobile apps rely heavily on back-end servers to do the heavy lifting work while the mobile app itself mostly accepts inputs and display outputs. What happens in between your server and mobile app?
  4. Performance – What are your minimum performance times for functions in your mobile application? What are the upper limits of your server? How many simultaneous users do you expect? What performance tools are provided by your server hosting company?
  5. Security – How secure does your mobile application need to be to protect your user’s information privacy? Is 2FA important to your users? How secure does your server need to be?
  6. UX (User Experience) – Will your users find your mobile application enjoyable and easy to use or frustrating and confusing to use? What UX data will you collect to help you understand this? If a user does leave, how will you recover them?

If you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to clarify your goals and build a mobile testing strategy to achieve them for your unique mobile application.

Curious yet about TESTCo’s mobile app testing services? Here’s more information on our capabilities.

No Mobile Application Testing Strategy? Here Comes the Pain.

If you don’t answer those questions, you can expect to see (and feel) some of these pains:

  1. Your mobile works fine on the most recent iPhone but fails with previous versions of iOS and some Android devices. And, only a small portion of your audience has the most recent iPhone.
  2. Your mobile application works great on Wifi but fails with errors on a cellular network if a user is talking on the phone and using your app.
  3. Your mobile application fails and crashes when the server is slow returning complex query results.
  4. Your mobile application works fine until there are over 900 simultaneous users – and then it displays the wrong query results.
  5. Your mobile application is easily penetrated and accounts are hijacked.
  6. Your mobile application UI works great for the engineers who built it but ordinary users struggle to understand how to use it.

Build Your Own Simple Strategy – or Let Us Help You!

The best solution is to build a simple mobile application testing strategy unique to your project. It’s easy if you follow this guide I recently published.  At TESTCo, we build and evaluate several test strategies for every software and mobile application testing project. If you don’t want to build your’s, we can build it for you!

Schedule a call with me using the green button on this page, or call me at 888-254-9709

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testco-software regression testing | agile software testing | agile testing

Agile Testing Doesn’t Have To Be Complicated

Agile Development methodologies have become widely used and accepted as industry standards across the world. The flexibility to grow and adapt software development organizations is one of the most attractive features of Agile development. The price paid for this flexibility is buggy software. While most Agile development teams are able to produce features at a higher rate than traditional development teams, they also deliver more defects than a traditional development team. Software quality for Agile testing is needed.

Agile Software Testing Services

Agile testing involves testing from the customer perspective as early as possible, testing early and often as code becomes available and stable enough from module/unit level testing. Since working increments of the software are released often in agile software development, there is also a need to test often. Taking an agile testing for software quality control approach is key.

Why Have an Agile Testing Methodology?

  • Early in the lifecycle teams don’t realize the severity of existing defects, and do not put a large effort into finding them.
  • When Critical Mass is reached, customers begin using the product in unexpected ways.
  • As product development becomes steady, the effort necessary to find the defects is not constant throughout the release cycle, and a steady team of Test Engineers is too much for some stages and not enough for other stages.
  • When the product matures, automation test scripts that have been relied on in the past no longer provide sufficient coverage, and cannot find all of the defects.

On Demand Agile testing solves these problems, it keeps product quality in step with your engineering team. TESTCo’s QA testing will make this happen.

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Software Test Outsourcing

The Costly Learning Curve of Software Test Outsourcing

There are three things you can do to avoid the costly learning curve of software test outsourcing initiatives. Why does a learning curve exist? Software is getting more complex every day.  This makes software testing even harder. The learning curve for any software testing team can be steep and it is even steeper and more costly for software test outsourcing teams.

When the learning curve to begin testing software is steep due to complexity, everybody on the team feels the cost – especially the project manager! Software engineers experience interruptions which degrades their concentration, business analysts get frustrated covering old ground and project managers churn through project timelines and budgets trying to get everything to match up.

