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 3rd 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

Everyone was all hyped up to get the new application in the hands of the sales people, but there were some glaring issues.

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.

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Getting Started with Outsourced Software Testing

According to an article in IT Pro/silicon.com, one in three offshore or outsourced software testing projects fail. Research firm Ventoro found that “the main cause of offshore testing failures is a lack of preparation and poor execution by the user organization.” Ventoro went on to conclude that some offshore software testing companies can try to “steamroller the initial engagement process” in a rush to get the contract signed. MIT reports that only 37% of offshore testing co-sourced projects succeed and 50% of offshore software testing strategic partnerships fail.  How do you like those odds? In the event that you do fail, where is the flaming finger of blame going to point?  If your company depends on software for either new revenue or operational efficiency and productivity then it seems like making this type of bet on outsourced software testing and development is overly risky.

Here are a few things you can do to improve the odds in your favor and minimize your risk:

  • Start with the best outsourced software testing company you can find
  • Focus on the lowest risk area
  • Demand daily deliverables
  • Insist on real value
  • Use a scorecard
  • Report and adjust every week

TESTCo is a software testing company that provides offshore testing, software testing services, outsourced software testing and offshore software testing.

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