Outsource Software Testing

Outsource Software Testing – Painful Lessons

This is the true story of a real estate company that learned about promises and quality the hard way. They learned that it’s not always a good decision to just trust a third-party software developer to deliver the quality they promised. They also learned the value of outsource software testing when trying to get a mission critical software project back on track.

One of TESTCo’s real estate clients – a company that shall go nameless for reasons you’ll soon understand – was trying to develop the ultimate software for distributing and tracking available properties in their portfolio. By ignoring the need to outsource software testing, they quickly found themselves in a pinch.

The company’s old application was cumbersome, slow to load new properties, and a giant hassle in terms of administration, updates and changes. Their clients, the agents within the brokerage, had numerous requests for new features that would help improve sales and revenue. They wanted better information and more insight into the data they were collecting.

Naturally, they got really excited when a real estate software development team they found promised them the moon. The developers said all the right things, ensuring easier data loading, improved content management and a faster path to sales nirvana. What they forgot to consider was the quality of the software delivered and the need to outsource software testing for a mission critical business application. 


Well, Not So Fast

When development ended everyone was all hyped up to get the new application into– the hands of the sales people, but there were a number of glaring issues that raised questions about the project that we can all learn from.

  1. When does regression testing of the outsourced development become a mission-critical activity?
  2. When is the right time for Outsourced Software Testing?
  3. What happens when outsourced development goes wrong?
  4. What is the best Outsourced Software Testing ROI?

For starters, the outsourced developers only tested new features they designed and were hot for. The developers also failed to perform regression testing or thought they didn’t need to. When you outsource software development, regression testing is typically the most important part of delivering high-quality software.

The real estate company had no experience with outsourced software development. Their core business is moving properties, not batches of code. They relied on the advice of the outsourced software development shop and misguidedly cut some corners by doing their own internal QA testing instead of using professional software testing. In the real estate company’s defense, the outsourced software consultants didn’t offer a professional, third-party outsource testing option. The software developer thought they tested it well enough internally – and this almost never happens! With no prior software development experience, the real estate company didn’t even know it was on the table as an option. And, the contract terms were loose enough to allow the development shop to meet deadlines with low quality deliverables.

As you can guess, when the real estate software project got closer to completion, all kinds of defects started showing up. Features that previously worked in the old software were showing up broken in the new system! The trial and beta launches were a complete disaster.

Correcting Course with Counsel from an Outsourced Software Testing Company, TESTCo

When things were looking really bleak, the real estate company decided to correct course and hire TESTCo for their outsourced software testing to see exactly what was going on.

TESTCo designed a test strategy focused on achieving high regression testing coverage in a short period of time (to match their 2-week release cycle). We brought in a Test Engineer  experienced with exploratory testing strategies, and he built an automated ad-hoc testing program that looked for defects without a specific set of test cases. We also added a software QA track to the project plan and implemented burst-mode regression testing so sprints were not delayed, which spot checked and discovered regression defects during the new feature testing and development processes.

Abandon Ship!

With thorough testing and QA procedures under way, the real estate company began to assess the risks involved with completing the project and waiting for the software developer to fix the problems.

They came to a somewhat brutal conclusion. They wouldn’t be able to complete the project. They’d have to abandon ship, cancel the project without throwing more money away, and retreat to the old system in order to claw back some of its functionality. They ended up modifying the old system, testing it with TESTCo outsource software testing services, and relaunching that solution on time without any defects within three months.

Why It can Make Sense to Hire an Outsource Software Testing Firm Before Starting Development

It was an unfortunate lesson, but at least they got back to a working system that could handle some basic property listing tasks. Sadly, this happens often in the software development world. Companies with no software design and development experience hire outside developers that can’t deliver on their promises. They get oversold and then retreat, licking their wounds, discouraged by shattered technology dreams.

The moral of the story? Hire a solid outsource testing company like TESTCo prior to launching a mission-critical software development project. We can act as consultants and help you vet developers while designing test plans that help guide the project to success.

Can we make a difference for you? Read what our clients have to say.

Consider the Cost

There is another reason to think carefully about how you design,build and test your software.

When a mistake, defect or error is discovered during the Design Phase of your software project, the cost to fix it is simply a little time discussing the true need and then changing the design documentation.

When a defect is noticed during the Building Phase of your software project, the cost to fix it is larger – close to 10X greater than the cost to discover it in the Design Phase. Why? A mistake in the Build Phase will require significant time and effort for the Design Team to validate the requirement and then the Build Team to go back, re-write the offending code (and any other closely related code) and then test it again. This is far greater cost than during the Design Phase where the changes were only to the requirements.

When a defect is discovered during the Test Phase of your software project, the cost is even larger – again, close to 10X greater than the cost to discover it during the Build Phase. Why? A defect discovered during the Test Phase already has countless hours of engineering time to build the feature. Additionally, the defect has cost you Testing time as well. Now, add to that, the need to re-validate the requirement, confirm that the test case and defect is accurate and then get it rebuilt by the Build Team (along with any other affected or related code because defects seldom happen by themselves) and then re-tested by the Test Team.

Lastly, when a defect is discovered by one of your customers after it has been launched, the cost is approximately 10X greater than the cost to discover it during the Test Phase. If you have a defect in your production software, it will incur all of the previous costs to find, validate and fix. It will also probably cost you a customer or prospect if they can not complete their work with your software.

Defects can be Very Expensive. Testing Early and Extra is almost always an investment with a generous return. Testing with an outsource software testing specialist like TESTCo can decrease your costs and amplify your returns. I look forward to speaking with you.

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.


Share This:
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

Share This: