No IT solution development comes without comprehensive testing. It’s a necessary component to ensure the future product’s proper quality and viability in the target market. Especially in 2023, when the industry is already saturated with similar programs, web portals, and mobile apps.
Among the most popular services worldwide, QA (Quality Assurance) service testing automation prevails. As per Research Nester, the segment’s value reached $25 billion in 2022. According to the same source’s predictions, by 2035, the industry’s capitalization will increase to $94 billion, almost fourfold.
These statistics indicate a key point: most stakeholders understand the value of QA and its automation, actively involving specialized professionals in their own projects.
The experts of the ZappleTech team have prepared a comprehensive guide on service testing automation that will help you choose the right contractor and address potential QA challenges.
Table of Contents
Features of Service Testing Automation
Even in 2023, QA is perceived by non-technical personnel in companies as something unimportant and quite simple. One of the funniest assertions sounds something like this: ‘They’re just sitting there, checking something. Pressed a button, got a paycheck.’ And it would be nice if it were that way, but in practice, the process is much more complex:
- Thousands of active test cases.
- Mountains of documentation.
- Constant communication.
- A large amount of routine.
- Unforeseeable circumstances that can even completely halt processes.
This primarily applies to manual QA, which is still a common testing method even now.
Service testing automation allows companies to optimize QA processes and improve their efficiency and effectiveness while reducing costs and resource involvement.
However, automation is not a panacea in the broad sense, as there are still challenges that need to be overcome.
Challenges That Arise during Automation
Unlike manual QA, service testing automation includes a complex set of interrelated processes and is a much more complicated task, mainly due to the following:
- Infrastructure with numerous components, such as test environments, tools, integrations
- Skill requirements: testing, coding algorithms, documentation
- Necessary to know methodologies, project goals, development needs
The cost of errors in service testing automation is quite high, so you should consider potential challenges and understand how to mitigate them painlessly.
Test Coverage of Project Components
Key remark: It’s not always advisable to automate all checks. In fact, full automation is the first significant mistake of novice QA teams.
It’s important to strike a balance between manual and automated testing by prioritizing the project’s needs, such as:
- Automating only large and repetitive test cases.
- Manually testing individual or small product elements.
- Focusing on what’s genuinely important for the project and its target audience.
Trying to automate everything at once poses several risks, such as missing critical bugs, excessive costs, increased testing time, and more. This also applies to the technical aspect of the issue.
Selecting Tools and Technologies
For each specific type of testing, a dedicated framework is needed (with some exceptions) to perform automation of a certain type and scope of testing.
The current toolkit looks as follows:
- Selenium: regression, functionality, modules, system.
- Postman: API.
- TestCafe: UI.
- JMeter: load, stability, performance.
- Cypress: End to End.
- TestComplete: cross-platform, web.
This is a rather subjective list of testing tools, as every team providing service testing automation has its own arsenal of frameworks and technologies that they consider best for specific tasks.
An inexperienced provider may incorrectly assess the scale of work, form an inappropriate team, and thus minimize the overall productivity and effectiveness of the QA project.
The most common cases include:
- A team that is too large. This leads to confusion in tasks and work organization and raises questions about the necessity of involving many experts in service testing automation.
- A team that is too small. This occurs when only a few Full Stack QA specialists are hired, and they are physically unable to meet all the project’s needs.
- Incorrect team structure. Conditionally, if the job profiles of the experts do not align with the project’s tasks or if a large number of manual QA specialists are included in the team for automation.
As a result, this can lead to worse results than expected from automation. However, don’t worry; this challenge is specific to inexperienced teams. At ZappleTech, we build optimal structures and assign specialized experts for each project. The main thing is to determine whether you need automation at all.
When Is QA Automation Needed?
The main question among those responsible for product quality is to determine the extent of test automation and its appropriateness. ZappleTech experts will help you understand this and provide an answer to when service testing automation is needed.
We can immediately identify three key cases where automation is vital:
- Large workloads.
- A significant number of repetitive checks.
- Lack of experts.
These can be supplemented with limitations in time frames, insufficient budgets, and dependency on requirements. However, these are more like additional reasons to automate checks, so let’s focus on the three main ones.
If you are developing a comprehensive system, for example, for PC users or a large mobile app with a significant number of features, then you definitely need service testing automation.
Automation will allow you to:
- Cover up to 99% of the project’s test cases.
- Reduce the time required for operations.
