Web Application Quality Assurance

Four Perspectives, One Recommendation for Web Application Quality Assurance

Building an excellent web application is hard, especially if your web application quality assurance isn’t what it should be.

But, you can make it easier if you do a little thinking and preparation about QA prior to starting your web application project.

Your quality assurance and testing methods will determine how efficiently you and your team deliver your web application project and achieve your goals. That’s right. QA is often the critical factor even though it is typically the last or next-to-last phase of a web application project.

The Payoff for Success and the Cost of Failure

You might be wondering, “Is web application QA worth it?” This is a great question, particularly in light of the limited budgets that we all have for our projects. Your web application project is probably important to you and your business. You probably expect to grow your business with this project, right? You’re making an investment in your business and you expect a return, right? This is the Payoff of Success for you!

But, your web application project could fail, too. You probably won’t see a complete and total crash of your server. In fact, it’s what you WON’T SEE that will hurt you.

The payoff for success for using web application QA can be very lasting. This is because web application QA will save you money in the short and long term due to the reduced development costs and the growth it provides.

  • Reduced costs: This might seem counter-intuitive because paying for QA services seems to add to your costs. In order to fully understand how QA reduces cost, you must understand the steps within software development where you can be charged. Web application QA identifies and eliminates bugs within your application. Just by taking care of bugs early on, QA starts saving money for your application immediately. With fewer bugs and catching all the other problems early on, the costs for development initially can be greatly reduced.
  • Growth: One of the most important aspects of growth is reducing customer churn. With web applications, customers can leave your app for many reasons. Bugs, slow performance and other user related issues are some of the primary reasons that customers abandon apps. QA can test your application at all stages of development to ensure the least likelihood of customer attrition and churn. With QA, your application will retain more customers because it will not have bugs and it will perform much better.

What are your biggest risks without web application QA? In most cases, losing current customers is your biggest risk and not converting new prospects is your second biggest risk. What you probably WON’T SEE is current customer or new prospects that experience a “bug” in your web application. Not a big BUG, but just enough to cause them to feel uncertain or frustrated. They either COULD NOT do what they wanted or they were SURPRISED and CONFUSED when the see an unexpected error message.

This can have several multi-layered consequences that can damage your business. The customers that had difficulties with using your application because of a bug can generate bad marketing for your application. This bad publicity with your application can damage your brand significantly. What do these customers and prospects do when this happens? They LEAVE your web application and your business suffers from that loss.

Web application quality assurance can help you find and correct these before your customers and prospects get a nasty surprise.

And, It’s Easier than You Think

How hard is adding web application QA to my project? Adding  testing and quality assurance to your web application project is much easier than you think – even if you’re nearing the end of your project.

Here’s how TESTCo makes it really easy:

  1. Contact us via our webform and we’ll get in touch within 1 business day – sometimes within a few minutes!
  2. Schedule a 30 minute phone call with us so we can answer your questions and learn a little more about your project.
  3. If you like what you hear as we answer your questions, then schedule a 90 minute scoping with us where you “Show and Tell” us about your project. We also have a list of questions we’ll ask so we can prepare a custom proposal for your project.
  4. Within a day or so, you’ll receive our proposal that contains several strategies that we’ve evaluated and a recommended strategy, plan and estimate for your project.
  5. Tell us when you want to start!

Your investment of a couple hours could turn into a game changer in the quality of your web application project. We ALWAYS find defects.

Consider These Four Perspectives to Dramatically Improve Your Success

  1. Technical Accuracy – is your web application built on a technology stack that is mature and aligned with your project goals? What risks does my technical stack add or remove from my web application? Or is it based on your lead developer’s most current fascination with a new technology? Proven technology stacks that are purposely built to match your project’s goals can eliminate up to 50% of your web application quality assurance time.
  2. Functional Accuracy – are your requirements and specifications documented and stable? Word-of-mouth testing (where your developers tell your testers what needs to be tested) is a terrible strategy and almost always results in post-launch defects. Usually big ones! Documenting your requirements and specifications provide a road map for your web application quality assurance team to build accurate and meaningful test cases that reflect exactly what you web application does.
  3. User Accuracy – what do your users expect when using your web application? Are they Mobile First or are the desk-bound Knowledge Workers? Do they already know everything they need to successfully use your web application? What kind of prompts, help, support or training might they need? Can those basic user needs to eliminated through features in your web application? What browsers and operating systems do they use? Knowing how your users will use your web application can reduce your web application quality assurance time by as much as 25% by eliminating unnecessary scenarios.
  4. The Cost and Certainty of Success – You want to achieve your goal. You’ve invested time, money and a little bit of yourself in the pursuit of your goal. You’re close and now you want or need some testing to finish and launch your software. Web application quality assurance reduces the risk of failing to achieve your goal. Do you know what you’ve invested, thus far, to achieve your goal? Does each unique user represent a potential sale? Would a defect prevent that potential sale? You don’t “have” to test your software if you’re OK with the potential cost or revenue loss of a defect. And, you (or we, or anyone really) won’t catch and prevent every defect. How many defects can you afford before you fail to achieve your goal?

The first three perspectives focus on the technical side of making your application work. The technical accuracy perspective focuses on ensuring that the fundamental tech stack of your application is right. This is vital because without the right stack, the rest of the application will crumble. The functional accuracy perspective focuses on strategies and actions of your QA team to make sure the application is flawless post-launch. User accuracy focuses on enhancing the user experience and solving other user-based issues, while the fourth perspective focuses on the business and objectives of the project.

These four lenses examine your approach to QA and your application from a holistic perspective. Each perspective addresses a business or technical need that are required to be solved prior to application launch. By viewing this from all of these angles, you will have an answer to any issues that arise during testing and development. These are important questions to pose to any QA provided and your internal team. If they cannot figure out specific questions like why your application is using a specific technology stack or what can your users expect when using your application, this can lead to more fundamental and root issues with your application. The questions provided should be explored periodically throughout the testing and development stages until the application is thoroughly refined and ready for the market

A Recommendation from Me to You about Web Application Quality Assurance

Get talented help! – You wouldn’t ask an inexperienced designer to build your UI/UX, would you? You wouldn’t hire a HTML coder to build your web application engine, would you? Of course not!

We recommend that you hire the best software testing talent you can find. Be aware that there is a difference between testers and Test Engineers.

If you’re in the middle of a web application project and need quality assurance help, we can help with on-demand testing.

We’ve saved more than one development project at the last hour.

If you’re just starting or just thinking about your next web application project, give us a call. We’re happy to share what we know so your QA plan will contribute to the success of the project.