You can’t make software less complex and you can’t roll back time (unless you have a time machine that you’re keeping secret from the rest of us!). If you can’t compress the size of the problem or flatten the learning curve then all you’re left with is tools.

Three Key Tools to Shorten the Learning Curve of Software Test Outsourcing

Here are the things we use regularly at TESTCo that have proven effective in reducing the learning curve of software test outsourcing.

  1.  Use a Functional Map – create an index of user stories/scenarios as compared to primary function points in the software where the intersection of a user story and a function point denotes a test case or collection of test cases. This index provide multiple benefits starting from Day 1. Contact Us to see how a Functional Map could help your software testing team.
  2. Build a Value Proposition – when your entire software test outsourcing team understands and is aligned behind BOTH your technical and business goals, your QA team becomes a key strategic lever to move your software project directly towards your business and technical goals every day. Reach Out to Us to learn more about our Value Proposition Process.
  3. Add a QA Manager for your software test outsourcing team. At TESTCo, we believe that managers manage and engineers engineer. Engineers almost always perform at a higher level when they are led and managed by an experienced technical manager. We believe so strongly in the value and benefit of a QA Manager that we provide one, at no additional cost, for every TESTCo client.

If the learning curve of software test outsourcing is holding you back, we’d enjoy the opportunity to share how we’re different and more successful for our clients.

Automatic Software Testing | Automated Software Testing | Software Test Automation

Calculating the Maintenance Costs of Automatic Software Testing Suites

Is maintaining automatic software testing* an investment, expense, or just a problem? You’ve paid a lot of money to automate software testing and all was working just fine,  but as time goes on and new features are added to your application, the automatic software testing suite is breaking more often and you’re getting frustrated.

Software Test Automation Tools are Changing Rapidly – Double Check

Before you jump off into a test automation rebuild project, it’s worthwhile to do a little bit of due diligence to make sure your platform and software test automation tool will continue to serve you into the future.

  • Your choices for software to automate your testing activities is growing and changing rapidly.  There are literally new software test automation tools announced every month. They tend to be born or created from a need to solve a unique test automation problem. Make sure your software test automation tool is synchronized with your technical needs and supports your technology platform.
  • Software test automation tools change versions and compatibility frequently. As new software technologies are built and release, software test automation tools change to accommodate those new technologies.  In some cases, these upgrades can cause havoc with the scripts you’ve already built for the previous version. How stable and “future proof” is your selected tool?
  • Software test automation tools also fail frequently as businesses. How can you tell if the company you purchase your tool from will be in business next year? There are many open source choices for software test automation but those tools have a risk as well. Will the open source community continue to be interested enough in that test automation tool to keep it working with the current changes in technology?

Maintaining Software Test Automation is Not Easy

  • You probably paid a lot of money to get your software test automation working properly but the return on your initial investment is fading as time goes by – surely that’s not how it is supposed to go.
  • Your software test automation suite worked just fine when it was originally built but today, it’s throwing more and more false errors – and that doesn’t help you achieve your business and technical goals.
  •  Your software development team is too busy writing new features to keep the test automation updated and, they aren’t really interested in working with those tools.
  • Your internal QA Team has trouble finding, selecting and keeping someone talented enough to maintain your software test automation suite – the learning curve is steep and maintaining code is much more challenging than just writing new code.
  • You’ve looked for outsourced help (again) but your software test automation maintenance project just isn’t quite big enough to interest the big offshore technology firms.