- Improve work results.
- Identify critical issues and resolve them.
- Reduce costs for additional personnel and risk mitigation.
In other words, the more relevant QA tasks you have, the more effective test automation becomes.
A Large Number of Routine Tasks
When you need to test a hypothetical function with various commands or values, this process becomes repetitive and routine. For each case, you need to change a specific element and re-run the check. This takes time and distracts experts from more significant tasks.
In such cases, automation will help:
- Combine a single algorithm that will sequentially or simultaneously check the entire range of values.
- Parallelize testing—conduct it simultaneously for multiple iterations of IT solutions or platforms.
- Reduce the time required to thoroughly check the specified range of commands.
Automation is advisable in large-scale or cross-platform developments where there is a significant number of repetitive checks and QA tasks.
Automation significantly reduces the involvement of resources in the QA processes. This relates to both the size of the testing team and the financial aspects of the matter.
Automation helps minimize:
- The team size: by adding managerial personnel, hiring test automation engineers, and a few mQA experts to the project.
- Costs through reducing the team’s size and the number of experts.
- The cost of errors by decreasing the human factor’s impact on testing results.
From an economic perspective, automation is beneficial when you are developing a large-scale project with many features. However, in some cases, it may be impractical and even harmful. Therefore, consider the following information when planning QA.
When Can You Do Without Service Testing Automation?
Not everything should or needs to be automated in the context of digital products. This statement primarily applies to minor projects with limited functionality, where the cost of automation may significantly exceed the rest of the development components.
In such cases, it makes sense to hire professionals who can test the product effectively, even manually. For example, at ZappleTech, we strive to automate up to 100% of the project, but not always.
Let’s look at a few cases where manual testing proves to be more effective and cost-effective than service testing automation.
If you are developing a simple digital product, such as a single-profile mobile app with a few functions, it is more practical to test it manually. This is unless there are a large number of external integrations.
However, in such cases, you can still automate some of the processes, but most checks are more cost-effective and efficient when done manually.
Again, it depends on the number of tasks and their criticality to the project. If you only need to check certain functions periodically, manual testing will suffice. If there is a constant need for tests, you can partially automate them, but only for repetitive cases.
If you try to fully automate the testing of a small IT solution, you will encounter a range of problems, both financial and operational. For instance, increased costs for the technological component of the processes.
No Need for Constant Component Checks
It is not advisable to automate checks that are performed only once. Writing an algorithm and optimizing it take significantly more time than manually performing specific actions and documenting their results, followed by delegating any issues to developers.
However, if, for some reason, you want to create a comprehensive algorithm to test everything at once, you can use service testing automation. Still, this does not guarantee results comparable to manual checks, especially in small projects.
By the way, excessive automation can become a source of problems that could potentially lead to the failure of the entire QA campaign. ZappleTech experts have prepared an overview of common mistakes that can potentially jeopardize the entire QA project.
Reasons for the Failure of Service Testing Automation
In practice, there are cases where QA proves to be ineffective. Bright examples of this can be found in the gaming industry, where AAA-level projects at the release stage often appear as expensive mistakes.
Remember the scandal with CD Projekt Red and Cyberpunk 2077, where the cause of bugs was the negligence of one of the QA outsourcing teams? The project did recover over time, but the memes about the game’s bugs remain popular even now.
A more recent example is Bethesda’s Starfield, where the quality of optimization for NVidia graphics cards turned out to be minimal, resulting in a barrage of criticism against the developers. Unpleasant situation, isn’t it?
Another recent scandal is the release of CS2 by Valve, which was presented as almost a next-generation shooter in words but turned out to be a rather raw and buggy product in practice, visually and technically. This was due to the developers’ overconfidence, including the ignoring of service testing automation.
In reality, there can be numerous reasons for such situations, such as budget constraints, negligence (both on the part of the QA teams and stakeholders), loss of focus, tight timeframes, risk ignorance, and more. However, from a practical perspective, we can highlight just three factors, which include the examples mentioned. So, let’s take a closer look at them.
First, let’s divide the concept of strategy into technical and conceptual aspects. The technical component is related to the actual product testing, tool selection, and efficient resource utilization. The conceptual aspect deals with business analysis, product vision, goal setting, and tasks.
Both components are part of the overall service testing automation strategy and are closely interconnected. For example:
- The conceptual component defines the project’s goals and its complexity at the release stage (such as MVP, which is already a gold standard in the industry). It focuses the teams on achieving specific results.