QA as a Service | QAaaS

QA-As-A-Service, The Missing Link For Product Managers

In This Post

QA-as-a-Service for Product Owners is more than software testing. QAaaS provides fast and easy development testing plus your business goals delivered on time and with eliminated or reduced risks.

QAaaS is a flexible way to bridge the gap between freshly coded features and your customers’ needs and desires. QAaaS is capable of testing a wide range of software systems, platforms, and applications in real-world environments and using real-world user and test cases. It uses agile and flexible processes across the entire software development life cycle from Alpha and Beta phases, through production. It is highly focused on needs and encompasses large-scale system testing as necessary.

TESTCo was founded in 2002 to serve the unique requirements of Software Product Managers. Our QA Managers and Test Engineers know the services and procedures needed to support every aspect of Quality Assurance as a Service.

You can take advantage of this experience right now, just by downloading the Product Manager’s Check List for QA.

Quality as a Service Check List

Find and Eliminate Risks Before They Become a Problem

Risk remediation is a biggie. Product Managers (and their bosses) don’t like surprises. Therefore, our QA-as-a-service reduces surprises by cutting risk. Here’s how:

  • We simplify complexity so that everyone can understand it.
  • We measure real progress towards goals and release dates.
  • We trap and control blocking issues before they stop your project.

A good example is regression testing: Nobody wants to wait through a long regression testing cycle, but releasing without one is very risky. We recommend fast regression testing through release, so there aren’t big surprises on the eve of the target release date. 

Regression testing allows you to:

  • Prevent functionality crashes: When new features are added to a product or platform, several difficulties can arise due to misalignment between the new features and old features. With regression testing, functionality crashes that can be detrimental to your product are prevented
  • Detect all bugs and defects: Regression testing also identifies all bugs and defects before they make an impact on the product deployment. These harmful bugs can be prevented, assessed and fixed before deployment. This leads to less time and money on efforts related to resolving bugs; this directly reduces the time to market for the product.
  • Continuous integration: If you have a platform or product that needs continuous integration, regression testing is vital. Performing regression tests after incorporating new code ensures that any new changes don’t affect the current performance of a product. As a product has more code integrated over time, regression tests become more beneficial.

What Concerns Product Managers

Product Managers care about more than “testing,” and some haven’t had the opportunity yet to see how the advantages of a QAaaS company can help them achieve their customer goals.

Here’s what concerns Product Managers.

  • “Oh, we should have caught that in grooming.”
  • “Our stories (storyboards) are missing something but I’m not sure what.”
  • “What are the real acceptance criteria?”
  • “QA is just an expense or tax that we want to minimize.”
  • “We’re not sure what DONE really means yet.”
  • “We need more QA, not just testing.”
  • “Are we testing the user experience enough?”

Additional concerns for product managers include doing enough customer validation to ensure the product being built is truly useful and can be validated by the customer. Customer validation drives product and platform success because it provides valuable insights before launch. Without customer validation, it’s easy to overlook features and other requirements that the customer wants.

In addition to customer validation, tracking KPIs is crucial. Tracking KPIs allows product managers to assess if new features or changes have improved or weakened any aspects of the product. Tracking KPIs exposes strengths and weakness while setting expectations and improving overall management. KPIs are some of the few ways product managers can quantify progress, so tracking it is extremely beneficial.

Lastly, it’s important to ensure that QA has all the possible use cases and protocols to verify no additional bugs are introduced. With this, QA is well-equipped with a plan of action to handle any difficulties that emerge like bugs.

When QA as a Service is Missing

Each of these Product Managers was missing something (or someone) in the QA function that if present could have had a very positive impact on the product’s goals. QAaaS provides everything you need to bridge the gap and ensure your product delight your customers.

Some problems that can arise from lack of QA include bugs and “fire” based problems. These problems can be detrimental because it can halt a customer from using a product or platform. By using QA, any bugs can be detected before they cause significant issues to a product.

QA can also be more value-oriented. It’s known that QA can detect bugs and perform similar tasks, but QA can power work in solutions architecture. This can turn QA into a deploy able utility for sales teams and customers. This helps shift QA past being a part of the product definition phase to being more utilizing in other aspects of the business. This in turn makes QA directly generate value independently (from a non-functional requirement to a functional requirement).

A Product Manager’s Dream Come True

QA-as-a-service comes through in our complete understanding of software company priorities, goals, and constraints. By gathering information upfront, we form and make recommendations, test plans, and feedback targeted to the client’s needs. Product Managers get their products delivered faster, cheaper, and better.

With TESTCo, project managers can easily communicate with QA teams. In the case of an urgent bug that stops the platform, project managers can let QA teams know exactly what problems they are experienced and the QA team will focus on fixing the bug until the platform works properly. QA teams can start addressing the specific bug at hand within a matter of hours after contact.

Testing What Users Really Want

There is much more to accurately and effectively testing a software project than just running the tests! Our Product Manager clients consistently tell us that their top priority is a valuable user experience. Yes, this does require testing to make sure nothing goes wrong – the app doesn’t crash and it provides useful information. But, there’s another aspect to user testing that’s frequently overlooked. User Value Testing – does the software project truly deliver on the promise and prompt them to return for more? TESTCo provides this as a regular part of our strategy.

Easy and Painless

TESTCo never outsources software QA testing work. Keeping the job in-house makes reaching the results both easy and painless.

Projects Delivered on Time

Test plans are accurate, followed with care and precision, and projects are delivered on time. Sprint Goals, exit criteria, and key performance indicators are clear to prevent the team’s attention and efforts from wandering. Everyone knows when they are “done” because that point is clearly defined.

Faster Development Cycles

The developers are fast when they have two things: crystal-clear stories and requirements, along with inline and real-time validation. TESTCo Test Engineers test and validate work as soon as it is completed, based on the stories and requirements.

Achieve Business Goals

Our QA-as-a-Service is designed to support the business goals of the product. You can expect us to ask what the goals are before we start. QA helps Product Managers meet the expectations of the business and their customers. QA drives the testing before the processes start and are ready when you are. 

Find and Eliminate Risks Before They Become a Problem

Risk remediation is a biggie. Product Managers (and their bosses) don’t like surprises. Therefore, our QA-as-a-service reduces surprises by cutting risk. Here’s how:

  1. We simplify complexity so that everyone can understand it. 
  2. We measure real progress towards goals and release dates.
  3. We trap and control blocking issues before they stop your project. 

A good example is regression testing: Nobody wants to wait through a long regression testing cycle, but releasing without one is very risky. We recommend fast regression testing through release, so there aren’t big surprises on the eve of the target release date.  

When the Phone Rings

When a problem occurs, or the situation gets tense and time is rapidly sliding by, Product Managers give us a call to line up a Test Engineer/QA Manager team to step in and help get the hot-spot cooled off. They appreciate TESTCo’s ability to staff a Test Engineer and QA Manager for as little as a day and as quickly as tomorrow. 

