How Outsourcing Can Help Your Business with a QUICK and QUALITY Reboot

The crisis has already impacted all the industries globally. To return to the previous scale and adjust to new market rules, businesses need to change some of their habits and usual working practices.

Having optimized the resources during quarantine, the companies now have to face diverse consequences. Everyone had to handle the crisis differently, particularly, due to the financial capacities. Some had to fire QA engineers, some suggested a leave of absence until the situation stabilizes, some, on the contrary, hired more. But eventually, the businesses need to recover momentum and adjust to the new business models required by the new consumer behavior.

A Few Words about Economic Rebound

At some point, tech companies will face a pent-up demand. It will cause the need for qualified specialists to become competitive again. Outsourcing allows you to do it quickly and efficiently.

Quality assurance is essential for tech businesses and start-ups that crawl out of recession and need a quick restart. People have been forced to digitize every sphere of their lives in due time. The software quality increased quickly to withstand the load. To stay competitive, you need to stick to the same high level. This task requires proper testing and a highly-functional team that can carry it out.

Quarantine & Remote

Who could have imagined, we managed to adjust every aspect of our lives to online communication! Work conferences, schools, doctor consultations, even theatres have gone online. If you were skeptical about outsourcing before, now you see that it is possible to set up remote work efficiently, especially if a partner company has enough/huge experience with this.

The economic crisis of 2008 was also followed by the growth of outsourcing. Interestingly, companies didn’t consider remote teams as a key cost-reduction strategy or an emergency action. This trend was generated from the need to create more flexible conditions and processes to be better prepared for the economic crises in the future. Along with the desire to reduce operating costs, entrepreneurs aimed to transform the processes, operate more effectively on the global level, acquire new skills, adopt technologies to stay competitive.

The list of major companies that adopted outsourcing strategies in 2009 include Apple Inc., Cisco Systems, and IBM. Yes, besides overseas manufacturing and support centers, they have outsourced software development tasks as well.

Why Remote Team Is a Solution for a QUICK and QUALITY Reboot

After the crisis, outsourcing is relevant more than ever. Besides the universal advantages, there is a big draw — quick and quality reboot. So what are the pros & cons of outsourcing in 2020?

Pros:

  • Improvements in software performance. We only know how good software is after it is properly tested. A great idea doesn’t make an excellent app unless it offers flawless performance.
  • Optimization of developers’ work. Developers tend to be more productive when they focus only on code writing. QA tasks can distract their attention, affecting the quality of both coding and testing.
  • Quick reboot. You will need to choose the right time to restart the business with renewed vigour and to do it quickly. Hiring new employees is a time-consuming process, while outsourcing allows you to start acting immediately with a qualified team.
  • Cost-saving. Companies can save as much as 25% of costs compared to hiring an in-house team, though the number depends on a particular case. Try not to set the economy as your main priority.

Cons:

  • Developers and QA engineers don’t sit in the same room. If you haven’t worked with a remote outsource team, it seems that the distance will slow down the communication process.
  • Different time zones. There is a chance that your working schedules won’t be synchronized due to different locations. On the other hand, you can choose a QA vendor from a close time zone, discuss the working schedules and cooperation scenarios in case of an emergency

As learned from our experience, some companies are willing to replace in-house teams by remote ones, some choose to do the opposite, and some apply a mixed model. Whether you need to build a QA process from scratch or extend your team, QA outsourcing is a way to do it.

Increased Demand, or Why You Need Your QA Talents Back

There is a common belief that developers shouldn’t test. Well, it is not a myth or misconception.
We have already mentioned the pent-up demand, so let’s figure out how it works.

Businesses will have to be prepared for the gradually increasing demand. The demand for products will become higher compared to recent months. Businesses will get back to normal gradually and start with partial openings. There is a chance that you will simultaneously get new post-crisis projects, continue working on old projects that were on hold for a while, and the demand for remote software solutions will remain high.

Developers can write code and test when the workload in the company has become more moderate during quarantine. When the scope of work grows, perhaps it will become difficult to cover both development and testing tasks.
Besides, there are some universal benefits to have a separate QA team relevant during/after a crisis and when the economy is buoyant.

