Manual testing is the oldest and most rigorous type of software testing. Manual testing requires a tester to perform manual test operations on the test software without the help of Test automation.
Outsourced Testing is a surprisingly wide-ranging subject area, as there are a multitude of testing tasks that can be carried out by a third party, from test strategy development to penetration testing.
While acquiring testing services from outside contractors isn’t unusual, its importance has increased considerably, as have the importance and maturity of testing itself. This is shMown by the fact that the test outsourcing market is no longer driven solely by independent testing companies. All the major outsourcing companies now offer testing services as well.
Through outsourced testing, the following main benefits can be achieved:
- Speed up testing: test execution, located at the end of the software development life cycle can be a bottleneck, especially if development is already late. To make the most of the time available, a thorough test preparation and readily available testing staff are needed. These resources can by procured by an outsourcing provider. Also, in some cases testing can be sped up by taking advantage of the time zone differences, testing at night what has been developed or debugged during the day.
- Improve quality: The need to adhere to a formal testing process and to provide a proper test basis in the form of well-documented and stable requirements will result in finding more bugs, therefore improving the quality of the end product. In addition, some of the bugs will be found earlier, when analyzing the requirements or reviewing the test cases.
- Reduce testing costs: the main driver for outsourcing is often cost reduction, by moving operations to low-cost countries. Also in testing, costly IT and business resources can be freed from repetitive and time-consuming test activities as, for example, regression testing. The improved software quality can also lead to cost savings.
Let’s now discuss some of the particularities of Outsourced Software Testing. Remember that most, if not all, of the principles that apply to outsourcing in general also apply here and must also be considered.
Outsourcing resource- and time-consuming test activities, not only allows for greater capacity, scalability and flexibility, but also has the additional benefit of an independent validation. By that I mean testing that is not carried out by the development team itself (typically unit & integration testing), but by a separate test team.
But greater and/or cheaper capacity isn’t the only reason for outsourced testing and a strong case can be made for outsourcing testing tasks that require specialist know-how, for which you don’t have the skills or only need on a one-off basis.
When deciding on what parts of testing to outsource, you will have to look at it from different angles, mainly at the dimensions of test levels, test types and test activities:
- Test Levels: low-level testing (Unit & Integration test) is generally carried out by the developers themselves. If development is outsourced, these activities are outsourced with it. System testing on the other hand can be performed by an independent test team and is therefore an excellent candidate for test outsourcing. Finally, Acceptance testing requires business know how (for user acceptance) and a production-like test environment. It is therefore difficult to outsource.
- Test Types: generally speaking, all types of testing, both functional and non-functional, can be outsourced. By its nature, regression test is a good candidate for cost saving, because it involves regular repetition and test automation. Know-how intense test types like load & performance, usability and security are best outsourced to a specialist organisation, on a case-by-case basis.
- Test Activities: defining what activities within the test process should be outsourced (e.g., test planning, specification, execution and reporting) requires a strategic decision on how much control and knowledge is given away. It can range from test execution only, to performance of the whole process.
- Manual testing provides a way to quickly evaluate a product and provide testers with a familiarity of the features during the development process. Testers create test cases based on their ability to determine whether or not requirements are met. But initially these test cases have to be executed manually, both for the sake of verification of the necessary steps, and also in order to record test scripts for automation in the future.
Manual testing also includes exploratory testing, which enables testers to learn more about the application, while also identifying areas that potentially need more test cases to fully understand weaknesses and risk. Testers use exploratory testing to better understand weaknesses and determine which parts of the application need more test cases.
Lastly, manual testing is especially valuable early in the development of features and the user interface, as layouts and controls are often changing almost daily in response to design considerations and user feedback. It can be more time-consuming to maintain and change automated scripts than to execute tests manually.
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