Software Testing: Appointing a Suitable Independent Service Provider

Software Testing: Appointing a Suitable Independent Service Provider
November 30 13:49 2017  

Note: the article was updated in August 2020.

Ready to appoint a third-party testing service provider to ensure the maximum product quality?

It can be tempting to expect them to embark on a new project and start testing straight away. In reality, however, it would be more efficient to determine the requirements, service provider selection criteria, and general terms of cooperation first.

Follow this step-by-step guide to choosing and appointing a supplier that will bring quality, security, and trust to the product development process.

Step 1. Determining the Requirements

Before appointing a service provider, specify the requirements for the testing program. They should be formally defined, driven by precise objectives, and recorded in a requirements specification. Therefore, consider the following:

  • a software development methodology
  • main stages of the process
  • project budget
  • the expected size of the project team
  • available resources
  • business and functional goals
  • available time frames
  • business model
  • size of QA team
  • the scope of work
  • required testing types
  • consideration of any impact on IT infrastructure and confidential data

Requirements for the testing program should be formally recorded in a requirements specification, reviewed by tech experts and business analysts, and monitored regularly.

Step 2. Searching for a Service Provider

Even though the market competition remains intense, the quality of testing services raise doubts sometimes.

To avoid money and time losses, use the recommendations from the trusted sources, or rate lists of testing providers, for example, Clutch ratings. Freelance marketplaces such as Upwork come in handy too.

Carry out some background research to check whether the candidates have a solid reputation and experience in the testing types you require, as well as their customer feedback.

Check whether the cost of the service fits your budget. Also, keep in mind the provider’s location and time zone to settle a productive workflow. Shortlist several candidates to select the most suitable one.

Step 3. Selecting a Service Provider

To verify the competence of potential vendors, prepare a test assignment with a time limit, e.g., to test a module/unit of your software. Then compare the results paying attention to the following aspects: quality of bug reports, quality of communication, and prepared recommendations on improvements.

Taking into account the test results and your personal impression, decide on what provider to choose. However, remember that you should select the provider within two weeks maximum to have time for prep activities.

Step 4. Communicating the Requirements

To ensure a smooth workflow, provide a QA team with all available documentation: specifications, requirements, analysis of the market and target users, release notes and updates, test cases, test plan, bug reports if available, access to the bug tracking system, for example, Jira, Redmine, task management systems, and messengers. Prepare a list of devices, OS’s, browsers, and hardware configurations that testing should cover.

Define a contact person responsible for coordinating the work with a remote team. The person should know well the product and stages of the workflow to be able to answer any questions occurring during the testing process.

Step 5. Defining Terms of Cooperation

The tech team from the customer’s side and a QA team lead from the contractor’s side get introduced to each other in the early stage of the cooperation. The QA team lead communicates the project requirements and updates to QA engineers.

A general meeting of all project team members involves a discussion regarding the testing priorities, expected results, distribution of responsibilities, bug fixing process, etc.

Never underestimate the importance of selecting the right independent testing service provider. The overall product success heavily depends on whether it is being tested by the right people for the right reasons at the right time. Make sure that your chosen contractor meets or exceeds the selection criteria and provides tangible value for money.

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Ivanna Kyryk
Ivanna Kyryk

has 5 years experience in management, experience in testing, marketing, sales, business development, manages 15+ active projects, leads team of more than 20 members.

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