Push the Reset Button for Automatic Software Testing

  1. Build a business case – nothing complex – back of the napkin calculations should be sufficient. Gain a deeper understanding of your specific technology and business goals and how they relate to continuing to invest in software test automation. Once you are clear on your specific goals and expected returns, your choices will become much more distinct and easy to evaluate.
  2. Treat test automation false alerts as defects – just like you do with your application software. Use a defect tracker just like you do with your application software. Then, simply cross check application defects reported by your software test automation with the software test automation defects and automatically rule them as false and then use manual testing to verify. This won’t eliminate the time waiting problem but it will reduce it and stop the confidence erosion.
  3. Move your test automation engineer into the software development team. When your test automation work is aligned with the development project timeline and not the QA team timeline, your software test automation will be ready when the software is ready, not a few weeks later.
  4. Start building a software Test Automation Team. Hire a Jr Test Automation engineer to learn from your current Test Automation engineer. Not only is this a great strategy for succession, your software test automation suite will suffer fewer issues and grow quicker to match your software application.
  5. Find an outsourcing partner (not a”vendor”) to work with you over time to specifically meet your business and technical goals. Most outsourcing companies try to be as large and broad as possible to meet every need possible. A few outsourcing companies specialize in automatic software testing and test automation. We specialize so all of our talent will be perfectly suited to solving your software test automation maintenance problem.
^Most readers will dislike my use of the term, “automatic software testing suites”, in this post. The term is not accurate. “Automated software testing suites” is the accepted phrase used in the software testing world. Accepted or not, our research indicates that “automatic software testing” is used by a large number of folks as they search for information on the topic. Therefore, I’ve devoted this post to the folks who prefer “automatic” over “automated”. We do a great job for both. -JCH
Website Testing

The Case for Website Testing

Are you one of those companies that doesn’t conduct systematic website testing after a site refresh? By systematic website testing I’m referring to a planned and thorough testing of the site for functionality and user experience.

Too many companies, I’ve learned over the years, don’t take website testing seriously enough. Employees  will be asked to set aside a few minutes of their day to  “go through the site” and note any errors or broken links. That’s a start, but don’t mislead yourself into thinking that all the bugs are going to be found with this hit-and-miss method.

In today’s world, if your website doesn’t work properly, quickly and easily on the device the person is using then you just lost a visitor, prospect, new customer or, worst of all, a repeat customer. In every case your brand image takes a beating, too.

Most consumers won’t tolerate a business website that does not perform on their device. They will go to the next business on the list!

Ask yourself, how much is each visitor worth to your business? Each lead?  Each  new customer? Each repeating customer? Is it worth the risk NOT to test your website after you change it?

The 1-2-3 of Testing Websites

There are three critical areas to test on most websites – functionality, cross-browser/devices, and page-load speed.

  1. Functional Testing insures that each button performs the intended action properly. Some websites are complex with advanced search, grouping, recommendations and shopping carts. Some websites are simple with just a few buttons to submit a contact request. Most of the functionality will behave the same no matter which browser or device is used so testing the functionality is typically a “once and done” set of steps each time you are finished with your website changes.
  2. Cross-Browser/Device Testing insures that your website’s content, layout and presentation look and behave properly in a variety of operating systems, browsers and mobile devices. This is where it get’s a little complex. There are just too many different operating systems, browsers and mobile devices to test each one within a reasonable period of time.
  3. Page Load Speed Testing. Visitors have little tolerance for websites that take too long to appear on their device. If the page isn’t fully loaded in a few seconds, there’s a high probability the visitor will abandon the attempt and try another site.

Yes, there are tools available online that seem to make it easier to run functional testing and cross-browser/device testing. But, if you aren’t familiar with them or you don’t have a clear idea of which test cases, browsers/devices are most important to your website visitors, then you can easily waste a lot of time.

Who to Test a Website

The good news is that you have several options for website testing.

