Things To Consider Before Hiring An Independent QA Vendor
Quality has become the norm for every business. A report uncovered that less than 25 percent of mobile app users return after the first day of use. With frequent release cycles and increasing customer expectations; businesses are struggling to maintain quality and provide a seamless customer experience.
Having an inhouse QA team with all the automation tools and resources is a cost-intensive affair and there is no guarantee that it would meet your QA purpose. Hence, it has become crucial for enterprises to partner with independent QA vendors to ensure robust and dependable products are delivered to customers. Here are a few crucial things that should be kept in mind while looking for a suitable independent QA vendor.
- Engagement Models
Deciding the right engagement model is one of the most crucial steps in outsourcing. Here, CIOs need to understand the business strategy, selection the location and select the outsourcing plan.
Depending upon your requirement, you can either select an incremental outsourcing or complete outsourcing plan.
- Incremental Outsourcing – All the tasks are divided into smaller parts and every part is outsourced to the independent QA vendor. However, the catch here is that you can select multiple QA vendors. This model ensures lower risk for the supplier and helps businesses to keep the portfolio and product knowledge in-house. One challenge in this model is the need to coordinate with multiple clients to ensure tasks are executed in time.
- Total Outsourcing – All the tasks are assigned to a single independent QA vendor. This model is more cost-efficient because here, the risk is on the supplier. However, very immaculate planning is required to make this arrangement successful.
2 Team Location
Whether to go with an offshore software testing company or look for a vendor in the same country remains the biggest question. Offshore independent testing vendors offer greater value for money but are placed thousands of miles apart. Time zone barriers and cultural differences are some of the barriers you might face with offshore QA testing vendors. But if the vendor is well equipped to overcome these barriers then it is the best option to consider.
On-shore independent testing partners will charge more but eliminates your apprehensions of cultural, language and time-zone barriers.
It is crucial to evaluate all options carefully to identify which option can add more value.
3 Service Level Agreement (SLA)
SLA is the contract signed between the two parties i.e. service provider and client. The agreement defines the tasks to be done and the expected output within the stipulated timeline by the service provider. Immaculate drafting of SLA is crucial to ensure 100 percent alignment of goals amid the client and service provider. It should be planned and drafted while keeping the KPIs, engagement model and the type of testing plan.
Here are some key points that you should consider keeping in the SLA.
- Project management timelines and reporting
- Quality control metrics including defect reporting quality, test plan quality, test case efficiency and traceability among others
- Efficient knowledge transfer
- Process compliance
- Core business knowledge
The mobilization phase consists of creating SLA, formulating the Statement of Work (SOW) and developing the contract. This phase is basically that stage where both the organizations come together to finalize the terms and give a green signal to the outsourcing of QA services.
The process includes intimation to the service provider about the contract, SLA and statement of work. All the agreed interests of both client and vendor should be protected in writing. The arrangement should encourage a long term and fruitful engagement between the client and the service provider.
5 Scalability and Flexibility
Any successful outsourcing arrangement demands a degree of flexibility in timelines to meet unexpected situations. Both parties should examine capabilities, ability to modify, ease of exit and robustness to decide the degree of flexibility and chances of scalability in the foreseeable future for strategic requirements.
6 Quality Enhancement
Businesses’ primary objective to outsource QA is to achieve better quality while staying cost-efficient. Hence, it is expected from the service provider to constantly strive to enhance processes and working methodologies. The primary goal is to achieve an overall enhancement in the quality of end products or services.
7 Change Management
It is essential for service providers to have a robust change management mechanism in place. Clients often ask for frequent changes in the requirement that significantly impacts the testing cycle workflow. Well planned change management system can contain the escalated costs, time and resources.
8 Intellectual Property Protection (IPR)
While outsourcing service to the independent QA vendor, IPR protection is a vital concern for clients. It is a constant challenge to safeguard intellectual property and innovations of the business from getting leaked into the market. It would be wise to segregate intellectual properties based on the criticality of the business objective they serve and the chain of command that should access to all the information.
Vendors should have a robust mechanism where all the personally identifiable information (PII) facilitated by the client be used in absolute confidentiality strictly for the purpose of business. Any data kind of client’s data breach should attract a hefty penalty or even severance of the contract.
9 Swift Communication
While outsourcing QA services, clients should ensure that the service provider is able to overcome all the communication barriers for the swift execution of tasks. Hence, proper communication channel should be established between both the parties. Clients should exchange the list of POCs for every task with the service provider.
Before outsourcing the QA services, it is crucial to identify the quality of resources being assigned to the project. From QA test engineers, technical staff, leads and managers should be scanned and interviewed to ensure the sanctity and efficiency of the project are maintained.
Quality assurance has become one of the most important factors in businesses’ growth and customer satisfaction endeavors. Hence, businesses should do all the due diligence before finalizing an independent QA partner to ensure the targets of productivity and profitability are achieved within the stipulated time frame.