Why let those problems linger?  And least you think our being extra valuable to Product Managers means a higher price tag, you can relax. We offer comprehensive solutions that increase ROI. 

How QAaaS Can Fit into Your Team

Your goals are our goals! Bringing an outsourced team into your software project team can be a big challenge. At TESTCo, our goal is to fit seamlessly into your team and processes without any disruptions. Our scoping process helps us uncover all the information we need to build a strategy to work with your team without disruptions! At a minimum, you’ll hear from us twice daily. But, if your team has stand up meetings, our Test Engineers and QA Managers sure like to be included.

Must-Haves To Elevate QA’s Contribution

When QA managers have access to accurate information and general business objectives, they are in a better position to provide value. Some of the ways to improve QA’s contribution to your business includes:

  • An understandable report with the exact features completed and tested every day. It’s important to emphasize that the features must be completed and tested twice daily.
  • A detailed understanding of your business and technical goals; this should include the current daily status of your sprint and your specific priorities in your business
  • A good foundation of regression testing along with measurement of coverage. This should be old-fashioned test cases built over time and then consequently run as a final regression prior to release. This will prevent surprise defects after launch.
  • Weekly product quality meetings with project QA manager: During these meetings, software development, quality measures and processes will be reviewed. This will prevent missing estimates and buggy code.
  • Daily software testing by a test engineer.

Maximizing Your QA Manager

Having great communication with the QA manager is vital because they are deeply ingrained into the projects and testing teams. QA managers play different roles and can serve many functions for your business. Incorporating your QA manager in decision-making when it comes to QA teams, hiring, etc. can be very beneficial due to their insights. Some avenues of maximizing your QA manager include:

  • Project leadership: QA managers can help you understand risk areas, identify goals and give you an estimate of what a QA team can produce for your business. The QA manager is involved in almost all projects, so they are the best resource for project leadership. QA managers are knowledgeable on client fears, risk areas and any technical concerns that come with certain projects. By utilizing the QA manager for input on projects, you’ll always have a good idea how a project is going and what are some potential difficulties that can arise.
  • Education: QA managers are a great resource when educating engineers, testers and any other members of the QA team. QA managers know what skills and knowledge the QA team has and how new training can be incorporated into the team while performing normal day to day functions for clients. Consulting with QA managers prior to any education or training programs for your business is crucial. Their insight can provide you the most cost-effective ways to educate your staff
  • Recruiting: Additionally, QA managers can help recruit talented engineers to reach your business objectives. QA managers are the best resource at assessing talent for your QA team. They know the specific tasks that are demanded from the QA team on a day to day basis; this is very beneficial in interviews because the QA manager can assess talent on the spot. Assessing talent is not only limited to technical skills, aspects like culture-fit and soft skills are important to finding the best fit. The QA manager also knows where to find the best talent for your QA team locally and remotely; this can include professional organizations, schools, etc.

How might we help you deliver your software faster, better and cheaper? I’d love to hear from you. Give me a call at 888-254.9709, or request a call back using the green button on this page.

Thanks to Richard Howes for contributing to this post - JCH

QA Software Testing Company

Does Your QA Software Testing Company Do Both?

That’s not a typo in the headline. I’ll repeat. Does your QA software testing company do both?

Both? Both what?

Why, both QA (Quality Assurance) and Software Testing, of course.

QA, Quality Assurance, is a goal and process.

Software Testing is an activity, usually inside the QA process.

Is This Difference Between QA And Software Testing Important?

It depends on what you have and what is important to you, of course.

If you already have a rock-solid QA process for your software quality, then software testing help may be all you need.

After all, your rock-solid QA process should inform you exactly when (and how much) you need software testing versus when you need test strategy and planning.

Your rock-solid QA process already has a SMART Goal that drives your software QA and testing team to the right activities at the right time with the right effort to achieve your goal, right?

But, if you don’t already have a rock-solid QA process, then you may need a little bit more than just software testing. A qualified QA software testing company, LIKE TESTCo, can (and should) help you with this as a natural part of their work with you.

Why Would You Even Need a QA Process?

There are three important reasons to consider building a QA process, even a small one, before you start software testing.

  1. You can’t test everything
  2. Testing can be expensive
  3. You can’t “undo” disappointed customers

As you can see, you can’t win in this situation unless you have unlimited time, money and fresh customers.

How can you win against these three big constraints?

Build a simple QA Process with a SMART Goal, clear strategy, and simple plan to achieve your goal.

Unless you already have a QA Process, goals, strategy and plan, you should seek a QA software testing company that does BOTH – QA and Testing.

Note: a QA software testing company CAN’T help you with this unless they assign a QA Manager to your project and they collect the information needed to build a SMART QA Goal. Testers, no matter how experienced, just don’t have the skills and training to build effective QA Goals or QA Processes.  TESTCo provides a QA Manager, at no additional charge, on every software testing project.

How Much QA Process Do You Need?

We think you should have the “Goldilocks” QA Process – not too much, not too little, just enough to achieve your business and quality goals with minimal risk.

Too much QA process will slow down your software development and release process and you’ll struggle to hit your release date targets.

Too little QA process and your customer service phone lines will light up like a Christmas tree.

A “just right” QA process should produce software that meets your business and quality goals and makes your team feel proud of their accomplishments.

Knowing Your Goal

How much is “just right”? That depends on your goals and constraints. If your goal is for ZERO defects, you should know that your budget is going to need to be *very* large. This type of quality is usually reserved for nuclear power plants and military software.

If you don’t have a quality goal and just need to get it “tested” then you won’t need much budget or time. But, your customers will probably experience significant bugs and delete your mobile application based on their poor experience. This type of quality is typically used by businesses testing a market or idea rather than penetrating and competing in that market. New customers are expensive to acquire and bad mobile applications or buggy web apps are one of the easiest ways to drive them away.

If you *do* have a quality goal, then the right amount of QA process is exactly the minimum needed to achieve your goal. This usually means investing in building test cases during your specification phase, designing and building test frameworks during your build phase, quickly executing test cases and reporting defects as soon as possible after it is built (real-time functional testing), and then a brief functional and cross-device regression testing after all the fixes are completed and prior to roll out.

Reaching For The Right Assistance

Helping you design, experiment and build your QA process is something that an experienced QA Software Testing Company can help you with. A mobile software development company can help you build your development process, but they seldom do well helping you design and build a software QA process.

Why? Software developers CREATE and BUILD software to add FEATURES. Test Engineers TEST and attempt to DESTROY software to find DEFECTS in the FEATURES. Test Engineers typically have the same university-level education and training as software developers, but have chosen a different path for their career. Additionally, QA Managers have a library of QA processes and strategies so an effective strategy and process that meets your specific needs is quick and easy to find, evaluate, and implement.

