Software testing conducted by independent companies or teams that are not directly related to your company is called - software testing outsourcing.
Software testing is an important part in the software development process, but not all companies are ready to have a staff of QA engineers. In this case, they use the services of QA companies or software testing teams. At the same time, testing outsourcing allows the development team to focus on their core work, and QA engineers do independent work on validation and verification of code.
Related article: QA outsourcing or in house
So, if you want to outsource this critical function to someone else, you should need to take care of the following thing:
1. Be clear about your motives:
You're a client and you're thinking about I want to outsource some or all of the testing on a particular project.
Why are you doing it?
Do you need some trusted testing partner to handle certain work that you think might not be able to handle in-house?
Do you need to bring on some extra hands to deal with some staffing shortages that you might have?
Or maybe you need both?
Maybe you are in need of people with specific skillset such as a performance testing or security testing?
Maybe you're just looking to save money?
Before going for the testing partner, understand what your motivations are! Certainly, there is no harm in kicking some tires to find out what people can do out there in the market; and that might give you some additional ideas and different reasons to outsource. But be careful about going forward with any sort of outsourcing engagement if you're not entirely clear on what your motivations are. If you don't know, where you're going - any path will get you there but problem is - you might not be happy once you get there.
2. Consider about the short-term or long-term relationship:
Another thing that you need to think through is the duration of the assignment. if the relationship is long-term then you want to integrate them fairly closely to that if the relationship is more short-term you might want to handle some of the paperwork requirements.
3. Does your outsourcing partner have adequate resources?
Different organizations tend to do things in different ways, so before going for proper contractual engagement, ask your prospective testing partner the following basic questions:
How do you track defects when you're running testing?
Which tools do you use to locate defects?
How do you track your time involved in testing?
How many team members do you have?
4. Match your processes:
Process differences can cause significant problems. If not managed properly, these can cause tremendous amounts of waste and inefficiency. By the time the project gets going hot and heavy, there is not much time left to resolve them. While, at the beginning of the relationship between the outsourced testing services provider and the client, there would be a plenty of time to resolve the process problems. This shall be a particular problem for an off-site work.
5. Decide on your test strategy:
Let us suppose that you use an analytical risk-based testing strategy and the testing service provider is used to following primarily a requirements-based testing strategy. and maybe your requirements process is not as mature as some of their other clients. This could create some significant problems because the will be asking for clear requirement specs on the test cases. So, deciding on the test strategy beforehand is quintessential.
6. Can your testing partner work on agile?
If you're following an agile methodology and the testing service provider is more used to working with clients that follow a waterfall or a sequential life cycle, that is obviously going to create some integration issues potentially.
7. Decide on cost versus quality:
If you are doing head-to-head comparison across multiple vendors as somebody is way out of line in terms of the price relative to the experience of their people. Cheaper rates do not always mean cheaper quality. It could also be the possibility that your potential testing partner is using market penetration strategy. So, you should try to go for cost effective solutions without compromising on quality.
8. Check their experience and references:
To select the best outsourcing testing partner, do a thorough research on their experience and company profile. Try to contact their previous clients and references they have provided in their proposal. This shall give you an idea of their level of expertise and professionalism. Also make sure that industry's best practices are being adopted by your testing partner.
9. Cultural compatibility:
If you are outsourcing your project to someone living on the other side of the globe, then there might arise some problems with reference to time zone, language and culture. Hence, before deciding on the right outsourcing partner, try to overcome such cultural barriers.
10. Off-site or on-site - which is the best:
Outsourcing doesn't always mean that your testing project shall be completed at someone else's site. You can even outsource your testing engagement while making them work within your own office. If the project has security concerns, then on-site testing is a better option.
Successful test outsourcing involves each side of the relationship, understanding the other side's motivations, recognizing the various process differences that can exist across the different groups involved and managing those process differences in a proper way.
You need to select the right type of contractual relationship between the different parties.
You need to manage the organizational politics that can come up.
You need to make sure that you recognize the importance of relevant experience in the outsourced testing services provider.
You also understand the various resource management issues that outsourcing creates;
Understand implications of using tools for testing and proactively manage the security issues that will rise. Make sure that you again actively and proactively manage the geographical and language issues that will probably come up and be careful to avoid various kinds of planning and estimation blunders that are all too common in this outsourced testing situations.