  1. Big IT Outsourcing Company – if you aren’t already a Fortune 500 company you probably won’t get much help from these guys. It’s not that they don’t want to help you. It’s just that they are so big that they can’t help you and expect to make a profit. If they could help you, they’d need a small army of managers and directors just to make your project successful.
  2. Freelance – the Gig Economy. This might work for you if you already know a freelancer that is very good at exactly what you need (website testing for functionality and cross-browser/device) and is not already booked with another gig.  If you have to go find that person for the first time, be prepared to put in some detailed work to find, select, pilot and then manage the project to success. Online freelancer boards are great and can give you a lot of good information to make your choice. But, there are a lot of non-qualified freelancers that will answer your call to help and you’ll have to spend time sorting the wheat from the chaff.
  3. DIY – Do It Yourself – This might work as well.  It could be you or it could be someone else in your business. If you take this approach, it will work but it won’t work very well. Here’s why – you simply haven’t been trained in how to think about and perform website testing. It’s not hard and you could definitely learn it but your business’s newly launched website probably isn’t the best place to get started.
  4. TESTCo – Safe. Easy. Reliable. Software and website testing is all we do. We’re highly trained in software testing methods and systems. We see hundreds of website testing projects every year. We know the right tools to use, when to use them and what to look for. We are the right size for you so we can complete your small, 1 or 2 day project as easily as we complete larger multi-month testing projects.

Is TESTCo Your Goldilocks?

If you have a website testing project or are just not confident in the website testing that has been done already, please consider that TESTCo may be your Goldilocks – just the right size and temperature!

You can talk with us and find out how we’re different and how that difference can benefit you. We work as an outsourced QA service, or on demand for projects.

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Web Application Testing

Web Application Testing Case Study

How Comprehensive, Tightly Managed Web Application Testing Enabled PDS to Keep a Critical Commitment to Customers.


On This Page

About Pharmacy Development Services

Pharmacy Development Services helps pharmacies develop critical and fundamental business principles that allow them to operate successfully. Their services, systems and software allow pharmacy owners to strategically plan and execute pharmacy-specific operational, training and marketing programs.

Event Deadline and a Project in Shambles

Pharmacy Development Services was in a difficult situation. They were trying to create a new member services platform to improve the way their clients access key information, cooperative resources, communities and connections.

The software project, dubbed PDS Advantage, was to replace an antiquated seven-year-old platform that wasn’t living up to the needs of their pharmacy clients.

After months of development, the look and feel of the new web application was on target, but the functionality wasn’t there yet. “It seemed like there were a lot of elements working . .  until they didn’t,” said Kelley Babcock, Chief Operating Officer at PDS.

“It was difficult for me to sift through all the technical stuff and determine who needed to be responsible for what and who was letting us down on our team – both internally and externally.” The company’s marketing agency should have been conducting web application testing during the development process, but they overlooked some key people and process issues.

Adding to the stress, was that the new software needed to launch at their yearly business development conference in Orlando, Florida. The February conference was only a month away, and they had scheduled their CEO to be on stage, demonstrating the new software and promoting its virtues. Client attendees were already looking forward to the big reveal.

The crisis ramped up even more in early January, just a month away from the show. “It became painfully apparent to me that we didn’t have an internal project plan, and we lacked a scope of work that would allow us to confidently hit the milestones necessary for a show date launch.” explained Babcock. They also wanted to have PDS members try the solution right after the conference.

Our credibility and the reputation of our CEO and founder were on the line.

“If we failed to meet the show deadline, the level of customer dissatisfaction level would have been astronomical,” said Babcock. “That may sound melodramatic, but even if 20% to 30% of our members were highly dissatisfied, it would have been catastrophic. If we lost 20% of our member base, for example, that kind of outcome was just unthinkable to us.”

TESTCo Rescue

In early January, PDS sent up an SOS signal to TESTCo. “Our credibility and the reputation of our CEO and founder Dan Benamoz was on the line,” said Babcock. “Fortunately, the minute I raised the alarm, Dan said, ‘I know who we have to call immediately!’” Benamoz and TESTCo’s founder, Jeff Hotz, belong to the same business strategy group, so the timing and support relationship were impeccable.

The companies made the proper introductions, and things went into crisis management mode. Babcock led daily meetings to navigate TESTCo employees through the challenges at hand. “I was driving those meetings,” said Babcock. “In non-crisis times, the COO is usually not the one drilling down to that level.”

