According to the Mordor Intelligence agency, the aQA market, including web services automation testing, is projected to reach $58.16 billion by 2028. A stable CAGR of 16.03% indicates that the industry is dominated by providers, and there is a growing demand for their services.
The good news is that owners of IT projects have plenty of options to ensure the quality of their digital products. The downside is that there is a risk of encountering irresponsible service providers.Mykhailo PoliarushCEO, ZappleTech Inc.
ZappleTech experts have prepared a comprehensive guide for you on how to choose a QA contractor correctly, at a reasonable cost, and with high-quality service delivery.
Table of Contents
In Which Cases Is a Test Automation Service Provider Needed?
Let’s start with the basics and determine whether you need a QA project contractor. To do this, we have compiled a list of factors that will help you assess the feasibility of involving additional experts in existing teams for web services automation testing.
If your development extends beyond six months and involves many technical issues, you should hire test automation engineers. They can help streamline QA processes in the project and identify and fix critical bugs.
If you already have an in-house team of developers, they may partially cover QA needs. However, this means that developers will have to divert their attention from core processes to testing, negatively impacting productivity and the quality of IT solutions. This is the second factor indicating the need to involve additional experts.
Constant Project Support
The concept of web services automation testing involves continuous verification of a digital solution. Suppose you plan to release updates, upgrades, or fundamentally new iterations. In that case, you will still need to hire a provider who will periodically test the IT product and its modules and provide continuous support.
If these factors are absent, you may be able to manage without the assistance of an additional QA team.
When Can You Do Without a Test Automation Service Provider?
In general, web services automation testing is not a panacea and does not guarantee perfect results for your project. In some cases, they may additionally consume the budget without providing the efficiency that justifies the high investments.
When developing a minor project with minimal features and the absence of critical components (sensitive information, fund transfers, etc.), and if the number of checks is insignificant, there is no need to automate them. It’s enough to hire an expert provider who can manually test the product.
Lack of Critical Issues
If development is progressing smoothly, there are no serious issues, and the project is not stalled due to bugs, then automation of its checks may not be necessary. A qualified team of manual testers and internal code tests by developers should be sufficient. This way, you cover both the critical functionality and additional QA needs, such as UX/UI checks, stress resistance, etc.
In the case of a development focus on a single platform, a product independent of numerous third-party APIs, and a clear concept, deep web services automation testing doesn’t make sense economically or practically. It’s better to initiate checks using manual methods with expert support to ensure the product’s quality.
However, if you have firmly decided to automate the testing of your IT product, pay attention to several factors that could potentially lead to disappointment in this testing method.
Reasons Why Hiring a Test Automation Service Provider May Not Be Effective
You need a reliable QA provider to achieve the best results in web services automation testing. Otherwise, you risk spending the budget without achieving the expected project progress.Typical reasons for failures depend on the providers’ experience and ability to work with your industry.
Wrong Contractor Choice
The first potential problem is the low quality of services, accompanied by a similar cost level. If you want to effectively test an IT product, don’t skimp on QA. Choose teams with flexible budgets and adaptive testing models (determined after reviewing the project).
Weak QA Strategy
The second problem with web services automation testing arises from a lack of understanding of QA concepts. A typical example is the automation of everything, regardless of its relevance. This leads to low productivity, critical bug misses, loss of focus, etc.
Mismatch of Experience and Skills to Project Requirements
The third problem is that the provider’s company has limited knowledge of different industries. For example, a team may be excellent at testing commercial resources but may struggle with real estate or healthcare sectors.
Therefore, it’s essential to study the experience of potential contractors and delegate the project only to those who have previously worked in your segment.
Regardless of the provider’s experience, it’s crucial to continually monitor their results and make corrections as needed to achieve maximum QA efficiency.
Evaluation of the Performance of a Test Automation Service Provider
To understand if your team providing web services automation testing is heading in the right direction, you need to establish at least the project’s final goal. It is also necessary to develop a roadmap where intermediate results are gradually outlined, their value for the digital product, and so on.
By following the established path and comparing actual results with theoretical ones, you can assess both the success of QA and its current problems, as well as methods to solve them.
Setting Realistic KPIs
Start by defining the volumes and deadlines for web services automation testing and each type of check. Determine the minimum threshold of results you need to achieve by the end of each subsequent development cycle.