  • Developers fail to see issues in their code. Some are certain that their work is bug-free. The majority just become less perceptive of mistakes while they work with the code for a long time.
  • QA specialists aren’t just less experienced developers. The QA team does more than just testing. They develop testing strategies, prepare testing cases, come up with ideas on how to optimize and improve software, etc. Moreover, QA roles are changing as quality and user focus become closely linked. QA experts don’t just monitor software flow, they add value to business processes, too.
  • Developers have little experience in testing. When developers shift to quality assurance, they usually focus on testing software code and system. QA engineers focus on the human element and apply user-oriented approach to ensure positive experience for the end consumer.

Dedicated Team Strategy

We offer clients two strategies for cooperation — an estimate and a dedicated team. If you choose an estimate, we allocate QA engineers who are currently available to work on your project (for 100 hours, for example). Very often, clients move from an estimate to the dedicated team strategy.

A dedicated team completely devotes themselves to your project. This is a perfect option in case:

  • you want to build long-lasting relationships between development and QA divisions.
  • you work on a dynamic project with changing requirements and a huge potential for scalability.
  • it is difficult to arrange, train or manage an in-house QA team.

We introduce the members of the team gradually. For example, if you need 10 QA specialists on your project, 2 or 3 of them are ready to join immediately. The team expands as new engineers are employed. There is also a QA manager in the team — a person who monitors the work and communicates with you the most.

The dedicated team is a way to pay more attention to critical business issues without employing more in-house QA specialists. The specific terms of cooperation, including team structure, amount of work, terms of payment, etc. are formalized by the Master Service Agreement.

How Remote Works

The outsourcing market is very competitive. Finding a reliable remote team is even more difficult than managing it. Here is a short step-by-step guide on how to choose a software testing vendor.

Step 1. Do the research.

Don’t rely solely on the Google search results list. Maybe some teams pay more attention to SEO and promotion than the quality of services they provide. To choose a reliable partner:

  • read reviews on Clutch.co and other ranking resources;
  • contact other CTOs and CEOs to find out about their partners;
  • find out your business competitors’ choice;
  • prepare a shortlist of companies to take a closer look at;
  • exclude those with the “we-can-test-everything” approach.

Step 2. Consider time zones.

Matching schedules is one of the key concerns. If you aren’t certain whether it would be convenient to work with a team that isn’t located in your time zone, contact them to discuss the details.

Step 3. Check the prices.

Request a price list and discuss the company’s budget. Many vendors offer competitive rates, and it is better not to aim for the cheapest vendor. The cost depends on the cooperation models. Usually, it’s time & material basis (work by an estimate) or full-time resource basis (a dedicated team) we’ve already mentioned above.

Step 4. Get an estimate.

The final price always depends on project complexity and business goals. Before the start, a QA vendor should provide an in-depth report based on the analysis of your product.

Step 5. Find out the details about the cooperation.

Outsourced teams have their own values, principles, and vision. To find out if they match yours, communicate with the QA team. It is okay to ask about their experience, successful testing cases, even checking the CVs. Here are some things to consider:

  • Is there a language barrier?
  • Does the team follow deadlines strictly?
  • Are they proactive?
  • Do they cope with assigned tasks only or go beyond and suggest improvements?
  • Do they value regular discussions and provide detailed reports?
  • Are the terms of cooperation transparent and clear?

If everything sits well with you, discuss copyright protection. It is usually a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) that outlines the confidential information both parties share.

Then comes the cooperation itself. Explain your goals, needs, and expectations to the team. Receive a unique QA approach based on the shared info. Get reports and quick fast-quality delivery of the expected.

How to Manage an Outsourced Team

Effective management is crucial for every team. Here are some basic principles to keep in mind if you want to build an efficient long-lasting relationship.

  • Set clear goals. Explain the important details of your product to the team.
  • Stay in communication with the QA team. Ask for progress updates. Check reports. Ask questions if something is unclear.
  • Set realistic expectations & deadlines. Remember that the independent vendor is a business, too, with the processes, projects, and workload. Deadlines are something to be negotiated.
  • 100% bug-free software is never achievable (though we aim to). Estimate overall software quality, not the quantity of non-critical bugs.

