Communicating changes to the existing process or introducing a change such as outsourcing is critical to project acceptance and success. There are different considerations when an existing internal QA team is in place and when there are no current internal QA resources. The second is likely much easier for personnel concerns but involves either complete documentation or training.
When you have an internal QA team
First, gather factual data around code coverage and document the types of testing the internal team conducts. What is missing? Is it a case of not enough resources, not enough hardware options, or that you need “other” types of testing executed? Create a document that lists precisely what QA tasks are done internally and which will become the responsibility of the outsourced team.
Here’s a basic example:
Internal QA Team:
TestWare QA Team
In the above example, it’s assumed the internal QA team is booked with new feature functional and integration testing during development sprints. They execute regression testing either continuously during the development cycle, or as part of a regression cycle at the end of the release.
The outsourced QA team runs daily smoke tests against the latest build, security testing (specialty), as well as performance and load testing which also requires specialized tools or development experience. The outsourced team assists in executing regression testing. If you schedule specific test parties or bug hunts be sure to include both teams. Divide responsibilities between QA teams to substantially increase testing coverage and quality.
When you meet with the internal QA team, be prepared to answer questions similar to:
Answer their questions with valid, factual information and be as honest as possible. For example, providing specialty training to existing team members is expensive. It’s more cost efficient and timely to use already trained and managed specialty resources. Hiring for short-term projects doesn’t make business sense when an outsourced team provides both short and long term testing resources. In this example, the organization is supplementing QA resources rather than replacing them. Set the expectation that outsourcing is an expansion of the team, rather than a reduction.
Next, you need to convince an existing subject matter expert to train the outsourced team and be a contact point for questions. Consider if one resource can perform their current duties, and be the outsourced team liaison or do you need time from more than one existing resource? You need the outsourced team to be supported to enhance their value. Without application training or a single contact point for questions, the outsourced team will take longer to get up to speed and be productive.
When you don’t have an existing QA team
If the organization does not have an existing QA team, then the same support and training responsibilities must be championed by other team members. You still need the outsourced team to receive training on using the application. You still need a single point of contact for their questions and issues. The contact point is necessary to keep the team from becoming stuck because they’re unable to resolve an issue and it blocks their testing.
What about tests to execute? You’ll need existing resources to provide application training. Training and accurate documentation become even more critical when you don’t have existing test cases. Make sure the outsourced team receives valid documentation and training. Otherwise, they’ll spend more time trying to figure out the application, than finding defects. Even if you’re outsourcing specialty testing items like security or performance, the team still needs a contact point and training. Plan on providing instruction on your network system, network rules, and application.
Consider inviting the outsourced team to the stand-ups or discussion meetings. Keep them involved in team meetings and discussion as much as possible. In this way, you ensure they can communicate clearly with other team members.
The method you communicate with (tools) is as important as making sure the outsourced team is able to communicate using the tools provided. An established communication protocol is the key to keeping the outsourced QA team productive and in tune with the organization’s needs.
Get the biggest bang for your testing dollars by ensuring your QA teams get what they need to succeed.