Key note: correctly assess the capabilities and size of the team to avoid overloading specialists excessively.
Anticipate potential project issues. For example:
- Development delays.
- Bug migrations.
- Overlooking issues.
- Loss of team focus.
- Market changes.
- Transformation of customer needs.
This risk management allows you and your contractors to react more calmly to stress and find methods to solve problems or alternative paths quickly.
Setting Goals and Priorities
Formulate the final goal of web services automation testing in advance. It should address questions such as:
- What makes the product valuable to the audience?
- Which business model would work most effectively?
- What are the typical user scenarios applied by the target audience?
- How should the product operate on each platform?
- Why is this IT solution crucial for clients?
- How safe is it to use the product?
Such a checklist allows you to form a focus that will serve as a guide for QA providers. It’s essential to involve stakeholders, investors, PMs, BAs, Team Leads in goal-setting, and testers who can take on the roles of end-users.
Proactive Monitoring of Processes
As the owner of the development, the project, and the product (PO), you should be interested in ensuring that web services automation testing is performed correctly. A good practice is your direct involvement in the testing process, even as an observer.
This way, you better understand the product’s state and demonstrate an interest in the team’s work, further stimulating and motivating project performers.
Comparing Results with QA Project Goals
The final criterion for evaluating the success of your QA project should be comparing actual results with planned ones. If, in the end, your expectations are justified, the digital product works as it should, UI/UX meets customer needs, and business logic meets company needs, you can congratulate yourself on the successful completion of the development cycle.
However, other challenges await you, such as the release stage, marketing, etc. High-quality digital product becomes a strong background for further business advancement.
Besides quality management, you need a powerful technical foundation allowing comprehensive QA automation to achieve these results.
Frameworks and Technologies
The key note of this section: providers of web services automation testing choose the toolkit for working on projects themselves. Your task as a client is to control the choice, ensuring technology compliance with project needs.
To do this, you need at least minimal knowledge in the field of QA and an understanding of why it is necessary to automate one or another type of check.
Defining Project Tasks
First and foremost, you need to form a priority list of test areas for your future (or existing) digital product. For example, focusing on UX/UI, IT solution business logic, its performance, security, stress resistance, compatibility, etc.
This allows you to get a comprehensive list of focus points and choose frameworks for their testing.
Choosing Relevant Tools
In general, web services automation testing focuses on the project as a whole, but providers use a wide range of tools, depending on the specific platform. For example:
- Selenium – Web.
- TestRail – Web.
- TestSigma – Web, Mobile.
- Katalon – Web, Mobile, Desktop.
- TestComplete – Web, Mobile, Desktop.
And also on the testing area, for example:
- Selenium for regression, integration, and end-to-end testing.
- JMeter for performance testing.
- Postman for API testing.
It is essential not to focus all automation on a single framework but to use several effectively to meet the product’s needs.
Setting Up the Test Environment and Synchronization with CI/CD Tools
For quality testing, your specialists must use special test environments. They allow starting checks at early development stages, testing every digital solution component.
It’s crucial to choose environments for web services automation testing that are compatible with CI/CD tools to delegate bug detection more efficiently to the development team.
Coordination of Processes with Other Project Participants
Last on the list but not in importance is the coordination of actions. This is a management issue, as PMs and Leads are responsible for communication between development and testing process participants.
In addition to CI/CD tools like Jenkins or GitLab, communication solutions, such as Slack, should be applied to create separate chats, task boards, etc.
However, you need to assemble the appropriate teams before setting up communication. As a rule, teams consist of specialists from different fields (if you need an in-house QA department, outsourcing will be discussed separately).
Criteria for Forming a Test Automation Service Provider Team
Formally, there are numerous rules for searching, hiring, and assembling specialists providing web services automation testing. Today, we will only consider four of them, which can be conditionally called main parameters for selecting candidates in the QA department.
These factors may vary depending on the current project needs, but their general concept remains unchanged.
Trust individuals who have skills in working with your industry and product types. However, base your trust on facts rather than assurances, typically confirmed through portfolios or even real feedback from previous clients.
Check their expertise with test tasks and communication with management. Establish trial terms, and so on.