“I was protecting our dedication to the user experience,” she continued. TESTCo’s Cristina Nistor led a team of developers, strategists and web application testing experts to manage the project.

“Cristina and her team worked continually behind the scenes to make sure the member experience was seamless and flawless,” said Babcock. “Cristina was our white knight in shining armor.”

A Comprehensive Web Application Testing Solution

TESTCo made sure every link, every function and every click behaved exactly how it should in the PDS Advantage application. They tested the application on every known browser and device, including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer, desktops, tablets, iPads, iPhones, Androids and Windows Phones.

“I felt like the testing process was extremely comprehensive,” said Babcock. The project management software includes message boards, a resource library, implementation tools and internal communication features that each pharmacy can use. It’s pre-loaded with more than 40 turnkey programs designed specifically for pharmacists. If one of the pharmacies wants to implement a free children’s’ vitamin program, for example, the system makes it really easy. They search for ‘free children’s vitamins,’ and up comes a template with every step and resource needed to launch a comprehensive program. The resources include team training processes, marketing collateral, policies and more. All the user needs to do is search, download, assign tasks to their team and put a due date on the project.

“Our clients went to school to be pharmacists,” explained Babcock. “They didn’t go to school to become trainers, marketers, and operations managers. With our software solution, they don’t have to reinvent the wheel and do all heavy lifting on their own. That’s a huge benefit. They get to do what they do best – pharmacology.”

Just In Time

Even though they were working on a tight deadline and the tasks were highly technical, Babcock was easily able to follow their progress. “TESTCo put things into a language that was easy to understand and describe,” she said. “We were getting into the weeds, but our collaboration was delightful. You never thought about it as drudgery. I liked the personal connection.” That personal connection even went so far as to include changing languages. “When TESTCo found out that our marketing strategist for service delivery, Omar Avila, spoke Spanish, they started holding those meetings in Spanish, which was nice.”

When the PDS business development conference finally arrived, they were ready to go. CEO Benamoz took the stage and introduced the app, their marketing lead paced through some of the new features, and customers were able to test drive the new application right there at the show. “The confidence we felt was a direct result of TESTCo’s efforts,” said Babcock.

“Without that final push, we would have had to apologize, iterate and continue developing the software well past the conference,” said Babcock. “Because of TESTCo, we didn’t have to do that.”

Key: A Strong Project Lead

Babcock credits a lot of the project’s success to TESTCo QA Manager Cristina Nistor. “She’s highly competent with great attention to detail, follow through, and execution,” said Babcock. “She could look at our processes and people – all the moving parts of the project – and isolate, identify and advise on next steps. Her level of expertise allowed me to have confidence that we’d get it done right before the show.”

The weeks leading up to the business development conference were tense for all involved, but everything worked out. “It was an unparalleled, exceptional experience in terms of service, competency, and advisory guidance,” said Babcock. “We couldn’t have done it without the TESTCo’s web application testing team.”

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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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QA Testing Services

How QA Testing Services Elevate the Role of QA Manager

In this Post

It’s safe to say that QA Managers are under-appreciated in their companies. Too often they’re seen by the rest of the organization as the person who prevented the product from launching on time. Ouch!

It’s completely unfair to be seen as the goat, and it’s certainly no fun to always be in firefighting mode.

What if I explained how using the right QA testing services can change the perception from goat to hero? Or, from “the head of testing”, to “our #1 brand ambassador?” I believe that QA can deliver a lot more value to the organization than simply testing software and reporting bugs. Consider this axiom:

“Testing” happens when you tell your tester what to test.

“Software Quality” happens when your team knows the goals and constraints, has a well thought out strategy and plan to achieve them, and a unique person to support and hold everyone accountable to their part in achieving the goals.

I talk with QA Managers every day who want their team to be perceived as contributing more to the business. They just aren’t quite sure how to go about it. Permit me to present a perspective I’ve developed since founding TESTCo in 2002 (yep, that’s a lot of QA experience).

