Checklist for Finding the Best Software Testing Company

Checklist for Finding the Best Software Testing Company

After your web search for a software testing company reveals a long list of company names, how do you select the one that is right for your business? Here’s some guidelines and a check list.

How to Initially Screen Software Testing Companies

You may or may not know exactly what you need.  If you do, then please skip to How to Select a Software Testing Company. If you’re not sure what you need, then please read on.

First, do your choices have references and testimonials from clients where they solved a similar problem? Take note of where they solved a business problem, not just a software testing problem.

Next, do they share their knowledge? Knowledge sharing is an important indicator of where the software testing company believes their value lies. If they share software testing knowledge and know-how with you then they are likely a company that values their people and commitments more than their intellectual property. If they don’t share their knowledge of software testing with you, then they probably value their intellectual property more than their people and commitments.

Lastly, is software testing their primary focus? Many companies provide a wide variety of technical services – everything from ITIL to software development to business processing outsourcing. Unfortunately, software testing is seen as a commodity by many people.  We have found that many outsourced technical companies that offer software testing along with a variety of other services tend to see software testing as a commodity as well.  This leads to their top talent and most attention going to somewhere other than software testing. That may be fine to build a business but it probably won’t be your best choice to solve your current software testing and business problem.

Ready to put TESTCo on the list of software testing companies to consider? Just send the form from this page to schedule a call.

How to Select a Software Testing Company

By now you should have a handful of good choices that you are confident in. According to your research each company on your short list

  • Has solved similar problems successfully in the past,
  • Has shared their knowledge about software testing with you,
  • Has focused on software testing as a priority

Now, how to select the winner.

A Check List for Selecting the Best Software Testing Company

  1. Do they perform an effective needs analysis? Do they ask you and then clearly understand why you need help, your business goals related to this problem and the constraints you have? This needs analysis should take no more than about 30 minutes over the phone. If you aren’t convinced they clearly understand your problem then you should move on with another choice.
  2. Do they offer smart choices and benefits? Since they understand your problem, goals and constraints, do they offer and explain the selection of choices they can offer and how each can solve your problem? If not, then you should move on.
  3. Do they answer all your questions? Are the answers clear and relevant to your situation? Do they seek additional questions from you or avoid them trying to close the deal? If you aren’t convinced these are the most curious creatures on the planet (all great software Test Engineers are hugely curious!) then you should move on.
  4. Do they make it easy to get started? Software Testing is one of the few technical activities that can begin almost immediately. But, without a good understanding of your business and technical problems, that testing may not produce the outcome you need. Gaining this understanding has to be done quickly and effectively so that time and budget constraints are met. They can’t go off to “train on your app” for a couple days. Are you confident that they know how to get your team producing real value as quickly as possible without taking a bunch of your time? If not, then you should move on.
  5. Do they clearly distinguish the value? Business is a game of value creation and transfer. Your software produces real problem-solving value for your customers. That’s why they keep buying it. Software testing is not just maid service for the coders! Software testing and quality assurance activities confirm and deliver the real value of your software application. If your software testing company prospect can’t clearly explain how this happens so that you see real value, then you should probably move on.

It is a simple checklist but it’s a tough one to pass.  If you make it through every step with a software testing company your odds are high that you’ve of identified the best software testing company for your business.

Ready to put TESTCo on the list of software testing companies to consider? Just send the form from this page to schedule a call.

Software Application Testing Company Three Questions

Software Application Testing Company Three Questions

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

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

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

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

Answer These Questions Before Contacting Any Software Application Testing Company

1 – What are your goals for this project?

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

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

2 – What is your budget for this project?

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

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

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

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

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

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


software testing services company

How a Software Testing Services Company Helps a Software Development Company

If you aren’t releasing software as quickly and effectively as you think you can maybe a software testing services company can help.

Or maybe not.

There are 3 key leverage points that you should be getting from using a software testing services company.

  • Speed – delivery times for software project should be faster.
  • Quality – defects should be found more frequently and earlier in the development process
  • Sustainability – subsequent software project should start and end much quicker with higher predictable quality.

Here’s how to know if you are getting the most value from your software testing services company.

It is very easy for a software testing services company to get disconnected from your software development team and then take the blame for late releases or poor quality.

Daily meetings are good but agendas get stale and the value of the meeting can begin to decline. Daily reports are also good but it is also very easy to just glance over or even delete a status report email. Add to that, the fact that software testing outcomes are a lagging indicator – not a leading indicator – and it is easy to find yourself with a software team that struggles to release quality software on time. Is there a simple fix? Not hardly, but there are 2 simple things you can do that will pull your software testing company closer to your software development team.

