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Are All the Good Software Testing Services Gone?
The biggest problem with software testing services is that you never really know what you are going to get. It’s like grape flavor vs real grapes – they are “supposed” to be almost the same but they aren’t – not even close! Testers should be the same as Test Engineers, right?
And to further compound the problem, they are seldom compared side-by-side so it can be difficult to know what you’re really getting. They look similar and do similar activities but it is in the outcomes and results that you really see the difference. This is actually the root of a very pernicious problem.
Why Software Testing Services are a Problem
Most software testing services also provide software development services and some even provide more general business process outsourcing services. When you see this situation, you’ll frequently find that software developers sell at a higher price and provide much more profit than software testers. So, it makes sense that the company that provides the software testing services will optimize their better talent to the higher priced role of software developer than the lower priced role of software tester. So, when you ask for a tester, the odds are that you will get someone who just wasn’t quite good enough to be a software developer.
There is a misconception that software testing services are a commodity – it’s just testing, right? Software testing may be a commodity for everyone else, but when it comes to your software, I doubt you want the cheapest general solution out there. You didn’t use that approach when you built your software, so I doubt you’ll want to use the cheapest testers you can find.
And since the testers are low margin and low paid, they tend to want to improve their situation and move up their career ladder. The testers didn’t start as testers, they wanted to be developers. The minute they get a better opportunity, they will take it and leave your project. This almost never happens at a “good” time.
And Here is Where You Get Hurt with Most Software Testing Services
Your goal is to release your software as fast as possible with as much quality as you can afford. At first glance, it would appear that the cheapest priced tester would buy you the most quality. But, it doesn’t generally work that way and here’s why.
Talent makes a big difference in software testing. Software Testing competes with Software Development for pay, notoriety and promotion. Companies that offer both Software Development and Software Testing tend to have more talent in development and less of an emphasis on Software Testing due to the economics.
Cheapest in usually only better with a commodity. A commodity is something that can be contracted for a standardized set of quantity and quality. It is almost impossible to commoditize services delivered by a human. If you change the comparison from price to value, then the cheapest price almost never fulfills the highest value.
Software Testing is Knowledge Work. Any successful knowledge work role is backed by countless hours to training and experience – you only have to look at the problems faced by an aging F500 work force to see this happening every day. The biggest risk, cost and pain with knowledge work is watching all of your investment in training and experience walk out the door for a better position. Now you’ve lost all of that investment and must rebuild again.
How TESTCo Software Testing Services Can Help You Uncover Value
At TESTCo, we specialize in Software Testing Services. We’ve seen these challenges many times since we started in 2002. If insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results, then we’ve decided to take a much more sane approach to this problem. Here’s how we’ve solved this problem.
TESTCo is built by and for Test Engineers. Test Engineers look similar to Testers but are quite different – see the grape analogy above. Testers generally know, or can be taught, what to do. Test Engineers know the Why and the How. The activities and outputs look similar. Testers write test cases, run test cases and record defects. Test Engineers do that as well but they also understand where the value is created and why it is important to make sure that value is delivered.
TESTCo creates and delivers Value. Price and cost are related but different. Price is the rate which is then multiplied by time to produce the cost. Value is your perception of the benefits you receive versus the cost you pay. When you optimize for price, your cost and value will be uncertain. At TESTCo, we optimize for value first, cost second and never for price.
TESTCo attracts and retains Software Test Engineers. It is an over simplification to say that our Test Engineers are our most valuable assets. They are but they usually don’t like being called “assets”. We know the value and scarcity of Software Test Engineers. They are unique and special – just ask some of our current customers. The entire TESTCo business model is based on attracting and retaining the top Software Test Engineers on the planet – and we rely heavily on our Test Engineers to find, attract and retain more Test Engineers. All great engineers seek out and work better with other very talented engineers.