- The technical component is just a tool, so QA experts are added to the project, and through test automation, they achieve the expected results.
Formally, the testing team is tasked with bringing the product to the MVP stage with a minimum number of passing bugs and no critical issues. This is the key reason for the failure of QA projects.
The strategy of service testing automation should be based on realistic goals, KPIs, and deadlines. It should focus on bug detection and fixing rather than quick releases and subsequent work on errors.
Lack of Experience
Sometimes, teams that are completely unfamiliar with the industry end up on projects. For instance, the staff of a company providing QA services specializing in logistics or financial solutions may not have experience in the gaming industry. In such cases, IT teams may encounter issues.
The risks are due to several factors:
- A lack of understanding by the team of the project’s goals and focus.
- Mismatch of skills with the genre-specific toolkit and methodologies.
- Low productivity and a high number of missed bugs.
The reason here is not that the team is weak but rather lacks experience. Experts adapt and learn to work with any project over time. However, this comes at an additional cost to the product owners, and, in the worst case, it can affect the project’s reputation.
Every job starts with a tool. For an accountant, it’s a calculator; for a copywriter, it’s a keyboard; for a developer, it’s a compiler; and for QA, it’s a framework. The choice of the type, functionality, and toolset depends on the professional performing a particular task.
In some projects, the toolset is predetermined in advance by technical and non-technical personnel based on factors like availability, theoretical effectiveness, and more. This choice can be imposed on the service provider offering service testing automation.
Ultimately, the client may not understand why their project is stagnating, why critical bugs are slipping through, and why development productivity is decreasing. The reason is the imposition of the toolset.
At ZappleTech, we actively explore various toolsets and work with all popular frameworks, environments, and more. However, we understand that certain tools are better suited for specific operations. Therefore, we typically offer our own set of testing automation technologies.
As evidence of the effectiveness of our proposals, we provide metrics from previous projects, which, by the way, are a crucial component of QA.
How Do We Assess the Success of Service Testing Automation?
Usually, any activity in companies is evaluated in digital terms. For developers, it’s the number of lines of code written within a certain time frame. For business professionals, it’s the number of products sold or new customers acquired. For QA teams, it’s the number of bugs found and fixed during the project.
However, it’s not enough to set specific targets and work towards them. It’s also important to constantly monitor current and intermediate results, work with requirements, and more.
The experts at ZappleTech have outlined five key points to help you effectively manage a dedicated QA team and periodically improve their work.
Establishing Realistic KPIs
First and foremost, you need to abandon the concept of “Check everything all at once.” Testing is an ongoing process that accompanies a digital product throughout its lifecycle, from conceptualization to market withdrawal.
This is why it’s essential to focus on realistic timelines and results, set goals for a limited period, and monitor progress toward achieving them. Most likely, you will be able to increase productivity over time, but there’s no need to take a hundred-meter dash from a low starting point.
Yes, even in QA processes, there are failures, issues, delays, missed bugs, and organizational matters. Approach these challenges reasonably and introduce a risk management system. Such management is beneficial for several reasons:
- It allows you to respond calmly to stressful situations.
- Foresees potential problems.
- Creates space for maneuvering in case of complications.
- Minimizes financial losses.
- Reduces team downtime.
It’s also a powerful monitoring tool that lets you keep track of performance and respond to challenges, ultimately improving work efficiency.
This is precisely the conceptual aspect, closely intertwined with the organizational component. As a project manager, it’s essential to establish the right focus on priorities for both development and QA. This is necessary for all process participants to clearly understand their tasks and effectively execute them.
It’s also a way to measure the success of a QA project. If you have well-defined requirements and expected results, it’s easier to track their achievement and analyze the effectiveness of service testing automation.
Continuous Process Monitoring
The project should have a clear reporting system in place at all levels. Testers perform a series of operations, document them, generate a report for a given working day, and send it to the manager. The collected data, for example, for a week, is then analyzed. After that, an efficiency index is assigned, which influences the overall assessment of QA success.
This monitoring should be continuous to:
- Maintain focus on the current state of the product.
- Respond to potential issues promptly.
- Ultimately, provide the client (manager) with comprehensive reporting.
Comparing Results with QA Project Goals
Finding and fixing bugs is good, but it’s not always necessary for the product. For instance, if you’re developing a money transfer system, a misaligned text on the “back” button should be the last item on the priority list.