Engage specialists for web services automation testing with at least a Middle level if you don’t want to combine actual testing with on-the-job training for junior candidates. Choose professionals with experience working on projects similar to yours, excel in typical QA tools, and have a solid Soft skill set.
This will allow you to promptly and effectively address development needs and save costs compared to hiring Senior-level staff.
Select individuals who are eager to learn and contribute to the project. Financial considerations are secondary if the person is genuinely interested in their performance. Of course, enthusiasm should be fueled by compensation, but the primary motivation should lie in the love for QA and IT as a whole.
Only experts striving for self-improvement and perfection in web services automation testing will effectively assist your project.
For the most effective testing, you’ll need not only automation engineers but also mQA specialists, team leaders, project managers, business analysts, technical leaders, and test architects.
The team composition can be dynamic, changing based on project needs.
Scalability is the bottleneck that shapes development owners’ views on in-house teams versus outsourced teams. To help with this challenging choice, ZappleTech experts have prepared a comparative overview of the pros and cons of an in-house and a dedicated QA team.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an In-House Test Automation Service Provider Team
Let’s start with internal web services automation testing, which is a fairly good option for specialized IT companies, large businesses, and startups. This model certainly has some significant drawbacks, but they are compensated by advantages that, in some aspects, can even compete with outsourcing. Let’s focus on them first.
The key concept of in-house QA lies in maintaining highly qualified specialists and teams to meet the basic needs of IT projects. For example, for continuous testing of components during development, after completion, for user support, technical department support, etc.
Suppose you are forming your own team for web services automation testing and continuous work in the company. In that case, you teach specialists the top practices and methods of testing and its automation in the context of the specifics of your company. These specialists will become a powerful foundation for scaling the company and the business as a whole.
Interest in Results
No one is as interested in the success of the project (and the company as a whole) as its direct specialists. The reasons for this are explained abundantly:
- Career growth
- Financial incentives
- Reputation prospects
- Pride in the work done
- Improvement of internal processes, communication, culture
Thus, your staff becomes the business background that conceptually and practically helps it scale, including through QA IT solutions.
Usually, staff turnover is minimal in companies with a developed corporate culture, sufficient salary levels, and optimal working conditions. By adhering to these simple conditions, you can be confident that your specialists will not leave the project during active development and QA processes.
This guarantees the timely achievement of set goals and high efficiency of the web services automation testing overall.Sergey AlmyashevCOO, ZappleTech Inc.
Despite the mentioned advantages, the in-house hiring model has its downsides. They are quite significant but not the most critical, considering the specifics of internal teams.
Among the critical issues of in-house QA, the following stand out:
- Limited team flexibility
- Process standardization
- Resistance to modernization
- Narrow job profile
- Presence of excessive costs (compared to outsourcing)
The last two are the most critical, so we will focus on them further.
When specialists work for years in one segment, providing web services automation testing, they become masters of their craft. However, in QA, being mono-professional is not an advantage; rather, it’s the opposite. If there’s a need to reprofile for another area or participate in an external project, such specialists may significantly lag behind colleagues working in outsourcing.
The cost of maintaining a staff is justified only when there is a constant need for QA, service confidentiality, and budget availability. Renting office space, training specialists, salaries, equipment purchases, licenses, and technologies—these are all cost items that can be avoided by outsourcing the QA project.
External web services automation testing should not be seen exclusively as a panacea, as it also has its strengths and weaknesses, which we will discuss next.
Advantages and Disadvantages of an External Test Automation Service Provider
Outsourcing is the optimal model for SMBs, startups, and often even for corporations, although it has its challenges. External web services automation testing covers the key development needs, costs less than hiring an in-house team, and is quite flexible.Outsourcing has advantages and disadvantages, although the latter are usually adequately compensated by proper risk management strategies. So, let’s take a closer look at both sides of outsourcing and determine if it is indeed so effective for IT project owners.
The strengths of web services automation testing include:
Consequently, if you hire QA engineers, you can delegate your QA project entirely to them, periodically monitoring the results and focusing on critical business tasks.
Adaptive Cost of Services
Providers of web services automation testing offer several budgeting models. The main models include:
- Project-based payment: Pre-calculated and paid as a deposit, with the full amount settled upon completion.
- Fixed cost: A predetermined budget within which services are provided.
- Stage-wise payment: Budget formulated for each subsequent stage, paid upon completion.
