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Managing testing for quality and value

Testing services offer software application providers increased scheduling flexibility, a variety of QA skill levels and access to a variety of hardware (devices, platforms, versions). Testing services provide business value, but be aware of how you want to manage the testing effort and what types of testing you need and when. In this article, we’ll discuss the advantages of testing services and provide tips on test management to enhance business value.

Test Management

Testing services allow the application business to choose management options for the QA testing team.  Whether you choose to manage the QA testing or let the service manage it, make sure you track tasks, testing schedules, and defect reporting.  Planning on how you’re going to receive and process the QA work coming in from the testing service is critical to getting the best business value.

For example, consider how you’ll communicate with the testing services team.  Who will be the central contact point for questions or issues?  Who will provide the basic training they’ll need to get up and running? What test cases will you provide them?  

Planning for test management beforehand is critical to testing success. Determining communication paths and the type of testing you need are part of your initial test management definition process.

Communication

One of the first steps is deciding on a communication tool and contact list for the testing service team to use.  You’ll need a communication tool that allows training and issue resolution communication.  Skype, Google, GoTo meeting or other online communication methods are useful for quick and timely meetings or discussions daily or whenever needed.  They also offer video capabilities to help teams feel connected and when a face to face meeting is desired. 

Decision Point - What types of testing?

What types of testing do you need?  Do you need fresh eyes on the application prior to a beta release or do you need specialized testing that your internal QA team can’t complete?  

Keep in mind that by using a testing services team, you’ll automatically be enhancing your load and performance testing.  Testers located around the world typically provide automatic test coverage expansion because they’re working on different platforms, network systems, and a wider range of devices and device configurations.

Testing service teams can provide valuable regression testing.  They can execute existing test cases with a fresh look.  Having a larger variety of testers also expands business value by finding new defects, and re-finding defects already reported.  Newly discovered defects are definitely a business value bonus.  However, those defects reported repeatedly, also offer business value because they’ll tell how often users run into the issue. Many minor defects may be worth fixing when found by multiple users, repetitively.

Once you’ve determined the type of testing needed, plan how to provide training and update, valid test case suites.  Sharing test cases provide training and application documentation.  In most cases, only a brief overview of the application functionality is needed for the team to be able to execute the test cases efficiently.

QA testing provides the most business value when testing types, schedules, and communication needs are planned in advance.  Sharing test artifacts assists in providing training and getting the test services team off to a quality start.