Your QA team should have a clear understanding of the project’s goals, the product’s specifics, the target audience, typical use cases, critical functionality, and more.Mykhailo PoliarushCEO, ZappleTech Inc.
This is necessary so that the executors don’t lose focus and reach well-defined results, such as:
- Uninterrupted connection to the payment gateway.
- Proper functioning of two-factor authentication algorithms.
- Quick processing of banking requests for fund transfers.
- Correct user verification and their rights to perform transactions.
- Transaction security through encryption.
All of this is essential to ensure that users ultimately receive a fully functional digital product without technical and operational issues. And believe us, this is more important than the most innovative interface, design, and animations.
To check everything, especially for test automation, you’ll need the right toolkit.
Choice and Integration of Tools
The QA process can be roughly divided into several types, based explicitly on testing tools:
- Embedded testing, conducted directly by developers using programs, environments, and compilers.
- External testing, performed by QA professionals using various specialized frameworks and systems.
- User testing, in which compiled iterations (or through emulation) are examined by QA specialists based on typical user behavior.
The first type is primarily responsible for the technical aspects, ensuring the correctness and functionality of the code and its individual segments.
The second type is more complex and encompasses both the functional and non-functional aspects of the digital product. For this, additional tools and frameworks, such as frameworks, emulators, and mock-ups, are utilized.
The third type focuses on user stories, the usability of the software solution, and its perception by the audience.
Since the material here is exclusively about QA, we will focus on the second type and the nuances of its application.
Defining Critical Project Requirements
First and foremost, the team responsible for service testing automation should understand the project’s priorities. You should form a comprehensive vision of how the product should work and, if possible, visualize its critical functions.
This is necessary both for focusing on priority tasks and for tool selection. In theory, you could test everything using the same Selenium tool. However, it will be much more effective if you involve a diverse range of tools and specialists in QA.
The goal is to determine the project’s needs in advance to build a productive and specialized team.
Selecting Right Frameworks
Every type of testing, especially automation, requires specific toolsets. This is not just a whim of QA experts but a necessity to ensure the highest quality of the digital product.
For instance, your QA tech stack might look like this:
- Selenium (regression, functional, modules, system)
- Postman (API)
- TestCafe (UI)
- JMeter (load, stability, performance)
- Cypress (End to End)
- TestComplete (cross-platform, web)
In practice, it might vary slightly in composition based on the project’s needs and the objective reasons specified by the subcontractor team. However, the essence remains the same: each type of verification requires its own toolset, with very rare exceptions.Mikhail BodnarchukCDO, ZappleTech Inc.
Setting Up the Test Environment and CI/CD System Synchronization
Tool selection is essential, just like the selection, deployment, and configuration of the test environment. In simple terms, this is an isolated digital container where the testing process occurs. The effectiveness and impartiality of testing depend on it. Here’s why:
- The environment isn’t dependent on the operating system’s resources; it handles all processes separately.
- The container is entirely isolated (except for tool access or input data), ensuring that all checks are entirely confidential and sensitive information is well protected.
- The environment allows the initiation of QA processes even before the software components are ready. You achieve this by creating conditional API mocks, designing potential functionality, etc.
Additionally, cloud-based testing environments enable efficient parallel testing of cross-platform solutions. This means that instead of working sequentially on each iteration, QA experts can run multiple threads of digital product checks simultaneously. This results in time and resource savings.
However, it’s not enough to merely deploy a test environment and tools. It’s necessary to synchronize them with the rest of the project teams through CI/CD systems, such as Jenkins, Gitlab, or Buddy. This allows for timely information exchange and efficient problem resolution, task delegation, and more.
Building a Team for QA Service Testing Automation
To kickstart a QA/QC project, the first step is to assemble a team of professionals who will conduct the automated testing of your digital product.
You should pay attention to four key principles of team organization prepared for you by ZappleTech experts. These points will help you gather the necessary experts, involve them in the project, and integrate them into current processes.
Experience in similar projects and industries is the most crucial criterion for selecting a contractor (or individual professionals). The speed of an expert’s adaptation and their effectiveness in performing essential duties depend on this.
Choose a service testing automation provider whose experience aligns with your project type and industry segment. This will enable you to achieve the best results and minimize the potential issues.
For testers, especially QA, important skills include proficiency in using tools, testing environments, and technologies, as well as knowledge of development methodologies, risk management, programming languages, project goals, and more.