How Can You Know Which Vendor Has Which Capabilities?

That’s easy – here are three questions you can ask that will quickly and easily let you find out if the QA software testing company you’re talking to has both Quality Assurance and Software Testing experience you need.

  1. How do you establish and achieve quality goals for your clients? What is a recent example? QA Goals should be SMART Goals and have a clear plan for achievement. QA Goals should also have clear constraints – especially in Budget and Time – no project runs forever for free! Lastly, QA Goals should have clear Business Value – they achieve something useful that moves the entire business forward in achieving its’ goals.
  2. What variety and type of QA strategies do you consider when evaluating a client’s needs? What is your “go-to” strategy? There is always more than one way to achieve a goal – these are strategies and help you quickly determine if your plans can work to achieve the goal within the constraints. Sadly, one of the most popular QA Strategies is “test everything” and that seldom works. It feels good because you can see and measure a lot of activity but it almost never provides the detail and coverage most modern technology applications need. In some cases, it can actually be counter productive and delay a release! A smart QA Strategy should be proven effective and simple enough for stakeholders to understand and support.
  3. How do you document, update and communicate your test plans and percentage of goal completion? What is your goal completion percentage for your clients? Documentation of technology projects can be cumbersome but accurate documentation, reporting and measurement of QA and Testing is critically important. Poorly documented defects are literally worthless if they require developer time to diagnose and recreate the defect. Test plans are mathematical equations for demonstrating test coverage and completion across a technology project. They must be updated real-time to provide the real value a testing team needs to achieve their goal and the quality goal of the technology project. Goal completion is a critical value measure for outsourced software testing providers. Without measuring Goal Completion, your outsourced software testing partner is doing the work but failing to deliver the true business value.

Asking these questions can help you avoid the painful lessons of working with an outsourced software testing provider.

Can Location Choices For A QA Software Testing Company Be Helpful Or Harmful?

Having a QA Software Testing company near you can be helpful – especially of you have hardware closely connected to your project. Technology projects are rapidly evolving to include the Internet of Things.

QA Software Testing companies span the world and you have many choices about where you want your software testing & QA services located. There are two primary considerations when considering where to locate your QA software testing services.

Timezone Considerations

If your project is rapidly evolving and the stories/requirements very fluid, then selecting a QA Software Testing Company in the same or very similar Timezone will probably work in your favor. This will help you avoid some of the communications challenges that occur when a team is working at the opposite end of your clock. If your project is relatively stable, then selecting a QA Software Testing Company in an opposite Timezone will work in your favor. This will allow your QA and Testing team the opportunity to complete their work prior to your local team arriving at work. Fresh code at night and fresh bugs in the morning!

Time zone considerations will largely depend on the needs of your business. Generally, teams with the same time zones are more standardized and work together more efficiently. This is the more popular way to work and you don’t have to accommodate other teams that work during strange hours. If your team is focused on a continuous delivery model, having different time zones can be an advantage. This is because one team can work on the project in the morning and at night the other team picks up where they left off. This allows projects to be done around the clock and can be very advantageous. Take a look at the nature of your projects and you can decide whether it’s better to share the same time zones or not.

Intellectual Property Considerations

If your company or project has new and highly valuable intellectual property in your software project, then it makes a lot of sense to avoid locating you QA Software Testing Company in a country that does not have reliable and effective IP protection laws. If you’re building a cutting edge artificial intelligence system then locating your QA Software Testing Company in another country with strong IP protection is almost a basic requirement. If you’re building a marketing mobile app, then you probably don’t have much IP to protect (in your app) and the risk of IP theft is very low and the country where you locate your QA Software Testing Company is not nearly as important.

IP considerations for your mobile app might seem tedious and unnecessary at first, but the long tail consequences are enormous. Without proper IP considerations, your business intelligence is liable to be stolen at virtually any time. Locating your business in a country with strong IP laws protects your data, branding and everything else related to your mobile app. Aspects of your mobile app like logos, patents, trademarks, etc. are protected under countries with strong IP laws. This protects you from having copycats steal your entire business model, name and brand.

The Nexus Of QA Software Testing

TESTCo is ideally located in Austin, TX, with offices in Mexico and Ukraine. This allows us to work in almost any time zone you prefer. Our offices in Mexico and Ukraine allow TESTCo to work on your project without any state-sanctioned IP risk.

Our physical locations enable your mobile app to have both quality assurance and software testing. With TESTCo you can customize your QA and testing process. You’ll be given a QA manager that will help you design SMART QA goals for your mobile app and guide you along your entire QA process. In addition, you’ll also be provided with test engineers that will identify and solve defects within your application. The several locations of TESTCo allows you to choose a location that accommodates your time zone and IP preferences. With the talented QA staff and multiple available locations, your application will have the human and technological bandwidth needed to succeed.

A QA Software Testing Company Should Give You a “Certainty of Success”

This is both a set of facts and feelings that your outsourced software testing company can deliver the value and services you need to achieve your business and software quality goals.

Seeking a software testing company that does both QA and testing will be the most cost-effective solution for your business. This prevents you from incurring additional costs associated with each service and the final invoice amount would be much larger. Also, choosing two different companies to do these services can cause a disconnect; some parts of QA and testing overlap and having one provider for both is the most optimal solution. This creates a seamless integration for both of these services and you’ll get access to all the talented staff that work on QA and testing.

When consulting with a vendor, asking the right questions provided above will enable you to see the important details in both their QA and testing processes. If your QA and testing provider can’t answer those specific questions, you should seek a different provider. A competent QA or testing provider will be able to answer all the pertinent questions related to your project and provide some consultation to help you choose the best path forward.

At TESTCo, every team consists of a Test Engineer and QA Manager to make sure you get the Quality Assurance you want and the software testing you need. It makes a difference. Just see what our clients have to say.

Give us a call at 888-254-9709, or request a call back with the form on this page if you want to explore this further with me.

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.

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.

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.


QA Testing Company

Does Your QA Testing Company Know Your Goals and Constraints? 

In This Post

Why does it matter if a QA testing company, hired for a quick project, knows your goals and constraints for the project?

You know it needs to be tested, you’re already behind your plan and waiting for testing to be completed seems like a waste of time. You just need it done.

We’re frequently asked to “just get this tested out by tomorrow”. We can do that and we’re happy to do so. You’re in a rush, we know it and we want to be helpful to you.

But taking a few minutes up front can have a huge return.

Pause, Take a Deep Breath, Write Down Your Goals and Constraints

Just do a little bit of thinking about Goals and Constraints (or spend just a few minutes talking with us). You’ll dramatically increase your Certainty of Success. It works every time.