Identify and Communicate the Real Business Value of QA

The quality of your software is reflected in:

  • Customer satisfaction or complaints
  • Engineering staff retention or turnover
  • Business goal success or failure
  • Your personal delight or embarrassment

In fact, software quality probably means more than you realized! At the core of what QA does is mitigate risk that threatens to rob profits and dilute brand loyalty.

If your business builds software, mobile apps or websites (for yourself or others) then your business risk is high because of technology. In these cases, QA testing services become a very necessary and strategic asset for the organization. After all, it’s your software, mobile app or website that brings you new customers. What could be more critical to your business than that? Answer: Nothing.

Anxiety in the Face of Risk

It’s understandable if your anxiety is growing because your testing team (internal or outsourced) is giving you the run-around.

You know, those weekly Sprint meetings where you’re supposed to help Engineering get everyone on the same page, but you wind up feeling disgruntled? Like you didn’t get the information you really need from the testers.

Or, you’re having to calm down a frustrated engineering manager because of a fix-one, break-one scenario where software defects get fixed but something else breaks. Yeah, and what about the angry phone call from the product manager who’s hearing about surprising bugs that users are finding after release? There’s a way out of this nightmare.

The Best QA Testing Services Start with the Right Strategy

You’ve heard it before – there is more than one way to skin a cat. There is also more than one way to test your software. The key (and our preliminary goal for you) is to get as much QA testing services benefit as possible at the lowest possible cost.

Effective strategies start with a clear goal and list of constraints. These are the boundaries of the strategy and there are a variety of different ways to combine QA testing services in order to achieve your goal within your constraints.

The best strategy will provide you with the most benefit for the least cost. At TESTCo, we’ll provide you with several strategies we’ve considered and a recommendation for the one that suits your goals the best.

With a defined strategy you’re able to better communicate with Engineering and Product Management. You can set expectations more accurately.

Best Practices Beyond the Testing Tool Stack

We’ve been testing software since 2002. In that time we’ve perfected a process and philosophy that work really, really well for delivering business value beyond simply finding defects. You see, we don’t just find bugs, we help the development team deliver software that thrills and excites your customers. It’s not the tools we use, it’s the brain power and discipline we put into every assignment.

As QA Manager, when you have access to accurate information and clarity of purpose you’re in a stronger position to deliver business value that is broadly recognized and appreciated. The following is a list of “must-haves” if you seek to elevate QA’s contribution to the business.

  1. An understandable report on the exact features completed and tested every day – twice daily. Not just completed. Completed and Tested.
  2. A detailed understanding of your business and technical goals and priorities and their current daily status during your Sprint. Your priorities, not whatever the Dev team can get done.
  3. A strong foundation of regression testing and measurement of coverage. Yes, good old-fashioned test cases built over time and then run as a final regression prior to releasing. No more surprise defects after you launch.
  4. Weekly product quality meetings with the project QA Manager to review your software development quality measures and processes with recommendations for small improvements that make a big difference. Say goodbye to bad or missing estimates and buggy code that causes missed dates. You’ll see your software quality metrics in real time and be able to make smart adjustments to achieve your goals.
  5. Daily software testing by a Test Engineer.

Do our best practices pay off? Read what other QA Manager have to say about working with TESTCo.

 

Brains Matter

Notice in the previous section that I mentioned QA Manager and Test Engineers. I’ll expand on this important point.

Sure, you’re a QA Manager – in role if not in title. But imagine if you had on the project testing team a like-minded QA Manager to help you get the strategy right, develop the test plan, and report to you daily? This proposition is even more attractive when the QA Manager is available at no additional cost, speaks English fluently, and is based in the Central time zone (as is the case with TESTCo).