Soft skills are equally vital; your team members must communicate effectively with other teams and stakeholders, respond to challenges, and adapt to project changes.
You can indeed find a team that is inspired by the idea of executing the project flawlessly and is motivated by that vision. However, let’s be honest; motivation, even within in-house teams, largely derives from the financial aspect. The higher the incomes of project participants, the more motivated they tend to be.
However, the flip side is that a lack of motivation can result from organizational issues, frequent changes in the project’s direction, a lack of communication, and more. Therefore, it’s crucial to stimulate the team through various means, including maintaining focus, communication, and a rewards system.
If you plan to build your own team for testing automation, you should consider hiring experts for roles such as:
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- QA Test Analyst
- QC Team Leader
- Quality Assurance Manage
- Test Architect
Additionally, don’t forget to include mQA specialists for more organic product checks.
When working with external contractors, like ZappleTech, the organization’s matters are taken care of by the contracting company. So, you should decide in advance whether you will build your own team or hire from the outsourcing market. For this purpose, ZappleTech experts have prepared a comparative overview of both models.
Advantages and Disadvantages of In-House QA
Let’s begin by acknowledging that an in-house team has its strengths but can be a relatively costly QA option for one-time projects. However, for the ongoing support of, for example, an IT startup’s solution post-release, this model is ideal. So, let’s first focus on the advantages of maintaining your own team.
Some of the strengths include specialized skills, motivation, and an in-depth understanding of the project’s specifics and the industry. An in-house team is usually motivated and interested in the success of the digital product (especially if there’s a significant financial incentive).
Additionally, this model allows for building a robust internal culture, including a technical one, which can yield positive long-term results.
When a team works on similar projects for months, they refine their collective expertise and skills. For example, continuous testing of a mobile application leads to team members mastering all the project’s nuances and effectively mitigating potential or actual development issues.
Invested in Outcomes
An in-house team is, more than anyone else, interested in the success of your project. The income of each development team member and the future of the digital product and the company that produces it depend on this. In this regard, an in-house team is an absolute advantage for businesses.
However, this is only the case if there is a focus on goals and results, along with continuous employee motivation and active process management.
Staff turnover in an average company is generally relatively low. Overall, rotations and migrations may occur, but less frequently compared to startups or mega-corporations, which are more sensitive to market turbulence. Thus, having an in-house QA team acts as a conditional anchor, allowing businesses to feel confident under nearly any circumstances.
Now, let’s address the drawbacks of in-house QA, which should also be considered.
The primary and most significant drawback of this model is cost. While it is partially offset by long-term stability and employee engagement, the initial investments in hiring and technical support may be too substantial for SMB budgets.
The second issue is the development team’s stagnation when it works exclusively within a single industry and performs the same operations for an extended period. More on this and other matters below.
When a QA specialist joins a company, they generally already have experience and skills. However, as soon as they start performing monotonous and repetitive tasks, their developmental progress slows down. While this can be compensated through courses, training, and learning, without practice, even perfectly acquired knowledge won’t yield substantial results.
Hiring HR specialists for QA expert recruitment, onboarding these experts, providing them with the necessary material and technical resources, licensing technologies and tools, office rent, and training—all of these are just superficial expense points that a company looking to build an in-house QA team must be prepared for.
Answer the question, “Is the business ready for these budgetary expenses?” If not, we recommend considering outsourced service testing automation and identifying the advantages and disadvantages of this model in the brand’s context.
Advantages and Disadvantages of QA Outsourcing
Unlike maintaining an in-house QA team, outsourcing allows you to reduce costs, manage resources more effectively, and achieve better results within a defined period. This model has pros and cons but is quite common in the market.
We present a brief overview of the most significant advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing so that you can weigh the pros and cons when choosing a QA services model.
One significant advantage is the versatility of outsourcing in all respects. For example, you are not restricted in selecting specializations, skill levels, or the contractor’s geographical location.
Additionally, compared to hiring an in-house team, outsourcing is a cost-effective QA model (for similar team sizes, technologies, etc.). Therefore, let’s take a closer look at the benefits of this cooperation method.
Flexible Service Costs
Customers are offered several options for paying QA contractor services. Traditionally, these are:
- Time and Materials: The cost is calculated over the project’s duration and summed up after the product’s release.
- Project-Based: A budget is prepared in advance (with certain amortization or risk buffers).