You’ll also get about 10X in increased value from the work of your QA testing company if you can explain your goal and/or constraint in a way they can understand and achieve.

All this can be a little tricky because software quality can be a goal or constraint – or both.

If you are clear about which one, you have an opportunity to either reduce your expenses or increase the return on your investment.

If you aren’t clear about which one, you’ll probably be disappointed with either the cost or the outcomes.

Here’s why:

Software Quality as a Goal

If software quality is a goal, is it specific and how much are you prepared to invest to achieve your goal?

What return do you expect for your investment after the QA testing company finishes the project?

For example, “No critical defects” is a software quality goal. “No customer-found defects” is another, but different, software quality goal.

One of these goals focuses on the types of defects and the other focuses on the availability and likelihood of defects. They appear similar but require different software testing approaches. Not all QA testing companies can recognize or build a strategy and plan to achieve these goals.

If your selected QA testing company isn’t clear on this type of goal, you’ll get as much testing as you can afford but you might not achieve your goal.

This is why it’s important to define and measure your software quality goals. Both defining and measuring your software quality goals are vital to assessing software quality as a goal. In regards to defining your goals, one of the first things you can do is to figure out if the testing is sufficient. Without enough testing on your product, the quality of software will be inferior by default. Some quality goals you can strive for in your software include:

  • Reducing the number of non-executed test cases (ideally 0)
  • High severity on open bugs/total bugs
  • Un-targeted bugs

The metrics provided by these quality goals can determine the overall quality of the software for your application.

Software Quality as a Constraint

If software quality is a constraint, what is the most you’ll spend and the minimum you’d accept?

Will meeting the constraints be sufficient to achieve your business goals? You don’t want to come up short.

For example, “No previous features broken” is a type of goal and constraint. “Must fail gracefully without data loss” is another type of constraint.

Your unique constraints have an impact on the type of software testing strategy that your QA testing company chooses. Some constraints are very easy to accommodate and others can be a real challenge. Many QA testing companies skip this step and wind up disappointing their clients when they fail to achieve the goal AND the constraint.

When Software Quality is Both a Goal and a Constraint

When software quality is both a goal and a constraint, how will you measure the boundaries of expense versus investment?

If you limit your expense as a constraint, will the investment be sufficient to achieve your goal?

Yeah, those are some tough questions. It really helps to have a trusted QA testing company as a partner to discuss the scenarios and risks.

What is Your Quality Goal or Constraint?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone – most of our clients don’t have a clear idea when they first come to us for help.

At TESTCo, we prefer the “SMART” goal format and can easily help you “sharpen” your quality goal.

When software quality is  viewed as a constraint, you should be able to clearly define the limits. We see this frequently with new clients, “We need this tested within X days and for $Y price, can you do that?” At TESTCo, we work with this situation frequently.

What is a SMART Goal?

Smart Goals are built on the S.M.A.R.T Criteria and stands for:

– Specific

– Measurable

– Achievable

– Results Focused (or Relevant)

– Time Bound

If you’ll use this short checklist when writing your goal, you will reduce the amount of time you need to build a good goal and your QA testing company will have an easier time understanding and achieving it for you.

Why Do I Need a SMART Goal?

You don’t need a SMART goal for working with a QA testing company, but if you can build one, you’ll get much more value and have better outcomes than if you don’t build a Smart Goal.

Many QA testing companies are happy to work for you without any goal at all. The problem that occurs without a goal is that all you can get is some testing activity and a list of defects.

While that sounds OK, you can and should expect more. Just testing and reporting defects can’t tell you much about the quality of your software or the team building your software. The most it can tell you is that you do have software defects.

If you do have a goal and you find one of the few QA testing companies that can help you achieve your goal, you’ll be rewarded with software testing, a list of defects and best of all, some real metrics, feedback and advice on specifically where you stand towards achieving your goal. Additionally, you’ll get expert consulting advice on how you can more easily achieve your goals in the future.

Otherwise, and without a goal, you’ll just get some testing and a list of defects.

The SMART goal format is advantageous because it provides measurable and detailed goals that account for both quality goals and any constraints you might have. This is extremely beneficial because if you fall short of your SMART goal, there is an objective reason as to why and you can know exactly what you need to fix. Meeting with TESTCo QA managers or senior test engineers can be helpful when crafting a SMART goal for your project. After discussing with the TESTCo team, everyone is on the same page as to what exactly the goals are for a given project. With the assistance of the daily reports provided by QA managers, you can track the progress that you are making towards achieving your SMART goal on a daily basis.

Plans Vs. Planning

Goals are used to create plans that are clear so that everyone on the team can help achieve the common goal. Plans are frequently seen as very important since they are typically used to measure the progress of a project – especially a QA testing project when everyone is waiting anxiously for the launch! At TESTCo, we’re experts at building plans and here’s why. QA testing projects very seldom run exactly according to plan. Why? Primarily because testing is done at or near the end of a project and there’s ALWAYS something else that someone wants included in the current release.

And, that’s fine. We’re bigger fans of Planning than Plans because we’ve learned that the critical thinking required to formulate and build a plan is the most valuable aspect of the plan. What? Yeah, it’s the thinking behind the plan rather than the plan itself that’s most important.

At some point, your QA testing plan is probably going to blow up when you least expect it. If your QA testing company doesn’t have planning experts or experience, how will you ever get your software project launched?

Planning allows for adjustments to be made for your project and it allows the QA team to be more agile. If a project doesn’t go according to a specific plan, it doesn’t necessarily mean it failed. Since QA tests don’t always go according to plan, it’s better to sit with the QA team and do a rough outline instead of coming with a specific, detailed plan. The QA manager and senior test engineers will help provide a roadmap for your application in order to aim for the best release time for your application.

Why All These Hard Questions?

At TESTCo, we have a strong team of experienced and talented software test engineers. We can “point” those talented engineers at almost any goal and they will achieve it. They like this a lot! We can also ask them to “just test it”. They don’t like this as much but they’ll do it gladly.

If we understand your goal, we can help you achieve it.

If we understand your constraint, we can meet it.

If we know both, we can deliver the “Sweet Spot” – high quality that delights your customers and a cost that delights your CFO.

Curious about avoiding pitfalls of outsourced software testing? This article highlights some important lessons.

The point of asking these thought-provoking questions is to help both you and TESTCo reach your software quality goals. By critically assessing factors like goal settings, key performance indicators and other metrics, a better strategy can be designed for your application. If you’re having a difficult time answering a question about your application, this is a great discussion point because the TESTCo engineers and QA managers will help you identify root causes of issues and solve them.