Two-a-Days Keep Both Teams Sharp

We have found that software services testing companies that report twice daily and adjust once weekly seem to produce the most benefit in keeping their software testing teams aligned and in sync with software development teams. But, there are some subtle elements to these reports and adjustments that make them very powerful tools you can use to meet your software product release and quality goals.

  • Report what you plan to do and why – each Test Engineer should do this daily as a part of their daily personal planning
  • Report blockers immediately and then assign someone accountable to solve them – the software testing company QA Manager should be responsible for managing the resolution of blockers
  • Report the deliverables you actually created and why each one is valuable – a list of defects or test cases is important but the “why” behind them is ultimately more valuable
  • Meet to adjust the test plan weekly so that it is in sync with your product release date and quality goals – not all weeks need adjustment but most do

Here’s good reading if you’re interested in learning
how scorecards keep your software testing services company in line.

A Dedicated QA Manager Makes Magic Happen

You just can’t test every thing every time. And, you need to release quality software on time. This is where a dedicated QA Manager makes magic happen. In order to release software on time with the highest quality possible, a huge number of trade-offs need to be made to meet all of the constraints. This is part of release planning and a dedicated and experienced QA Manager can make your life easier and products better. Here’s how a dedicated QA Manager can help you get all the value you expect.

  • A Playbook of Software Quality and Release Strategies – A QA Manager has seen more software releases than you will ever probably see yourself. Learning all the little tips and tricks to plan and navigate a software package into a stable release is only one part. The real learning comes from experience – seeing and doing it many, many times. Every software package and business situation is different and requires a slightly different strategy to be successful.  Do you know which strategy will work best for your situation?
  • Test Planning – there is always more to do than can be done. How and when you select and run tests can have a huge impact on your developer’s productivity and quality.  Learning Test Planning is straight forward.  Actually building and running a successful Test Plan requires experience.
  • Software Quality Process Improvement – One definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results.” Process evaluation and improvement allows your development team to build better products faster. Only an experienced QA Managers have seen enough software processes to help your team make the changes they need to make to get better.

Hidden Benefits Behind the Scenes

There are three big benefits going on behind the scenes that may not be immediately obvious.

  1. The process of planning and discussing the “why” of the goals is much more valuable than the actual plan. Every Test Engineer should be taking a few minutes at the start of each day to plan their day – and insure they are working on the highest value items in the right order. Planning requires thinking to make sure that each person is making the most of each day in support of the product release date and quality goals.
  2. Blockers are nasty and get in everyone’s way. Get someone outside of the daily software production process to resolve them and your plans will run much more smoothly.
  3. Reporting value is subjective but immensely valuable. Why? Without a clear idea of value, work is just work – activities to accomplish an outcome. Value implies that the outcomes are worth more than the cost of the effort. In today’s fast moving world, it is almost impossible to complete all the tasks needed. Forced triage becomes the norm and value judgments become requirements. Don’t you want everyone on your team working on the most valuable outcomes? Wouldn’t you want to know if one of your team members thought something was valuable but you didn’t? Report value every day and you’ll quickly find your team is one the same page and in sync with each other.

What You Should Expect from a Software Testing Services Company

At TESTCo, we believe in honoring promises. You make promises to your customers about the quality and reliability of your software.  We can help you honor your promise to your customers.

At a minimum, you should expect that your software testing company is exclusively focused on software testing and software quality. It’s just that simple. You just can’t get the same level of software testing service and experience from a software testing company that does not specialize in software testing. If you’re doing this to save money, you probably won’t.

Your second indicator about the quality and capability of a software testing company can be seen in their Test Case Management System.  Just ask, “How do you keep track of your test cases and test plans?” If your software testing company (or even your software development company) doesn’t use a Test Case Management tool then they aren’t well equipped to provide you the service and software testing outcomes that you need to honor your promises to your customers.

A Software Testing Services Company Should Deliver Value Every Day

At TESTCo, we know that simple processes that produce real value every day result in software products that meet their release date and quality goals. If you are having trouble meeting your software product goals, we’d enjoy the opportunity to share what we’ve learned and implemented for our clients every day.

Software App Testing cCompany

Three Criteria to Select the Best Software App Testing Company

It seems there is a new software app testing company born every week. That can be good or bad depending on your situation.

It’s good in that newer companies can bring innovation and higher levels of customer service to a very mature market. This can give you a broader set of choices to meet your unique needs.