- Component-Based: Payment is made based on the results of each subsequent phase.
In practice, there are many more models, and each provider offers their own cooperation terms. However, you will never pay for renting workspaces, equipment, technologies, etc. This means that these cost savings make up a significant portion of the expenses incurred by maintaining an in-house team.
Access to Diverse Talent
You can hire a wide variety of experts, including those with a broad skill set and specialists in specific technologies. Additionally, you gain access to all skill levels, from Junior to Senior+. Furthermore, the search and hiring process takes just a few days, significantly faster than a similar process for in-house onboarding.
If there is a need to expand the team or reprofile it to meet a project’s specific requirements, with a provider like ZappleTech, a single request is sufficient. Within a week, the contractor will reformat the team and integrate new members into the project without interrupting the testing process.
The advantages are substantial, but outsourcing also has several drawbacks, which you should be aware of.
Remote work is always associated with risks for the customer. It’s good that in the last decade, these risks have been effectively mitigated. However, this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t discuss and consider them when choosing a QA team cooperation model.
Different time zones, languages, and mentalities. These are challenges that need to be overcome jointly by the customer and the service provider. You need to step out of your comfort zone, seek common compromises, and actively address any issues that arise during the project.
Overcoming such issues is possible only through joint efforts. Alternatively, you can immediately hire adapted contractors, such as ZappleTech experts.
During project development and testing, sensitive data is often used. For example, information about a company’s clients, results of internal or commissioned research, product concepts, and more. When the owner entrusts such information to subcontracting organizations without the ability to control it, this poses a risk.
Consequently, this could lead to reputational and financial losses if data leaks occur. However, this is no longer a problem for QA service customers because providers are currently interested in safeguarding their clients’ confidential information.
For these and other reasons, outsourcing is an almost ideal cooperation model if you need comprehensive service testing automation.
Why Outsourcing Is More Advantageous Than Internal QA?
As of 2022, the software testing outsourcing market, according to Future Market Insights, was valued at $36.4 billion. By 2032, its estimated value will reach $76.3 billion, with a CAGR of 7.7% over the forecasted period.
This indicates a gradual increase in the demand for external testing and automation services among representatives of various industries and business types. It is not surprising, as outsourcing is the solution for effectively addressing QA challenges in projects without excessive financial expenditures.
The experts at ZappleTech have prepared three critical arguments for you on why outsourcing dominates other collaboration types in the context of QA and testing automation.
External service providers work with a wide range of industries and project types. Therefore, they possess extensive experience and a broad perspective. This makes them the top-quality assistance providers on the market, servicing digital products of any scale and complexity.
In terms of expertise and skills, no in-house team can compare to outsourcing providers and the speed and efficiency of their work.
Only by working under the outsourcing model can you quickly and efficiently expand your team when needed. Typically, QA service providers have a large pool of specialists with various skills ready to join the project within hours.
This means you can easily add new team members, leverage support from specialized engineers, and more without any hassles.
No Additional Costs
You pay only for the agreed-upon service testing automation cost according to the tariff and model. There are no expenses for equipment purchases, licensing, qualification enhancements, office rentals, or logistics. Just a transparent budget with amortization and risk buffers built into it.
Notice that most often, you pay only the hourly rate for each team member’s work. Automation allows you to reduce the number of active performers, which, in turn, reduces your costs.
We are confident that we have convinced you to save time and money by collaborating with outsourcing teams like ZappleTech. Therefore, we offer you a universal case for choosing a contractor based on certain factors.
Criteria for Choosing a Contractor
You can simply enter the query “service testing automation” into Google, click the first link, hire QA engineers, and start your project. But are you sure that such spontaneous collaboration will be productive for your development?
QA is not the segment where impulsiveness benefits the project. We recommend taking a more responsible approach to the matter and selecting a contractor by passing candidates through a fairly strict set of requirements.
First and foremost, you need professionals with experience working in your industry and on the type of projects you have. They will not only understand the specifics of the work but also help you better streamline the processes related to the development and testing of your future digital product.
Typically, providers publish a list of industries on their official websites, like ZappleTech, for example. You can find similar information on reputable platforms, but more on that later.
Knowledge of Technologies and Tools
It’s also essential to choose a contractor based on their preferred tech stack—the current toolkit and the list of technologies used by their experts for QA projects. Choose teams whose arsenal aligns with your project’s needs.