It’s also important for you to compile your most relevant and pertinent questions before you meet the QA team. This doesn’t have to be a long list of questions, but you should bring up the most pressing questions in regards to your application. These questions can be based on turnaround time, bug-related, functionality testing, performance testing and more. By asking questions that are specific to your application and the goals pertaining to it, you can give the QA team a better understanding of your needs.

This QA Testing Company Will Get the Right Answers in 45 Minutes

Our Scoping Process, a 45-minute conversation with you about what is important to you and your project, is designed to clarify your goals and constraints so that we have a perfectly clear picture of exactly what you need and want.

If you’re talking with a QA company and they aren’t asking about your goals and constraints, please give me a call and I’ll help you figure them out – and then achieve them! Here’s my number, 888-254-9709


QA Software Testing Services

What is the Right Way to Think About QA Software Testing Services?

If you’re looking for help with QA software testing services, then this short guide may help you find and get exactly what you need and avoid wasting your time.

But first, there really isn’t a “right” way to think about QA software testing services. The only “right way” is the one that achieves your business and technical goals. We use three different approaches to understanding your business and technical needs so that we (and you) have a high degree of confidence that we will achieve your goal for you.

We look at QA testing services as having three different levels:

  1. Strategic
  2. Project
  3. Tactical

Strategic QA Software Testing Services – What the Boss Cares About

If you’re wondering how software QA can help you grow your business faster with greater profits and less risk, then strategic QA services is what you’re looking for. When we help our clients with software QA as part of their business strategy, we primarily focus on resources and leverage. We help them look at their software QA investments (people, tools and processes) in a way that allows them to continually identify and improve specific returns – retention, productivity and quality.

Frankly, most people aren’t looking for this when they first call us, but we include elements of strategic QA testing services in every engagement and project. This is a natural part of the work and value our QA Managers provide to our clients.

The real value of a strategic approach to QA services is two-fold. A strategic approach considers Assets and Advantages relative to Risk and Goals. The primary benefit is use and reuse of QA assets that you may already have and this saves you time and money. The secondary benefit of a strategic approach to QA services is the specific leverage of your current QA assets towards your goal and against risk so that you get a higher chance of achieving your business goal and a lower risk of a defect released into production and frustrating your users.

Project QA Software Testing Services – What the Project Manager and Product Manager Care About

If you’re wondering how you’re going to get that project fixed, finished, and released, then project QA testing services is what you’re looking for. Finishing software projects with a reasonable level of quality is easy. But, reasonable quality usually means “Google Beta” quality: There will be bugs; we both know it, and we agree not to complain about them.

That’s probably fine if you’re Google launching a Beta product or if you don’t really care if your software project is commercially viable.

However, if you are concerned about the quality of your software project, then you have some software testing work ahead of you.

In most cases, our clients know what they want but either aren’t sure how to get there or don’t have the time or talent to achieve their goals. When we work with clients on project QA testing services, we help them in three distinct ways.

  1. We build a QA Plan that matches your goals, constraints, and timeline. We plan our work and then work our plan. This means you’ll always know where we are in the process of achieving your goals.
  2. We measure and adjust twice daily. Software projects are dynamic and QA testing services are near the end of a long train. Our willingness and ability to self-assess twice daily allows us to match our work to your delivery schedule, not the other way around. This means you won’t ever waste time or money when working with us.
  3. We deliver value, not just defects. Sure we will find the bugs in your software. Then, we’ll help you see how they can be prevented and avoided in the future. This means you’ll always see a positive return on your investment in our QA and software testing services!

How TESTCO’s Project QA Manager Helps

Your Project Manager cares mostly about her team achieving their project goal – usually a successful software release without any defects. Our Project QA software testing approach focuses primarily on optimizing time and money against achieving the project goal.

The primary way our QA Managers achieve goals for our clients is by using effective QA Strategies. There will almost always be more software QA and testing work than you can afford – it’s just the nature of our complex technology world. TESTCo’s QA Managers have a large library of QA strategies and hundreds of successfully completed software QA and testing projects under their belts. This makes it quick and easy to select the best strategy for your project so that we can achieve your goals.

You’ll frequently hear us asking about “progress against the goal” when we ask for your feedback on testing your software project. If you need to succeed with your project but aren’t sure how to get it all wrapped up and successfully released, our Project QA software testing services might be just what you need.

Tactical QA Software Testing Services- What the QA Manager Cares About

If you’re looking for a specific technique, talent or experience, to solve a specific QA problem, then you’re looking for tactical QA testing services. Some examples include Test Automation with Selenium, Load and Performance Testing, Cross Browser Testing and Regression Testing.

This approach tells us that you already have your software QA under control and are just looking to solve a specific problem. We have these talented test engineers and do this type of work frequently. If you’re looking for tactical QA Testing Services, it will be very beneficial if you’ve done some homework ahead of time so we can quickly understand exactly what you need and need to avoid. We can usually have a test engineer working on your project within a day or so of your request.

Getting More for Less

Although we look at QA Software Testing Services as 3 levels, you can and should expect to get more than just one – even if that’s all you really need.

For example, if you need help maintaining your test automation scripts (Tactical QA), you should also expect to be given some recommendations on how to manage this within your usual QA project so you can avoid maintenance lags in the future (Project QA). You should also expect to receive some advice on how you can maximize your returns and reduce your costs in the future (Strategic QA).

If you need help getting your project fixed, finished and launched (Project QA), you should also expect some detailed recommendations on tools and tactics that can improve your speed and quality (Tactical QA). You might also expect to receive recommendations on how to embed QA in the “front” part of your future projects as a way to reduce your QA time and increase the productivity of your developers.

Looking at QA from different standpoints can give you a better perspective on getting the most value for your time, money and effort.

Value and QA Software Testing Services

It can be a challenge to determine if you’re going to get the value you need from QA Software Testing Services. Here are 3 things you can think about before seeking software testing help that will help you make the best choice for you:

  1. What is your goal? Yes, “doing the testing” is important and you want that but, that’s the activity, not the goal. What does “doing the testing” do for you, your software project and your company? Eliminate bugs? Launch on time? Release every month? If we know your goal, we can build a simple strategy for you that will “do the testing” and accomplish your goal!
  2. What are your constraints? Yes, you have a limited budget. We all do! If you’re up-front and let us know, then we can craft a solution that achieves your goal and within your budget. But, there are other things that are constraints, too. How much time do you have left? Do you need automation and manual testing? Do you have a list of old mobile devices that you need covered? List them all so we can build a strategy and plan that meets all of your needs.
  3. What is your culture & environment? If we know *how* you work then we can adapt to match your style. Nothing is worse than a “stranger” coming into your house and not knowing if you’re a “shoes ON OK” or “shoes OFF ALWAYS” kind of house. We can achieve your goals for you even if we don’t know your style but it sure makes everyone happier if we do!

