Quality Assurance Outsourcing Done Right: The Risks of Offshoring

There are many ways to incorporate quality into your software development testing plans. Learn more about how to form effective partnerships when outsourcing these important efforts.

In today’s competitive environment, everyone is looking for an advantage and offshoring QA testing can be a tempting option. Sales representatives of these types of firms will promise simplicity, capacity, and capability; coverage of all possible languages, platforms, and markets; offer seemingly infinite staff, 24/7 availability, the ability to scale up in minutes, and peace of mind. It’s tempting, we get it.

But if that were true, we wouldn’t have a need to write articles like this. The problem of software testing would be solved if it really was truly as simple as finding a staffing firm to do it for you. The reality is that offshore testing comes at a price, and the cost of not knowing that price can be catastrophic to your business, which may not be worth the risk.

The 3 main challenges with offshoring your quality assurance testing boil down to the following:

  • Communication
  • Visibility
  • Quality

While most people think of communication issues revolving around language and time barriers, they also include electronic communications, as well as local issues out of the control of both the client and the company. In one nightmare scenario, a former client was left hanging because of the hosting country’s military coup resulting in internet access being disconnected indefinitely. Unfortunately in this situation, the client’s savings all but disappeared.

While this is an extreme example, the moral of the story here is that when it comes to quality assurance testing, having strong and effective communication throughout the development process is critical to a successful outcome. At Synapse, we designate a dedicated account representative tasked with ensuring communication is in lock step with your development team’s priorities and needs; resulting in higher trust, fewer escaped defects, and happier customers.

Having visibility into the work your quality assurance team is performing is also a critical factor to success. It’s all-too-easy to be told everything is going fine, goals are on track, and there’s no reason to worry when it comes to testing as it’s especially prone to be “hidden” from executive view since the output of testing is generating bug tickets for problems uncovered. No bug tickets equals high quality code, right? Not without proof! Especially when seeing work performed involves traveling oceans, it’s critical to demand visibility of your testing team’s efforts in the absence of being able to see it with your own eyes.

A great quality assurance testing partnership requires complete transparency into the work your testers are performing, a full suite of maintained tests being performed, and reports of code quality and efficacy of testing efforts to improve the health of your software. Without this level of visibility, it’s impossible to determine the value of your partnership and you don’t want to be surprised down the line with quality problems that negate all savings offshoring provided early on.

Finally, when it comes to quality assurance, it goes without saying that the quality of your testing team’s output is of the utmost importance. It’s a real skill to be able to not only test features or empathize with a user, but to be able to effectively communicate and surface issues relevant to the business and strategize ways to best test and resolve them. Building on the concepts of communication and visibility, these factor into the quality metrics of your testing partnership that should always be delivering real, measurable business value.

Offshoring your testing needs can work. You just have to ask yourself, for something critical to your organizational success, is it really worth taking the chance?

Learn more about how Synapse solves the QA testing challenge for development teams with CarbonQA, our software testing service.

Chris Cardinal
Chris Cardinal
Chris Cardinal is a founding principal of Synapse Studios. His primary focus is on business development but enjoys helping architect software solutions for clients.

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