Providers typically mention their tech stack on their website pages and in their portfolio cases. If necessary, communicate with a team representative (manager) and clarify the toolkit they can work with.
Feedback from Previous Clients
This is a critically important component of choosing a provider because no one can tell you more about their performance than previous clients of the QA services. There are several ways to learn more about a contractor:
- Direct communication with the company’s clients: You can reach them through cases under the organization’s name, for which a list of services was provided.
- Collecting reviews on specialized platforms: G2, TrustPilot, Clutch, Techreviewer, DesignRush.
These sources usually provide enough information to make a well-informed decision about partnering with a specific company. However, remember about legal nuances before starting work.
Confidentiality and Security
Due to the risks associated with outsourcing, particularly concerning data security, we recommend always signing a series of agreements. These documents not only guarantee that both parties adhere to the terms specified in the contract but also allow you to manage risks and respond to issues promptly.
In general, there are three common types of agreements for the IT sector, including QA services:
The first and primary type of agreement is the cooperation agreement. It outlines the concept of future collaboration with the contractor, sets the scope of services, defines work timelines, and lists the results (and their forms) to be achieved within the agreed deadlines.
Moreover, the agreement specifies the boundaries of cooperation and budget, includes a “risk buffer,” and details the components of the technical stack and technologies to be used in the project.
All of this is documented with the consent of the parties, signed by authorized individuals, and serves as a guarantee of fulfilling the obligations and payment for the provided services.
Signing an NDA
A crucial document in any field is the Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). It ensures that the subcontractor will not disclose any information obtained from the client to third parties. In return, the client keeps the details of the agreement with the contractor confidential.
This is a necessary component of collaboration, allowing you to mitigate reputational and financial risks and allocate responsibility for data breaches for each party.
By the way, an NDA can also be used as evidence in administrative or criminal cases related to the disclosure of critical information. Such situations mostly occur in the gaming industry and are referred to as insider activity, which can harm a company’s reputation.
Defining Responsibility and Project Goals
It is essential to outline in a separate document the areas of responsibility for each party, crisis response tactics, risk management policy, and more. You should also include the vision of the final iteration of the product, development goals, priorities, and more.
This document will help avoid stressful situations, especially when unpleasant incidents occur. It will clearly define the responsibility of the QA team and the client, making problem resolution faster and less stressful.
However, there can be quite a large number of issues related to automation QA directly.
Potential Issues in Service Testing Automation and Their Solutions
Yes, automation is not a panacea and has its drawbacks as well. However, these issues can be effectively addressed if you understand the principles of QA automation testing services, their pain points, and the general specifics of this process.
Let’s take a look at the three most common problems in this segment and ways to mitigate them.
If, at the end of a sprint, you are not receiving information about critical bugs or errors, either everything is genuinely going well in the project, or the effectiveness of automation is zero.
To address this situation, you should take three actions:
- Analyze the team’s performance for the previous period.
- Review the overall testing strategy.
- Upgrade your toolset to a more advanced one.
If the situation doesn’t improve after these steps, consider changing your contractor. A new team might work more efficiently.
There are minor bugs that can be overlooked (but their impact on other components should still be tracked). Then, there are critical issues that intermittently or consistently cause errors in different parts of the system. It’s essential not to lose focus and keep track of these problems.
Suppose a bug reaches a release iteration in its existing form. In that case, the cost of fixing it significantly increases, sometimes even leading to the delay of the digital product’s release, resulting in financial and reputational losses.
Cooperation, communication, process control, and overall management can lose effectiveness over time. Somewhere, the team forgets about a reported bug; somewhere, they remember it but don’t convey it to the developers, or they fail to report it to management. These are typical situations in almost every business segment, but they have the most significant impact on the viability of a digital product in the context of QA.
The only recommendation is to actively monitor the team’s morale, conduct meetings, and periodically review reports. Additionally, maintain a high level of corporate culture.
Cost of Service Testing Automation
Prices for QA team services are calculated individually, depending on the project’s scale, complexity, the number of specialists involved, and other factors. Further, the contractor’s region and the expertise level of professionals joining the project can affect the cost.
It’s impossible to calculate even a very approximate cost independently, even if you know the hourly rate of each team member, the precise list of tasks, and the number of hours for each operation.Sergey AlmyashevCOO, ZappleTech Inc.
If you want to plan your budget for QA, reach out to the company’s manager. In just a few hours, you will receive an initial estimate.