It is crucial your outsourced QA team is employed by the right set of people. It goes without saying that quality assurance practices is a crucial step to any company. Quality Assurance practices, or QA for short, allows a product to be tested thoroughly before being available to the market or client. This ensures that any design or functional flaws are caught before it is released; if too many problems are discovered by the client or the public, it can cause customer distress and you may find that there is hesitation to work with your company further, especially if they are first time client. Often the nature of these QA practices is what separates companies and products from each other – those who offer a quality guarantee are more inclined to attract and retain customers, whilst poorly managed processes increase the likelihood of risks, loss of product value and overall customer dissatisfaction. See the list of things to consider when managing and employing your QA team to maximise excellence and achievement.
Selecting an engagement model is the crucial aspect of developing the outsourcing plan. The process involves several factors, including aspects of international business strategy, selecting the geographical location, understanding the landscape and deciding on the outsourcing strategy. Two main models to select from is incremental outsourcing, which divides the work into smaller, more manageable projects with well defined deliverables which mitigates any potential risks; or total outsourcing, where multiple projects and programs are outsourced to a web development service provider with a dedicated onsite team that coordinates an outsourced staff who does the bulk of the work. Choosing and sticking to a model will ensure fluidity with your outsourced QA team scouting and selection.
Service level agreements
Service Level Agreements, or SLAs for short, outline the minimum level of service to be provided by the outsourcing vendor. They should be objective, measurable and have no ambiguity which will help both parties in the long run to work seamlessly together. Good examples that should be considered include:
- On time delivery – dates must be agreed from the outset on all major deliverables with all efforts to stick to this deadline
- Client satisfaction – periodic surveys conducted to ensure the service lives up to the expectations of the clients/customers
- Sensitivity – the amount of time required for an outsource company to handle a request
- Effectiveness – focus on lowering costs, improving profit and adjusting business transactions
- Volume of work – this is to determine how projects are billed. It’s often difficult to define but one of the most crucial aspects of the SLA
- System Downtime and Availability – in outsourcing, guaranteeing 100% availability of services costs significantly more than guaranteeing 99% or even 98, and not every company needs 100%. The SLA should request service availability to meet specific business needs.
Once the contract is signed there will be a period of mobilisation for both parties. This phase generally includes setting up communication protocol with the client, defining work breakdown structure, sharing standard templates with the client, building test strategy etc. Some of the key elements include:
Offshore outsourcing providers such as Outsourced maintain a pool of highly qualified professionals which include QA engineers, QA leads, project managers and technical specialists. These outsourcing partners have unique centres of excellence to train their interns and employees and various testing methodologies and tools to guarantee their success within the companies they are outsourced to. Ensuring the most appropriate resources for your requirements are in place is critical for the success of the engagement.
Outsourcing providers follow various approaches to obtain adequate knowledge for the test engineers to understand the core business requirements and also the critical functionality to be tested. Test leads or managers will be sent onsite long/short term to meet various stakeholders in the client organisation to understand the product system and it’s features. They will assume the responsibility of training the offshore team on the product/system to be tested and all the features of it that he client and the outsourcing vendor have agreed to be tested.
Some applications require extensive compatibility testing in different environments and back-end database systems. Other applications need to be tested in production-sized environments that closely resemble the final production environment. Outsourcing business providers, with their extensive test labs, should simulate the production environment for performing such complex levels of testing. The cost for setting up this environment offshore would be negotiated with customers with a cost effective solution being drawn in favour of both parties.
Integration with other third party service providers
Independent QA and testing is becoming more and more common. One of the reasons for this is that it provides objective rigor and thoroughness that might not be provided by a single vendor. However in this scenario, it is important that all the parties work harmoniously together to achieve the optimal result. A clearly defined defect management and resolution process should be established as a high priority and making sure consistent reporting styles on progress will make it easier on all parties to assess the readiness of any application throughout its lifecycle.
Outsourcing It providers facilitate seamless communication between the client and their stakeholders. As communication is considered a key obstacle in outsourcing, providers maintain effective channels and points of contact (POC) open to clients. An effective model and plan should be tailored to the needs of the client would help both parties in identifying and resolving issues promptly. It is also important that formal reporting or scheduled progress updates are delivered accordingly. This will not only ensure that a consistent progress flow is occurring, but it gives plenty of opportune moments to develop interpersonal working relationships with your software testing or QA team.
Flexibility and Scalability
Outsourced QA and testing agreements demand a degree of flexibility and scalability to help ensure fluctuations in scope and timescales can be met. Your offshore solutions provider must have an organisation with infrastructure and resources sufficiently sized so that the client demands are met. The correct scope and planning helps prevent this but some eventualities are unavoidable. It is therefore important that clients have an expectation that should the nature of the requirements change, there will be provision made within the contract or through food change management processes.
The key objective of the client is to gain a significant improvement in quality and this can be
achieved through the benefits of outsourcing. In order to do this, there are some fundamental steps that need to be taken. The outsourcing provider needs to asses and map the clients testing capability to understand how the engagement is going to to work. Identifying the “major gaps” in test processes from the outset and implementing positive changes to address these will result in quality improvements. as the relationship matures between the two parties, there should be a willingness to continually improve process and working methods etc. This should not necessarily be restricted to just texting, but the whole lifecycle if it improves the end product.
Outsourced is a leading BPO solutions and outsourcing company in the Philippines. We provide a dedicated remote staff and offer high quality outsourced IT services for businesses worldwide. Our goal is to find and place exceptional offshore staff, such as a quality assurance tester; who are sure to exceed your expectations. For more information on how to get started with Outsourced, contact us today.