With software ‘eating the world’, testing software companies have taken on an increased role with those companies that have software development organizations. And these days, almost all companies have a software development organization.
Testing software companies are not all the same. Some provide software test services as you may expect. But what kinds of criteria separate the different testing software companies. Of course you may think cost is a primary consideration, but let’s examine each of the elements of differentiation.
Cost: This is the most predominant reason that companies decide to use testing software companies. In doing so, the term ‘outsourcing’ or ‘off-shoring’ has become popular. However, just as when you use an overseas manufacturer to make furniture, the cost differential is decreasing in using offshore testing software companies. Additionally, the shipping and logistics, or communications and processes in working with an overseas company can sometimes be cumbersome.
Communication: That brings us to the next factor which is often overlooked. Many testing software companies, especially those that are off shore, may say that they speak English. However, speaking English and really communicating and connecting with meaning are two different things. They may actually be trained to talk about the Dallas Cowboys as part of their training program. They may say ‘yes’ when they actually mean ‘no’. They may say nothing or delay when the answer is no. Or in person, they may shake their heads left and right, when they mean yes. They may also hide problems or potential delays and tell you at the last minute. So beware, fluent English does not equal good communication.
Expertise: Look at what they’ve done, and who they’ve done it for. Testing software companies test all kinds of software. So, different types and depth of expertise can differentiate them quickly. Many may boast that they’ve worked for some big American companies such as Microsoft, or famous, yet smaller companies like Skype. Yet does this mean anything about their expertise? Sometimes working for a larger company could mean they are used to having a lot of direction, or it could mean they are doing only a small part of the testing. If they are working for Oracle, are they testing Oracle financial applications or are they testing the website? Working for smaller companies on the other hand sometimes means they can be good at working with little direction as smaller companies rarely have someone that can pay close attention and give specific orders. Additionally, how broad and deep are their skills in the various testing disciplines?
Testing or QA: This is a big one. Testing software companies test software, of course. But do they do more than that? Can they really think beyond the current build and writing test cases to actually work with you as a partner to increase the quality of your software? Can they give you guidance on your QA processes and how you can work with development more efficiently? Do they have knowledge in your business so that they can examine business rules and requirements and translate them into tests and use cases? Or do they need you to do all that for them before they get started?
As you can see, testing software companies are not all alike. If you want help one time, it probably doesn’t matter. Just get one to help you run some of your test cases. If you want a company that will take your software quality to the next level, you need to look much harder.
Testing Software Companies