For example, if my company works for you, here are the things you can count on your QA Manager for:

  1. Analyze and select the best QA Strategy for your unique situation, goals and constraints
  2. Building and tracking the QA Plan to make sure Real Value is delivered every day
  3. Constantly confirm or replan so that the Goals are achievable within the Constraints
  4. Coach and support the Test Engineers to peak performance
  5. Negotiate and resolve blocking issues
  6. Lead post-mortem meetings to improve the next Sprint

I deliberately differentiate between Test Engineers and Testers. Software Test Engineer or Software Tester. Test Engineers are engineers who love to test. They have the mindset of engineers: “Let’s define the problem set a goal, and make it happen.” In other words, Test Engineers don’t have to be told what to do. They’ll figure out the best path to take once they understand the goals and constraints. Plus, because they’re engineers they know how to communicate effectively with the Dev team. Testers are generally limited to doing whatever you tell them to do.

We Know There’s More to QA Than Just Testing Software

I hope my perspective on QA is helpful to you. Maybe it has inspired you to elevate the role QA plays in the organization. I’d love the opportunity to help you.

We’re experts that diligently and consistently test and measure the quality and readings of your product relative to your business and technical goals.

We do the QA Testing work necessary for effective business and technical decisions. If you don’t have a daily report on your goals and quality, you’re missing key information that you need to build a stronger and more profitable business.

TESTCo provides everything you need in QA Testing Services to easily and successfully launch your website, mobile app or software.

Say good-bye to frustration, buggy software, disappointed customers and missed prospects. Say hello to a stronger and more profitable business because your software is an asset rather than a liability.

If this makes sense to you let’s talk about the state of software QA in your organization. Just click the green button on this page to schedule a time to chat with me.

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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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Web Application Testing Service

Three Things to Know Before Looking for a Web Application Testing Service

So, you think you’re ready for a web application testing service? Congrats!

That means your web application is almost ready!

You and your team have busted your buns over the past few weeks and you’re almost ready to launch.

You’ve tested it yourself already and it looks pretty darn good.

But, maybe you’re a little bit worried that you might have missed some bugs.

This launch is important to you and you want to make sure it works perfectly for every visitor, prospect and customer.

So, you’re looking for just a little help to make sure you have all the bugs and nasties worked out of your web application.

You searched for “Web Application Testing Service” and. . .

  • The endless lists of services, technologies, systems and industries doesn’t help you.
  • The bullet points of “standard” benefits doesn’t help you.
  • The forever scrolling web page of reasons to test doesn’t help you either.

You don’t have the time to sort through all that nonsense just to see if those folks can help you.

OK, try this.

Do a little homework so finding the best web app testing service for you will be like a piece of cake.

Below is basic information to help you get focused. If you want more detail, check out the brief guide we’ve written about web application testing services.

Web Apps Have Three Primary Areas of Risk

There are more than three, but these are the biggies.

Functional Testing

Do the inputs and outputs of your web application behave correctly each and every time? If your team has already done a good job of testing this and you are confident in their work, then you can skip this service.

But, if you aren’t confident – even if it’s just a small or hard to test area of your web application – speak up and let us know. Your confidence in your web application is the biggest criteria.

Load and Performance Testing

Will your web application respond quickly enough when a lot of people visit? You probably haven’t considered this and it shouldn’t be a big concern unless you know that your web application is going to get hit pretty hard due to a planned marketing program. Even then, most modern technology stacks and cloud-based servers will let you adjust your web application server settings to quickly respond to a rapid increase in usage.

Testing Load and Performance will give you a definite read on when and where your web application will degrade under different loads. In most cases, you’ll be OK without testing this until you have a large user base or complex functionality in your web application. If you think you might have a high load or high usage situation, say something so we can include the best and most appropriate aspects of Load and Performance Testing in your test plan.

Cross Browser Testing (XBT)

Will your web application behave properly on all of the different devices, operating systems and browsers out there? This is the big one because browser technology is changing almost daily. Additionally, most mobile users give you about three seconds to lose their attention and desktop users will only give you about 5 seconds before they give up and move on. Said another way, This is the highest risk and least understood quality problem with almost every web application out there. And, the defect and bugs discovered in this type of testing are the sneakiest to ferret out.