Unfortunately, these three critical items aren’t usually discussed in the phone calls where you’re looking for your next QA Software Testing Services partner. Don’t worry though, we’ll ask them even if you forget!

Safe, Easy, Reliable QA Software Testing Services

All software testing and quality assurance is aimed at one goal – find defects and risks before the software is launched. Prevent problems!

TESTCo is built on one vision – Safe, Easy & Reliable software testing and quality assurance. After all, you’re seeking less risk and more confidence in your software product. You definitely don’t need or want any additional risk or hassles from out-of-control “testers” or “just test-as-much-as-you-can” testing plans.

QA software testing services can come in a wide variety of flavors and styles. Make sure the QA software testing partner you select actually reduces risks and hassles rather than adding to them!

What does your selected QA software testing partner promise you?

At TESTCo, our promise is to achieve your goals in a manner that is Safe, Easy & Reliable.

One Outsourced QA Company That Excels at All Three Levels

Software QA testing services covers a lot of ground. If you can take the time to understand the nature of your software QA needs, TESTCo is an outsourced software QA company that can quickly adjust and work with you to provide you the level of QA software testing services you need to achieve your goals.

qa outsourcing score board

QA Outsourcing Scorecards

QA Outsourcing is usually an expense – and that’s wasteful. But, it could be a valuable investment with a substantial return if you do a couple simple things.

Every software project needs to be tested. You know that already. How you handle the outcomes and outputs from QA Outsourcing will determine if you get the most for your time, money and effort.

The Value you Receive from QA Outsourcing Starts at the Beginning – Your Expectations

Did you ever wonder why most people are disappointed with outsourced work? In most cases, it’s because they weren’t clear about the value they actually wanted before they started. If you don’t know what you want, how can you ever be satisfied?

Start with these questions to help you uncover and capture every ounce of value that you can from your QA Outsourcing partners.

–        Is your QA outsourcing partner helping you track software defects?

–        Do you know the status of your test plan on a daily basis?

–        By track I mean are they providing a concise scorecard that is meaningful to you and the development team?

Tracking your software defects is important and valuable, but just tracking the features and defects (you are using your defect tracking for new features, aren’t you?) is not enough to improve how you build software.

Is your QA outsourcing partner providing you with a clear way to understand your software quality so you can make a good decision about when to release your software?

Releasing your software too soon with too many defects can backfire on you!

Is your QA Outsourcing partner helping you build better software and a stronger business that attracts and retains valuable customers?

When Scorecards Help Development and Testing

Onboarding someone outside of your team can be very challenging. Where do you even start to help them understand the size and scope of your project? One method is to learn by doing based on a clear list of actions, deliverables and dates. This simple methods quickly leads to a clear focus and a simple scorecard that monitors your biggest challenges.

Here are some potential problems that you might be struggling with that can be solved with a software quality scorecard.

The QA Outsourcing Team Doesn’t Know Your Software Quality or Production Goals

A lack of focus and clarity is the #1 reason most goals are not achieved. A scorecard can quickly uncover who doesn’t know or understand your most critical criteria – your goals! This same scorecard can also show you, every day, exactly who is focusing their effort to achieve your goal. The goals should be clear and concise and re-written in the scorecard every day. Each person’s plan should show you the steps and outcomes that will be accomplished each day in pursuit of achieving your goal. You should be able to read and understand each step towards the achievement of your goals. If it doesn’t make sense, a scorecard makes it easy to see and make adjustments that day so you can get the project or person back on track to achieve your software quality and production goals.

Your Team Doesn’t Have a Daily Plan

A scorecard can record each person’s daily plan. A daily scrum or stand-up meeting is not a plan. The true value in a plan lies in the work and thinking that created the plan. A plan is simply a measure of the amount and quality of thinking that produced the plan. Without a daily plan, you are relying on luck and fleeting good intentions to accomplish your goals.

A scorecard serves as a measurable and reviewable plan for each individual on the QA team. The scorecard contains the tasks that each person is supposed to accomplish and continuously using a scorecard to measure progress leads to self-improvement. This is because a scorecard asks every team member for areas to improve on or suggestions after each day. Continuously addressing weaknesses using scorecards will lead to individual improvement and team improvement.

Your Team Doesn’t Have a Daily Summary

A scorecard can record each person’s daily summary. A daily summary can provide every person on the team with an insight into coordinating their work with everyone else on the team. Without a daily summary, the rest of the team is left to guess (or infer from the daily standup the next morning) exactly what was accomplished and if their dependent work can proceed.

After recording each person’s daily summary, the QA team can review the scorecards cumulatively and see where the team’s strengths and weaknesses are. This exercise can serve as a team daily summary and the team can brainstorm plans to address any weaknesses within the individual scorecards.

Your Team Finds Blocking Issues

Your QA outsourcing partner’s work can’t continue until someone else clears some sort of blockage. Blockers occur every day – it is the nature of fast paced software development. But, without score carding blockers, their frequency, resolution and cost can’t be determined – and you’re doomed to continue facing them at inconvenient moments!

Your Team “Pushes” to Meet the Goal

This frequently occurs in the world of software development and is probably the biggest reason software teams make mistakes! A simple scorecard from every member of the team could have alerted everyone else to the time crunch issue way before it occurred. A little forward notice could have prevented the “push” and the corresponding wasted energy by the rest of the team.

The solution is simple – use a daily scorecard from each member of your software development team – at a minimum from your software QA team since they are the prime “measures” of your software quality and production capacity.

The daily scorecard can highlight issues that teams make when they are rushing to release a product. By having scorecards to quantify the work that each member of the development team is doing, teams can find the root cause of any mistakes made and prevent future instances from occurring. Even if your team is pushing to meet a deadline, using scorecards lets every individual know their responsibility on a daily basis and teams can avoid the routine mistakes that occur while rushing.

The Problem with Scorecards and QA Outsourcing

Are you uncomfortable measuring and judging someone’s performance? Does giving “feedback” give you the “willies”? Using a scorecard is a very easy way to clearly identify performance problems without the uncomfortable feedback.

Most people do not want to be measured or judged. And yet, measurement, analysis and correction is the cornerstone of ANY production process or quality assurance method. Think about it – if you can’t (or won’t) measure it, how can you ever be sure – of anything? Would you want to drive a car, bake a cake or raise your family in a home that wasn’t inspected and measured/scored for quality while it was being built? Yeah, not really, so why would you tolerate that in your software project?

Most software QA outsourcing companies and their testers do not want to be measured. The perception is that bad things will happen so ignoring measurement extends the work for another day – in the shadows.

