It’s important to look beyond cost reduction when you outsource. Take the time to formulate a strategy that will secure the expertise you need, establish a smooth working relationship, and include the best technological tools available.
The right partner will drive innovation and create value for your business. More than one-third of respondents to Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey 2016 say they already measure the value of innovation in their outsourcing relationships.
There are three key elements to outsourced testing success:
Picking the right partner
It’s vital to study the track record of any prospective partner to establish that they have the skills and experience you need, but look beyond the basics. Ask them what they’ve done in the past to innovate. Look for interesting processes or tools that they’ve built to overcome challenges or improve efficiency. You want to find a spark of creativity and a positive attitude to problems.
Dig into some specifics on past projects and find out how they handle adversity. Do they have strategies to cope with late code delivery or missed deadlines? Establish that they understand how to handle pressure from the outset. You need to know that standards will be maintained once the project is already underway, even if things go off-track.
Supporting the development and growth of staff is a good sign that a company understands the importance of building skillsets and staying up to date. Find out what their ambitions are and ask what they hope to gain from a successful partnership. The ideal partner will have goals that align with yours.
Sharing and refining processes
You should use the same feedback systems that help you to create great software to improve your processes. Invite employees to suggest improvements and analyze what works well and what doesn’t at each stage of development. Your partner can provide another point of view, and including them in identifying areas for improvement will allow you to benefit from their experience.
Find ways to reduce the manual burden on your testers and free them to think creatively. Can automation or the development of a new tool for a specific problem boost overall efficiency? Empower your employees and partners, not just to raise ideas, but to address them. Measure the effectiveness of these contributions and discuss and analyze progress in group meetings.
Utilizing the best tools
New software is rolling out all the time and you need to be able to take advantage of the latest and greatest tools on the market. You can use communication software like Skype, Slack, and Confluence to ensure that everyone collaborates effectively. Chef, Docker, or Puppet can help you to create test environments and achieve greater consistency. Jenkins and XebiaLabs could enable continuous delivery and automated deployment.
Find the right tool for each step, from defect-tracking to data management. Make sure that you have the required knowledge base to adopt new tools. Discuss the most effective options with your partner and target tools that you can fully exploit to add the most value.
Bring these three elements together and you have a powerful recipe for outsourced testing success.
Mush Honda is Vice President of Testing for KMS.