Gartner Research and Diamond Cluster International reported in May, 2005 in “Five Reasons Why Offshore Software Testing Deals Fail” that the most common reasons for failed offshore software testing projects were:
- Unrealized cost savings
- Loss of productivity
- Poor commitment and communication
- Cultural differences
- Lack of offshore software testing expertise and organizational readiness
Furthermore, they outline how these offshore software testing issues can be avoided through appropriate strategy, advance planning and expectation management with your software testing company.
It’s a good read if you’re the CIO of a Fortune 500 Company. But, most of us aren’t and very few of us have the resources to implement the strategic planning, training and process maturity recommendations made in the report.
Additionally, most of their recommendations involve lowering your expectations and lengthening your timeframe when it comes to offshore software testing services.
Most of us are unwilling to compromise our standards so easily. Few of us have the time or interest to sort out the theories from practical advice we can implement today with our outsourced software testing.
The real truth about why most offshore software testing projects fail is seldom discussed. It’s one of the “dirty secrets” of offshoring.
Knowing this in advance will allow you to correct it or avoid it completely.
Offshore software testing projects fail primarily because of a lack of expertise and experience working with an outsourced software testing company. This is true for both U.S.-based companies as well as offshore software testing companies. Most offshore software testing companies have very little experience delivering successful projects.
This problem is compounded by the antiquated and overly simplistic approach that most customers and vendors use to measure success – “on time and on budget” when it comes to offshore software testing services.
When an offshore testing project fails, the cost is typically greater than the cost of the original problem. Software development slows down, customer satisfaction declines, costs increase and frustration mounts.
When do offshore software testing projects fail? Right from the start – when you select a software testing services partner, not when they actually begin the work.
If an offshore software testing company is not making your business better, then they are either pulling it down or doing something that you could just as easily do yourself. By the way, the same goes for nearshoring as well!
The chain of events that occur when an offshore testing project fails is long and the damage extensive. And, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Knowing exactly what to look for will give you the ability to act quickly to halt the damage.
Here’s what you can see while a failure is happening:
- Increased costs – for offshore software testing services and missed release dates
- Higher support costs – and more frequent customer complaints
- Fewer customer renewal payments – and more difficult negotiations for customers who feel they aren’t receiving full value for their money
- Missed opportunities – for new business and longer sales cycles
- Falling company stock prices – and lower market valuations
But, the direct economic impacts are only a portion of the real costs. Some of the other costly issues you might not see, but are certainly occurring, are:
- Increased frustration – that distracts teams from their core functions
- Lower morale – with increasing staff turnover
- Increased recruiting costs – resulting from a smaller candidate pool
- Lost market share – and slower sales momentum
- Declining customer satisfaction – which decrease references and referrals slowing down future sales
- Reduced business agility – resulting in business opportunities that are not realized
- Lower development team productivity – which increases the time-to-market for your products
- Delayed release dates – resulting in a “death spiral” of feature creep and endless test-fests
To be successful in today’s demanding business environment, you must have the ability to respond quickly to changing market conditions and customer demand.
The rapid pace of the market and increasing customer expectations allows very little room for failures of any size.
A failed offshore software testing project, even a small one, can have a distinct and measurable impact on your current and future business success.
Rather than define success in the traditional manner of “on time and on budget”, we recommend using a more meaningful definition.
Success in an offshore testing project is best defined as:
- delivery of value above and beyond the cost of the project AND
- complete satisfaction with the process and results AND
- repeatable and dependable systems for producing the same results again.
That’s a tough set of criteria. But, you expect that from yourself and your team so why would you expect any less from your offshore software testing company?
The best measures of success for any software quality project are increased revenue, higher customer satisfaction and shortened delivery cycles.
Ultimately, the best and most long-lasting benefit is a process that becomes a stepping stone upon which you can build additional business capacity.
Do you still have questions? That’s alright. TESTCo provides multiple reports and white papers to help you streamline your outsourcing, maximize your efforts, and ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of your business operations.