- Unlimited: Full range of services provided within the project, with the overall cost paid by the client.
- Time and materials: A flexible model allows the client to regulate what and when the contractor performs.
As a client, you can choose the model to hire test automation engineers based on your budget and project needs. Additionally, most providers offer customization, which can prove to be advantageous.
Access to Various Talents
Do you need only automation specialists or perhaps a hybrid team? No problem. By collaborating with outsourcing contractors, you can both independently choose the project’s performer profile and trust the provider’s experience by hiring well-structured and coordinated teams.
This approach simplifies web services automation testing, as only competent professionals will be working on the project.
Increasing or decreasing the team can be done literally within a few days. Most QA service providers help optimize resource involvement, provide additional experts, or withdraw them from the project, considering its current needs.
Moreover, the process occurs within days, not months, as in the case of the classic hiring of experts into the staff.
Despite the powerful advantages mentioned, outsourcing is not devoid of some problems that cannot be ignored.
About 5-7 years ago, the list of outsourcing cons consisted of many points and included issues such as:
- Language barrier
- Process control
Fortunately, these challenges in web services automation testing are already in the past. However, at least two minimum cons remain, which are not critical but should be considered and mitigated if possible.
Theoretically, problems may arise precisely from the collaboration of all teams involved in developing IT solutions. Especially if your outsourcing model is offshore, meaning the web services automation testing provider is located thousands of kilometers away, living in a different time zone, etc.
However, with the help of CI/CD tools, this drawback can be neutralized or at least compensated for its negative impact on processes.
Sensitive information, or rather its protection, is one of the bottlenecks of outsourcing. You cannot be 100% sure that confidential or corporate data will not be stolen and used by third parties (not necessarily by the web services automation testing provider).
Certainly, you cannot protect such information 100%, but you can share responsibility for its preservation with the contractor.Mikhail BodnarchukCDO, ZappleTech Inc.
Despite the indicated issues, external QA teams are still an optimal choice not only for SMBs or startups but also for powerful corporations.
Reasons Why Outsourcing Is More Beneficial Than an Internal Test Automation Service Provider
Collaborating with an automation testing company, you, at a minimum, free yourself from additional expenses on web services automation testing. Moreover, you gain access to an efficient team that knows what, how, and when to do things to ensure the success of your project.
Furthermore, if needed, such a provider will help you enhance process productivity, accelerate development, and enter the market with a leading position in the segment.
Maximum Understanding of Goals
Who, if not QA experts who have worked on hundreds of projects, understands the value of testing and its automation in the context of development goals? External providers of web services automation testing focus on the target audience, the user-friendliness of digital solutions, and their business logic as critical tasks.
To change the number of project performers, it is sufficient to contact the manager of the contracting company and articulate the current needs. New experts will join the work within a few days, at most a week, or some testers will be removed from the team.
This is quite fast, considering the workload of companies providing web services automation testing.
No Additional Expenses
You don’t need to spend on additional premises, equipment, logistics, technologies, licenses, etc. You pay only for the amount of work and the number of resources involved in web services automation testing. The saved funds can be used to upgrade IT solutions, for marketing, or directed towards other equally important business needs.
Is it important for you that professionals who understand the theme, industry, and technical aspects of current development handle your QA project? The outsourcing model allows you to choose experts of the corresponding profile, quickly involve them in work, and ultimately achieve the maximum possible result. This means an IT product without critical bugs, performance issues, etc.
Skills in Working with External Teams
Onboarding is quite a lengthy and problematic process, especially in the context of web services automation testing. But not when it comes to outsourcing providers who integrate into various teams throughout their careers, adapt to corporate culture, and collaborate with development departments.
Outsourcing is a quick and painless way to expand the team, complete the project on time, and ensure maximum QA quality.
However, it’s not always enough to simply delegate web services automation testing to anyone. It’s essential to choose a responsible and experienced contractor who is genuinely interested in the success of your project.
Criteria for Choosing a Test Automation Service Provider
To avoid mistakes in selecting a QA service provider, it’s essential to ensure that they have the skills to work with your type of project and industry. In addition, pay attention to several factors that will help determine the service provider’s expertise.ZappleTech experts have compiled five critical criteria to help you find and hire the most effective automated testing performer.