It’s bad in that there are so many choices! Pages and pages of them and then more websites to help you evaluate their particulars. It’s been proven that too many choices can actually make it harder to make a wise choice.

Why Bother? The Risks of Making a Bad Choice for your Software App Testing Company

There are many risks in business and technology. Testing your app properly will identify these risks so you can make a smart decision about what to do with the risk. If you fail to identify and eliminate the risk, your business will suffer the consequences.

Selecting the best software app testing company also has risks.

Testing is Secondary

Your software app testing company is not really a testing company. They primarily build apps but do offer testing when they don’t have enough work building apps. Your risk is that your app won’t be properly tested by trained, professional Test Engineers. Rather, your app will be tested by junior developers who’d rather be building something than testing it.

Test engineers are better than junior developers because:

  • Test engineers can learn your application, write and organize test cases into suites and run defect reports; a junior developer can only run test cases and tell which ones passed and failed. The knowledge and problem-solving abilities separate test engineers from junior developers.
  • Test engineers can keep their test case suites updated to match the applications’ changing functionality requirements; the junior developer can only notify you when test cases no longer work
  • Test engineers can compare their test case suite to their functionality matrix to ensure the right areas of the application are being tested at the right time. This differs from junior developers because they can only run as many test cases as they can get test coverage on.

No QA Manager

Your software app testing company provides a “project manager” but doesn’t provide a QA Manager. Your project manager will make sure your “testers” are working but won’t have much information on how to focus or optimize their work. Poor work, poorly led seldom produces outcomes that you’ll be confident in.

Using competent QA managers for your project is vital because normal “project managers” cannot perform the same functions needed to complete a project. QA managers are superior to project managers because of the multiple roles they play within a QA project. Some of the roles a QA manager plays include:

  • Team builder: QA managers are responsible for building teams that consist of test engineers, managers, etc. It’s up to the QA manager to ensure that all operations are going well and they take care of any team needs. This can include training, on-boarding or hiring team members.
  • Project manager: QA managers also fulfill the role of project manager within a QA team. QA managers are responsible for talking with the client, setting project goals and making sure it is completed. They provide reports to clients and act as the client’s ear within the QA team.
  • Expertise: QA managers also are responsible for providing expertise for the team. At TESTCo, all QA managers have at least 5 years of experience and 1 year of working within TESTCo. This industry and TESTCo experience makes QA managers the most knowledgeable staff within a QA team.

No Strategy

Your software app testing company can’t offer an effective QA Strategy or Plan. They don’t specialize in software testing and QA. They can “test it for you” but you won’t be able to see and measure how deep or how broad your app was tested.

Specializing in software testing and QA is important because it correlates with the service your application will get. General software service providers who additionally offer QA services do not have the expertise or the staff needed to do QA for your application at a high level. Specialization in software testing and QA is one of TESTCo’s unique value propositions. The industry experience and the talent at TESTCo ensures your application will have the correct strategy and testing for all your needs. How does TESTCo specialize in software testing and QA?

  • Over one million test cases completed since 2002
  • A team of software engineers that can be available to work on your project within 24 hours
  • Software test engineer, not testers, assigned to test your application
  • Software testing services to fit any QA strategy

At TESTCo, we are built on top of these three foundations – Test Engineers, QA Managers and proven/tested QA Strategies. If your software app testing company is missing any of these foundations, your risk of failure is higher.

Three Criteria for Selecting a Software App Testing Company

You’re going to need at least three really important things from your software app testing company if you want to be successful with your app launch or update.

  1. You will want to Set and Achieve Your Goal. You may not have a goal yet – or you do and don’t realize it. “Just test it” isn’t a goal – that’s an activity. “Zero customer found defects” is a goal. “Zero fatal crashes” is also a goal. You’re building a software app for some business purpose, right? What is that purpose and how can your software app testing company help you achieve it?
  2. You will want to achieve your goal Within Your Constraints. You *do * have constraints! Most probably you have limited time and limited budget to achieve your goal. If you’ll share your constraints with you software app testing company, you’ll avoid a nasty surprise and/or the run around trying to make an overly large proposal fit into a tiny budget and timeframe.
  3. You will want Real and Lasting Value. You probably want defects – bug reports. Yes, those are valuable but only if they are accurate, unique and developer-ready to fix. You can also capture even more value that last much longer than a bug report. That additional value might be a small process change that improves your software development speed or it may be an open source requirements management tool that help you shave a couple days off your product specification process. Insist on and capture that extra long-term value, too!

