With software becoming more predominant in our everyday lives, it’s quality becomes more important especially for mission or life critical applications such as healthcare or mechanical equipment (i.e. nuclear power plants, airplanes, etc.) that use software. Today, almost all companies have a software development or IT organization responsible for either developing or managing the use of IT or software.
Many of these companies choose to outsource their requirements for software testing services thinking that it is a low end skill such as mowing a lawn that can be done for 9 dollars an hour or maybe even less. As many have probably found out, Software Testing Services companies are not all the same. Most will do what you tell them to do, but that’s about it. Providing software testing services, however, requires more than execution (doing what is ordered) when it comes to today complex software.
Cost is always a primary consideration, but let’s examine other elements that should be examined when choosing a software testing services company.
Communication: This is often overlooked and mistaken for English capability. Many software testing companies may say that they speak English. However, speaking English and really communicating are not the same. Make sure you pick up the tone of their ‘yes’ so that you know it really means ‘no’. And if there is a delay in their answer, what does that mean. Beware, fluent English and communication are not the same. Sometimes efficient communication can happen even with broken English.
Experience: This means a few things; the kind of software and the domain as well as the type of company. If they say they have worked with Microsoft, Adobe, and Autodesk, does that impress you? Why? These large companies have very mature outsourcing practices and well defined SOWs. So if you are looking for a company that will follow orders and do precisely what they are told, those that have worked for Microsoft are a good bet. If you want a more flexible company that listens carefully and actually may think, what about this way? Or how about that platform? Then maybe a Microsoft vendor is not what you want. Sometimes working for a larger company says nothing about expertise. With regard to what types of software, if they list Adobe on their list of clients, what are they doing? Testing the website or testing Adobe Flex. Big difference in the depth of understanding needed.
Business model: Just charging based on hours and labor rates with no relevancy to the end result, software quality is a mistake. Software testing services need to be geared toward the end result so work with your provider to come up with software quality measurements and base part of the compensation on real improvement.
Quality Assurance Focus: Besides testing, can they do more? Can they think beyond writing and executing test cases to think about the quality of your software? Can they examine your QA processes and suggest improvements? Do they have domain knowledge so that they can ask questions on whether or not a test result makes sense? How much training and guidance on a daily basis do they need from you?
All software testing companies and the software testing services they provide are not all alike. Do you want more than just software testing? If you want a company that will ask the right questions and help you improve your software quality, think about quality, not testing.
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Software Testing Services