Experience in the Segment
First and foremost, you need to understand whether the potential contractor has worked on projects similar to yours. To do this, you should take three actions:
- Review the portfolio on the provider’s website.
- Visit portals with reviews about collaboration.
- Directly ask a representative of the company.
If the collected data is insufficient to make an informed decision, you can resort to a common practice—delegating a test task to the provider. How well they handle it will indicate the performer’s level.
Knowledge of Technologies and Tools
If it is crucial for your project to exclusively use specific tools, check if the contractor can work with them at a high level. To do this, it’s worth assigning a test task where the main requirement is the use of defined frameworks and utilities. You can take such cases from open sources or order them from technical companies, developers, etc.
Reviews from Previous Clients
Nothing speaks more eloquently about the skills and quality of work of potential contractors than reviews about collaboration. Fortunately, there are now dozens of platforms where service providers (including QA) publish their profiles. Some of the most common platforms include Clutch, Techreviewer, and DesignRush, where companies post their case studies.
Ability to Perform Continuous Testing of Critical Elements
QA doesn’t end with development, nor does it start with it. Therefore, you need professionals who will perform testing even before creating and compiling code. This is a relevant practice that eliminates a significant portion of potential risks, saves time, and minimizes the number of bugs in the later stages of development.
Development and QA teams must collaborate closely with each other. Therefore, pay particular attention to communication and cooperative skills. Ask for cases from previous projects, possibly documentation, reports, etc. This will help determine how well the potential contractor integrates with other project participants.
In addition to the factors mentioned, ensure that your provider operates within the legal framework and does not create reputational or financial risks for your company.
Legal Nuances of a Test Automation Service Provider
Any collaboration must be supported by documentation. That is, all key aspects should be outlined, such as:
- Work scale
- Scope of services
- Collaboration timelines
- Terms of service provision
- Areas of responsibility for both parties
- Non-disclosure agreement (NDA)
Ignoring such agreements can lead to legal, reputational, or financial issues related to intellectual property and sensitive data.
The first and crucial agreement that solidifies the rights and responsibilities of all collaboration parties. Deadlines, provided services, guarantees, penalties, etc., are established here.
The document has legal force and can be used in legal proceedings as an argument regarding the subject of the conflict. It serves as a guarantee that the project will be completed on time and without significant issues.
The security of confidential data is a crucial task for companies owning intellectual property. An NDA agreement ensures that the collaboration details will not be disclosed to third parties under any circumstances.
This minimizes risks when transferring sensitive information to contractors and imposes legal responsibility on violators of such agreements.
Defining Responsibility and Project Goals
To ensure who is responsible for what, there is a risk management practice that outlines areas each party should control.
This allows for the proper distribution of duties and monitoring to ensure they are executed promptly and qualitatively.
In addition to the above, it is advisable to anticipate potential issues in advance to include them in the agreements with the partner.
Potential Issues of a Test Automation Service Provider and Ways to Address Them
Some challenges persist throughout the entire material as they are closely related to QA outsourcing. In the last part of the article, we will focus on them in the context of potential problem-solving options.
To address this issue, set project goals and KPIs from the beginning to measure performance. Productivity depends on motivation and understanding focal points, so focus on these aspects.
If a critical bug affects the product’s viability in the market, assign it the highest priority and address it promptly. For purely cosmetic bugs, you might consider letting them pass to focus on more critical issues.
Establish the project’s ultimate goals and outline key user stories for testing. This way, you won’t lose focus and can conduct a comprehensive project check without major issues.
Implement CI/CD practices at the project’s outset, integrate the appropriate tools, and assign roles to control each testing stage for your digital product.
Service Quality Control
Define KPIs that demonstrate short-term performance. Don’t try to cover everything at once; divide tasks into smaller parts and monitor their execution.
Cost of Hiring a Test Automation Service Provider
The cost of QA provider services varies widely and depends on factors such as:
- The region of operation
- The average skill level in the team
- Time spent on the project
- Complexity of the work
- Other criteria
Risk buffers, legal nuances, etc., contribute to this, so any cost calculator will show a figure far from the real one. If you want a more accurate estimate, ask the manager at ZappleTech.
We will not only calculate the QA automation budget for you but also conduct comprehensive testing, ensuring the digital solution achieves the highest possible quality.