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Pain Points- Outsourcing Test Activities

Can anyone throw some light on what could be possible pain points for a company outsourcing their test activties. What do I need to look out for?

SS
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

If you mean outsourcing all of your testing then you need to consider contingency plans if it all goes tits up.

Sure, you can sue the testing company if they don't notice something fundamental, but that'll take years. What will you do in the meantime ?

On a personal note, I can see that outsourcing development work is a good idea (if all you care about is cash), but I would never advocate outsourcing testing. Obviously, you would expect the developers to do unit testing, and probably integration, system and regression testing too, but you should always do the User acceptance testing in-house.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I agree with acceptance testing, don't take anybody else's word for it - it's your software after all. Give them the acceptance critieria from the start, so they know what they are working to.

The main thing is to make sure that design documents are up to a standard that test plans can be created from them. Check their test plans fit your design documents, before you start. Agree to review and revise the test plans regularly - even if it's common sense to change something, they won't if it's not what you originally agreed.

If they do usability testing, make sure there is a UI standard to work to, otherwise it is too subjective.

One final thought - their aim is to complete the contract and get paid. Yours is to make the software marketable. it doesn't matter to them if it isn't marketable, unless you give them some sort of incentive or build in penalty clauses.

PJ
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

From experience I can tell you in-house tester are unbelievably more useful than off-site testers.

Mr Jack
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Seems like companies often don't want to set up and maintain the testing infrastructure. There is substantial investment involved with this. I think the gem in outsourcing might be to have this partner help set up this infrastructure and provide training in best practices to test the application. The knowledge, execution and interpretation of the testing should remain in the company that has an interest in the outcome - ideally.

m
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I thought most companies outsourced testing already.

Some even make the testers pay for the privilege.... one word Beta :)

Tapiwa
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Get a local person to be the "lead tester" for the product. Have that person sit in the design meetings and otherwise fully understand the product. This person should outline the testing requirements in conjunction with the product manager and development manager. (If you're a really small company the lead developer or even the CEO may be wearing all of these hats)

Anyway, the lead tester should review test plans written by the outsourced people and should write a test report for each iteration.

Oh, and do yourself a favor and get a web based defect tracking system. You will need to be able to look at the same bug list as the outsourced people in real time. Sending a spreadsheet over on a daily basis really sucks.

I am not a customer of Fog Creek, but since you're here, you might as well check out their products.

pdq
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Sounds good. Another question- what are the possible problems that I will face when I am outsourcing *testing*. And how do I take care of those*if I can*? How will I be able to determine that- the vendor I GOT is the vendor I WANT?

SS
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

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