The efficiency of the team depends on the contract terms and ability of both sides to adopt the working processes quickly. Very often, companies that consider a shift to outsourcing are concerned about the discipline of a remote QA team. This is unnecessary. Of course, you don’t get to see those QA specialists in the office every day, but we do.

An outsourcing company doesn’t just assign a QA engineer to work on your project and then forgets about it. There is always a manager on our side who supervises big teams. If there are only a few QA engineers working on a project, a client can decide whether to assign an in-house manager or we will assign ours. Besides, discipline and personal leadership are among the most important requirements for every candidate we hire.

Cooperation Between QA and Development Teams

Many things have a more damaging effect on a project than distance — miscommunication, for example. This issue can arise even when QA specialists and developers are sitting in one room. Instead of “what if” concerns focus on what helps to create a productive working environment and ensure product growth.

  • Clear requirements. Yes, this thing again 🙂 We won’t get tired to repeat that well-formulated demands are key to effective work.
  • Shared priorities. Both teams should focus on quality and prioritize defects to synchronize their work.
  • Continuous communication. Reports, feedback, questions, suggestions, discussions — use all forms of communication to share a clear picture of what is going on.
  • Agile methodology. Flexibility and the ability to rapidly respond to the changes in project development is very helpful.
  • Test-driven development. TDD is not a must, but it is helpful. Developing and testing a feature in one iteration isn’t an easy task. Still, such approach is a way to keep both teams fully aware of the coding stages, testing progress, and deadlines.

Challenges of Outsourcing

Meeting in person may seem like a more reliable way to choose a partner. Nevertheless, now we all know that it is possible to manage a huge team remotely, to shift an entire school or a huge tech conference online, etc. Under these circumstances, the challenges of outsourcing don’t seem that scary.

  • What to outsource? Manual testing is cheaper, while automation is a better solution over the long run, especially if you have a dynamic product that is constantly updated, and both are desirable for 100% efficiency. But don’t lose any sleep over it, a good team will help you with choosing the right strategy.
  • Miscommunication. Lack of understanding of business goals is a problem for any team. Business goals shouldn’t be a secret known by top management only. Before assigning tasks to the team, always explain what you aim to achieve.
  • Fear of copyright data loss. We sign NDA and don’t share the information concerning the software we test. We guarantee total security and integrity.

Post-Crisis Tips

QA Madness has been working remotely with clients all over the world for 12 years. It helped us to learn how to adjust to remote communication. The crisis has reminded once more about the significance of flexibility for tech companies. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a friendly reminder.

Whether you are struggling with the current issues or waiting for the time to implement all the new ideas you have come up with during quarantine, the tips below may help you to adjust to the new realities.

  • Try to retain employees. We know it is not always possible. Still, a reliable team will help to recover faster when the demand for your services starts to grow.
  • Consider QA outsourcing. It is a good alternative for extension or assembling an in-house team. Outsourcing helps to skip a time-consuming recruitment process and shift directly to testing.
  • Embrace the new reality. Things are not as they used to be. New business trends will require flexibility and fast decision-making.
  • Adjust to the market. You can adopt new rules or set your own rules. The quickest one will become an industry trend-setter.
  • Approach other businesses with your ideas. If you have some ideas of new remote software solutions, offer them to potential clients. Maybe that’s what some of them are looking for.

A Shift to Outsourcing: How to Start

QA services are not the only niche that can work remotely. Software development, different kinds of consulting services, digital marketing agencies and many more businesses provide services remotely. When you opt for outsourcing, you let the professionals do their work, get a chance to focus on management, and often cut costs for an in-house team.

QA Madness can prove that outsourcing provides all those benefits mentioned before. Each project is unique, and we’ll be glad to provide you with more detailed information tailored to your needs. Just leave us a message and we’ll contact you to share more!

Originally published at https://www.qamadness.com on April 17, 2020.

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