TESTCo’s team is always ready to share scorecards because transparency is a part of the work culture. For other QA outsourcing vendors, this can be very different to their normal work protocols and their staff resist using scorecards. The transparency provided by scorecards is a net positive influence on most QA teams. Although it might be uncomfortable at first to be evaluated so transparently, once teams adjust, it will be normal and it will allow teams to improve their weaknesses.

When selecting a vendor for your QA needs, asking for their scorecards can be a great way to vet potential vendors. Vendors who are experienced in QA know what scorecards are and will readily provide their team’s scorecards. Ask your software QA Outsourcing vendor for their scorecards. If you’re talking with TESTCo, we’ll happily share our scorecards with you. If you’re talking to someone else – expect crickets

The QA Outsourcing Team Should be Providing the Scorecard

Most folks will either run the other way or try to fight you when asked to measure themselves. At TESTCo, we THRIVE on being measured! In fact, if you aren’t measuring our performance, we’re doing it anyway and we’ll bring one with us when we come help you!

At TESTCo, we issue report/scorecards twice daily. The morning report/scorecard reports the daily plan and establishes the most important metrics and outcomes for the day. It also has target values for each metric or outcome. The evening report/scorecard reports the daily actual production metrics, plan completions and adjustments, any blockers waiting resolution and statistics on the most important daily metrics and outcomes. These twice-daily reports are distributed to the QA Manager and anyone else that may be interested or connected to the workflow.

The true value of a plan is the planning. Planning is the process of moving from your current state to a desired state – a goal. Moving from one state to another requires measurement. Daily measurement of critical outcomes is required to achieve your goal as efficiently as possible.

A final thought on twice-daily reports. I always get push back from my Test Engineers when I initially ask them for twice-daily reports. It looks like a big hassle! But, being perfectly clear on goals and status, twice each day, quickly turns them into big fans of daily scorecards because they know they are highly valuable and efficient engineers – the twice daily scorecard give them the opportunity to demonstrate their talent and drive to their customers and managers. TESTCo Test Engineers very quickly become fans of scorecards because it gives them the feedback they seek to become even better at delivering the value they are committed to. Just ask one if you don’t believe me! For other client comments, check out our testimonials page.

What sort of project should you assign to a new outsourced software QA company? I invite you to read my post on this topic; the recommendation may surprise you.

What to Look for in a QA Outsourcing Software Quality Scorecard

A Software Quality Scorecard should be customized so that it meets the following criteria.

  • Takes less than 5 minutes to create.
  • Contains your software production and quality goals (these don’t change) for the current period.
  • Contains brief On-Plan, Ahead-of-Plan or Behind-Plan indicator and short explanation of why.
  • Contains 3-5 quality metrics related to your production and quality goals that clearly tell you where you stand relative to your goals.
  • Contains any other information you need to make decisions on releasing your software project and achieving your goals.
  • Contains 1-2 recommendations for improvement from the person creating the scorecard.

These criteria allow your scorecard to have enough information and it makes it relatively easy to create. If your QA team is just spending 5 minutes per day on creating scorecards, it creates a standard for each individual in the group and it doesn’t take significant time out of anyone’s schedule. Additionally, scorecards don’t have to follow this exact guideline, if your team has specific restrictions or advantages you should incorporate them.

The criteria above serve as a general guideline to make scorecards simple, yet effective for each team that utilizes them. With clearly defined and simple scorecards, your QA team can start implementing the scorecards today and see the benefits. Once ingrained in your work routine, scorecards will be invaluable tools for project management. If you’d like to learn more about creating scorecards and how your team can implement them, talk to TESTCo today for a free consultation.

Software QA Outsourcing

When You Stop Loving Your Software QA Outsourcing Company

B.B. King’s signature song, “The Thrill is Gone,” sums up the feeling many engineering managers have about their software QA outsourcing company after having worked together for a period of time. The software testing company has been doing the job, meeting deadlines, but it’s just not the same. Something is missing, or is it you? It’s not you.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt or Why I Stopped Loving What You Do for Me

We have all experienced the situation where you just wake up one day and decide that what you’ve been doing in the recent past just isn’t cutting it anymore. What used to be new, shiny and valuable has slowly turned into old, tarnished and low value. Why?

In the world of software testing, we believe this happens because “value” is not specifically pursued as a prime goal. The need for software testing services seldom just goes away or becomes radically simpler such that fewer people are required. The software testing and development workload is relatively constant and slowly increasing over time with almost any growing software product company.

What does change with time are the environment and goals. The environment (or economy or marketplace) changes and that usually forces a change in a software company’s goals. The changed goals are usually communicated to the software development team but not always – and even then, seldom communicated to the outsourced software testing team. So, the development team changes focus and direction and the outsourced software testing team just tried to understand as best as they can and keep up running more tests.

We see this happen all the time!

Considering your first partnership with a software QA outsourcing company?
Here’s a post that will be helpful.


What is Value for Software QA Outsourcing?

Value can be thought of as the benefits received divided by the cost paid. This isn’t exact math but you clearly know when you’ve received much more than you’ve paid and you definitely know when you’ve paid too much for what you’ve received. Yes, it’s a perception but it is a very important one to establish and then maintain.

The Cost of this Sneaky Problem

Here’s what happens when your value ratio begins to decline.

  • You get fewer references and referrals because your clients are not impressed enough to say how much they like what you do
  • Your customer satisfaction scores decline but the feedback on why is very sparse.
  • It becomes very hard to figure out how to make your clients truly happy with your services.
  • Your employees become frustrated and unappreciated – causing more problems with hiring a retaining great talent.
  • Your revenue begins to decline and you can’t figure out why.

How We Build Value at TESTCo

At TESTCo, we are constantly pursuing value with every customer. We conduct an ongoing Value Proposition System that insures that our clients are always receiving the benefits that are most important to them at that time. We also acknowledge that goals and value change over time so we regularly update each client’s Value Proposition.

We start by working with our clients to understand the following:

  • Jobs & Tasks you want us to perform
  • Pains you want to avoid
  • Gains you want to achieve

We take that information and build goals, strategies and plans that spell out the tactical work we need to do to keep your software moving forward and achieve your strategic goals. We also build a Value Proposition Strategy and Plan so that our “normal” Jobs & Tasks work also accommodates the Pains and Gains you’ve told us are important so that we can help you achieve your goals.

We measure our Value Proposition Plan weekly and adjust it monthly based on feedback from our clients.  When we have achieved your goals, we start the process again looking for more value that we can create for you.

At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises and one of those promises is to deliver Real Value Every Day. The TESTCo difference is that we know the value you want because we took the time to ask and then do something about it.

If you aren’t happy with the value you currently receive from your  partner for outsource software testing, then contact us and speak with our client who have trusted us for years.