Offshoring quality assurance processes has become a common practice in the software development industry. Testers residing in countries such as Bulgaria, India and China can offer comparable skills to local professionals at a lower cost. The promise of reducing labor expenses has enticed numerous companies to pursue offshoring services. However, there are a number of inherent risks that decision-makers should be aware of when outsourcing aspects of their software development procedures. By planning for these challenges and having the tools in place to effectively address them, businesses can ensure that their offshoring projects result in a success.
Appetizer Mobile CEO and Forbes contributor Jordan Edelson highlighted some of these concerns, urging potential adopters to be take certain precautions when contracting an offshore team. For instance, team leaders should ensure that their off-site counterparts have comparable hardware at their disposal to conduct testing processes. Many developers assume that QA units located in other countries use the same technology when they actually lean on outdated equipment and software. This will inevitably cause problems during the production cycle and impede the testing process.
Bridge communication gaps with test management software
Edelson also warned decision-makers about the potential issues that can arise from miscommunication. Language barriers, time zone differences and the sheer distance can all conspire to make collaboration and communication between programmers and testers a chore.
“It is hard enough to explain to an experienced person in the same room with you what you want to build,” Edelson wrote. “Relaying this information to a person thousands of miles away and mostly through electronic communication sets one up for plenty of risk in receiving the product you were seeking. Software development is a highly involved social process with people regularly sharing complex ideas and abstract concepts.”
Such problems can easily derail development as programmers and testers fail to properly notify each other regarding recent changes, builds or bug reports. QA managers can look to alleviate these concerns by deploying a comprehensive test management system. By establishing a single framework for personnel to upload and share information, team members can easily stay in contact with one another, regardless of their relative distance. For instance, QA employees in India can upload the results from their latest test runs as soon as they are finished, placing them in the hands of U.S.-based programmers without delay.
Another issue that many development studios encounter when employing offshoring practices is maintaining oversight. Because certain team members do not conduct their work from a central office, QA leaders may have trouble effectively monitoring their performance and ensuring that they stay on task. SaM Solutions managing director Wade Brantley noted that this was one of the most prevalent myths surrounding QA outsourcing.
Organizations can effectively alleviate these concerns as well by deploying a high-quality test management platform. With the right tool, everyone from managers to C-level officers can view test team progress at both granular and broad levels. This way, processes that are detrimental to the production cycle can be quickly spotted and addressed before they drag down operations. In addition, supervisors can use this information to better allocate resources to maximize the team’s output and get more performance out of their resources.