You have a huge variety of choices when you select a software app testing company to help you complete and release your software project. Making a wise choice will save you countless hours and thousands of dollars that a poor choice will cost you.

Ask us these questions at TESTCo. I’m confident you’ll be pleased with our answers.  I’d enjoy speaking with you about your project. Call me at 888.254.9709 or schedule a call back using the green button on this page.

We’re different from most outsourced qa testing companies in refreshing ways. Browse our case studies and testing tips to learn why.

Bonus – Three Traps to Avoid when Selecting a Software App Testing Company

So, you’re clear on your goals and constraints. You’re on the alert for how your choice of a software app testing company can improve your situation now and in the future.

Now, be on the alert for these three common traps.

1. Price Vs. Cost

Seeking the lowest hourly rate – their price – can lead you into a trap where the hourly rate is low but your project cost is high. This can happen when your software app testing company struggles to attract and find top quality software testing talent. They might also possibly be testers that were originally software developers but weren’t good enough. Be on the alert for “too good to be true” hourly pricing.

2. Missing Manager

Software app testing companies can also reduce their hourly rates by “body shopping”. This occurs when you rent or lease a person’s time to perform tasks for you. One of the most common ways to reduce the price of a tester is to eliminate any management oversight or coaching. You get the tester and that’s it. This may or may not work well for you. If you’re an experienced QA Manager with plenty of experience managing remote teams, this might work for you. If you’re not experienced with outsourced testing or QA, you might be disappointed when you find out that you’re going to need to manage and task this person every day.

3. Testers Vs Test Engineers

It is very common to find “testers” available to help you at a relatively low cost. This might work for you if your software app is simple and you already have a QA Strategy, Test Plan and Test Cases. A “tester” can probably run those test cases for you. If you have anything other than a very simple app or don’t have a QA Strategy, Test Plan and Test Cases, hiring a “tester” will lead you to disappointment. Only a Test Engineer is educated and experienced in the art and science of software testing and quality assurance.

If you are on the alert for these Three Software Testing Traps, you’ll make a better decision with a higher degree of certainty. That’s what you’re looking for, right – a Certainty of Success?

Double Bonus – Three Tests Plus One Guarantee to Consider When Selecting a Software App Testing Company

So, now you’re clear on your software testing goals and constraints and you’re on the alert for the traps to avoid.

You’ve “pre selected” one or two testing companies that you think can help you achieve your goals.

You’ve talked with them in depth and shared all of your relevant project information.

You’ve received a “proposal” that tells you what they will do, what it will cost and how long it will take.

Here are four “tests” you can use to make sure you’re getting everything you need to be successful with the software app testing company you are going to select.

1. Repeat Your Goals and Constraints

Your proposal should clearly explain your goal and constraints. This is evidence that the software app testing company *knows* and *understands” your goals. If this is missing from your proposal, you should be concerned that they don’t clearly understand your project or goals.

2. At Least One Strategy and A Plan

Your proposal should show “the math” – just like your grammar school mathematics teachers required. Software and software testing projects are complex and there are many different ways to achieve your goals. Your proposal should show the software QA Strategy that was selected as the best approach to achieve your goals within your constraints. It also goes without saying that your proposal should also include a plan that implements the selected Strategy. Double check that the Plan actually follows the Strategy. Award bonus points if your proposal shows more than one QA Strategy and the thinking behind how the best Strategy was selected.

3. A “Fixed Price” Offer?

You probably won’t see a Fixed Price offer in your Proposal unless you ask for one. So, ask and see what their response is. This will give you an indication of how confident the software app testing company is in their Strategy, Plan, and Estimates. Be aware though, that Fixed Price projects can be more contentious to manage to completion. That said, it never hurts to ask.

4. A Success Guarantee

You almost definitely won’t see a Success Guarantee in your Proposal. But, what types of success guarantees will your software app testing company offer you? Ask and see what their response is. The is a powerful conversation to have with your software app testing company and here’s why. Not every project goes according to plan and your’s may not either. Wouldn’t you rather know how your software app testing company is going to respond now, before the crisis happens, than later when everyone is caught by surprise? You deserve to know if your testing partner is committed to your project and how they are going to help you resolve the crisis – if and when it occurs.

If a software app testing company can pass these tests, you’ve found a partner to help you achieve your goals.

If they can’t pass these tests, you’re taking on additional risks needlessly.

software testing companies

Software Testing Companies and Software Testing Tools

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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