A Blog from QualiTest

Killing the Myths of Outsourced Software Testing

Outsourcing vs In-house Software Testing

There are many software testing engagement models  that can be utilized. In fact, a report from Research and Markets informs readers that “outsourcing of software testing...

There are many software testing engagement models  that can be utilized. In fact, a report from Research and Markets informs readers that “outsourcing of software testing services is witnessing double digit growth rate”, and also discussed some of the pure play software testing market leaders. QualiTest is proud to say that we made the list!

In fact, the analysts also foresee that the global pure-play software testing services market will grow at a CAGR of 15.90% over the period 2014-2019. This is a huge change from the economic recession, when the majority of companies were relying on in-house testing.

So is this trend towards outsourcing software testing the right solution for you? Here are some key factors that may help you to figure that out!

Benefits of Outsourcing

Greater Staffing Pool

One of the greatest benefits to outsourcing is that it does not require the staff to be on hand within the company, which has a lot of positive implications for a business. First of all, you aren’t weighed down by the talent pool surrounding your office- working with groups in another area of the world may mean having access to professionals with skill sets different than those within driving distance of your home office. There’s also the possible financial savings of outsourcing to an area where taxation and employee pay is low, if your company is based in an area where such things are a concern.

Enhanced Testing Processes and Better Quality

Using an external company also helps with achieving better quality in your software testing because they usually employ testers who are experts in a wide variety of software testing methodologies and philosophies, opening up your projects to many possible testing techniques at little extra cost to you.

Outsourcing your testing will also give you exposure to independent points of view, and a lack of in-house bias for certain aspects of your system is provided by a fresh pair of eyes and testers unfamiliar with the product.

Business Assurance

In an article about “Enabling Differentiation in Application Testing Services“, Gartner says, “The business side of an organization is gaining more influence in decisions about technology and analytics. This is also evident in testing. As part of that trend, there is greater expectation that testing services will be more linked to business process effectiveness. Looking at testing beyond an individual application, the ability to tie testing requirements to business process effectiveness becomes very relevant.”

To align with this requirement, many outsourced software testing companies are attempting to meet these business assurance needs. In fact, these business assurance needs are something that is a part of QualiTest’s focus in the upcoming years.

The decision to outsource versus employ an in-house testing team is one which depends greatly on a company’s specific situation, and it’s impossible to give an algorithm by which every company should decide which approach to use.

Disadvantages of Outsourcing

Culture Barriers

Of course, there are disadvantages to outsourcing as well. For example, if you’re outsourcing off-shore, there’s plenty of reason to worry about things like language barriers and time zones, which can hinder productivity for in-house developers.

Perceived Lack of Control

Many companies are also uncomfortable with the lack of managerial control that comes from outsourcing, as the project can suffer without their direct oversight. Similarly, employing in-house testers also shortens the communication chain, improving communication between developers, managers, and QA professionals.

Security Concerns

Another consideration is security- if your system is comprised of sensitive information, outsourcing may not be the best option. This is all to say nothing of the concern over things like taking jobs away from your local economy and the bad press associated with it, which has been discussed ad nauseam by plenty of media outlets in the past few years.

There are also advantages to employing your own in-house team for testing. The first and most obvious is the ease of communication between departments; having a test team in the same office as the developers avoids confusion with time zones or language barriers discussed above. There’s also the bias that testers will have for the products they test; there’s a component of pride to an in-house testing team. Since their company’s name is attached to the product they’re testing, they might be more thorough in their testing than an outsourced contractor. Downsides, though, are the costs associated with this method, particularly due to the aspects mentioned above, such as staffing (finding, hiring, and training your own team of testers from the potentially-limited talent pool surrounding your office) as well as overhead.

The Algorithm is a lie

The decision to outsource versus employ an in-house testing team is one which depends greatly on a company’s specific situation, and it’s impossible to give an algorithm by which every company should decide which approach to use. It’s also possible to use either or both depending on the specific project you’re undertaking; a small group of in-house testers can work with an outsourced company while working on one product, and choose one or the other for the next. However, whatever choice you make should only come after careful consideration of the pros and cons, as well as the effect they could have on your internal teams and their respective projects.