Lastly, there are just too many different combinations of browsers, operating systems and devices to test every one economically. If you *know* your customers’ most common devices, operating systems and browsers, you’re off to a perfect start on Cross Browser Testing.

Three Things to Know Before Looking for a Web Application Testing Service

  1. Do you need functional testing and if so, which areas concern you the most?
  2. Do you expect a high user load and worry about performance?
  3. You Need XBT! If you know the most common browser versions, you’ll save a lot of time and money.

Here’s a case study that looks at how TESTCo’s web application testing service prevented a major fiasco and business failure.

Outsourced Software QA Case Study

TESTCo Software Testing Solutions Make Life Easy for Journyx Product Manager

Meredith Zachritz, director of product management at Journyx, reviews customer requirements and market trends then turns that analysis into products that add significant, tangible value to the organizations that purchase them. Her work includes everything from research, development and QA to product promotion and follow-up support.

At one point, the company tried to outsource software testing to India, but it didn’t quite work. “There were communication issues,” explained Zachritz. “When new releases hit the customer base, code was incredibly buggy.” The ensuing support they had to deliver almost killed the company.

What Zachritz really needed was quality testing leadership, a clear roadmap for QA, and a solid testing management team that could provide highly-skilled engineering talent plus proven best practices.

TESTCo Delivers Testing Solutions Plus Tangible Customer Benefits

Since hiring TESTCo, Zachritz no longer worries about team management, rotations, hiring and training, and she can focus on release plans, software improvement and customer value. “Before, hiring and training interruptions would throw off all my annual release plans,” she said.

TESTCo delivered a complete solution, with a local Quality Assurance Manager (QAM) and an expert team of Testing Engineers (TEs). With TESTCo, Zachritz sees no interruption if a TE is replaced. “We don’t have to go out and do recruiting, hiring or even training” said Zachritz. “It’s just amazing how few interruptions there are.”

Prior to hiring TESTCo, the training piece alone would create an additional two to three weeks of disruption. With TESTCo’s pre-trained team in place, Zachritz plugs in a new TE within minutes of the previous engineer’s departure. Since that person is already trained and ready to go, there’s no lag in productivity.

For Zachritz, the improvements had a direct impact on her job and boosted her confidence in their software quality. The big development? Their latest release was delivered with zero customer found defects. That helped Zachritz look like a superstar within the company. “People here were saying, wow, nobody’s reporting any bugs!” said Zachritz. “It was a story going around the company. It was the highest quality release I can remember.”

That level of confidence was something Zachritz had never experienced beforehand. “I don’t have to worry about it, and I’m confident that I’m delivering a quality product,” she said.

“I don’t have to fight fires and clean up after a release goes out.”

Before, they used to have customer found defects that would generate a cycle of hot fixes, maintenance releases and general rework which would derail their release plan. With TESTCo’s QA, Zachritz didn’t have to worry about fixes and could focus on new valuable features for customers.

The improvements spilled over into other departments. The customer service department noted significant changes. “A lot of our existing customers tell us what wonderful support we have and how quickly we respond to any kind of an issue,” said Zachritz. “We’re just no longer bogged down with a ton of problems.”

Zachritz can now deliver valuable features faster, and get customer input on code that actually works. The results produce a direct impact on sales, since each new release and upgrade represents an opportunity for new revenues from existing and prospective customers. Journyx sales people also benefit. Their confidence in live demos increased exponentially and allowed them to present to clients with no embarrassing crashes.

With TESTCo as an outsource QA testing partner, Zachritz, Journyx, and the company’s customers all emerged victorious with a holistic solution to software development, testing and delivery.

About Journyx

Thousands of companies worldwide employ solutions from Journyx to track and manage their time, expenses and resources. Employees at some of the world’s largest companies use Journyx solutions to increase productivity and save money.

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