The secret to reducing outsourced software testing

abstract technololgy image / The secret to reducing outsourced software testing

Hands up if you’ve ever had to outsource software testing? Obviously, I can’t see whether your hand was up – but I’m willing to bet that lots of you have outsourced software testing capabilities in the past – either in part, or completely.

And often for what feel like good reasons, such as a lack of expertise in-house to run software testing at scale, tightly stretched time scales and that it can be cheaper than hiring a dedicated testing resource – not to mention the peace of mind that someone else is taking care of it.

However, with the right tools, you can actually test faster, better and more cheaply by doing it in-house.

What do you mean, “the right tools”?

Most software testing – especially User Acceptance Testing (UAT) – is managed via a combination of spreadsheets, emails, screenshots and hope. For those doing automated testing, add another software program to the list – as well as a lot of complex coding, depending on how good your test automation software is.

When organizations only had to test a few updates a year, this was OK – but now that cloud platforms are pushing updates to organizations quarterly or even monthly, existing testing processes are getting messy, and things are starting to fall through the cracks.

Original Software is an advocate for using purpose-built and fit-for-purpose software to get a handle on software testing at scale. In particular, tools that let you manage automated and manual testing together, simplify test creation and management and integrate with developer tools.

Lacking expertise? Get a tool that anyone can use

Typically, you’d go to an outsourcer for types of expertise like familiarity with the process, ability to create automated test scripts and manual testing instructions and experience guiding business users through manual testing phases.

With the right tools, these tasks can be done by your own people quickly and easily. You can even bring user acceptance testing back in-house, removing the hassle and risk of getting a third party to pose as your own business users for testing.

What’s important is that you invest in a tool that’s intuitive and simple for both test managers and business users. You also want to find a tool that can show you the status of your testing at a glance. With those things in place, anyone can step into the role of test manager with ease, and business users can conduct tests without the need for excessive coaching or support.

The test creation piece is where lots of people stumble – after all, even code-free solutions can be quite complex depending on how customized your systems are. Fortunately, automated test creation really is simple when using the right tools. You can even do it just by recording a user going about their work. The same goes for creating manual tests. And, because of this, it’s also very easy and intuitive for users to take tests. They just do the things they normally do!

Testing doesn’t have to be time-consuming

It’s true that outsourcing will often free up time for your in-house employees to focus on other things. However, bringing testing back in-house may not eat up as much of your team’s time as expected; the time you save is always going to be balanced against the cost of outsourcing. If you can make testing fast enough, the cost of outsourcing may start to become unattractive.

The greatest time-sinks for testing are generally managing the test library, the administration and ongoing management of tests and ensuring that feedback from users is triaged and passed to developers. The right tools can drastically reduce the time those take. For example, Original Software’s UAT solution has been proven to deliver software 60 percent faster than traditional testing methods.

This works by centralizing test management, so that test admin and management is far quicker. Additionally, the way software can be utilized to administer tests makes it easier for test users to give meaningful feedback in context. Test managers can triage feedback better, and developers can identify the problem.

Nobody gives you peace of mind like you can

A lot of people like to outsource to trusted parties because it feels safe, which is fair enough. Getting testing wrong can bring a company to a complete halt and, given the pressures application delivery teams are under, handling things in-house might feel too risky. But, if you can develop a mature and robust in-house software testing process, then you might feel even safer than you do currently.

Outsourcing isn’t without its risks. You’re not directly managing the team, you don’t know them, and they may not know your business as well as you’d like – which could lead to crucial elements getting missed during testing cycles, especially when outsourcing the user role in UAT.

Therefore, you can have much greater control over your testing than managing it through spreadsheets and emails ever could. The right tools let you see EXACTLY which tests have been done, which ones are due and what’s happening with the feedback from completed tests.

Test automation software can take a unique approach in that it shows what’s changed in your software. It can also adapt scripts mid-test if your software has changed significantly enough that traditional scripts would break.

The right tools pay for themselves

It’s clear that software testing platforms can get testing done far better and faster than organizations have ever been able to manage before. What that translates into is the ability to do testing in-house without having to hire platoons of staff, and using your own business users who fully understand the processes you’re trying to test.

While outsourcers can be relied upon to err on the side of overstaffing a project, tools that give you complete visibility and control of your testing allow you to hire the right resource to get the job done (or manage it within your existing team).

Time for outsourcing to get out?

Testing solutions can be designed specifically to make software testing faster, easier, and more effective – making it possible to deliver world-class testing entirely in-house. That includes business process documentation to quickly create manual and automated tests, a manual testing solution and automated testing, alongside a solution to reduce the effort of UAT and a test management solution – finally keeping all your testing in one place.