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Observations on Offshoring your Software Testing



Have you noticed that there is something about having people nearby that instills a sense of confidence in the work being performed?  There is something about having a tester in the same country as you that generates security.

So it was with a bit of reluctance that I took on a job that had an offshore element to it.

I was surprised to discover the quality of the work that came back from the offshore team. They found many bugs outside their scope of work. Their testing was thoughtful and thorough.

However, one of the hardest things I found I had to deal with is the lack of visibility on the testing.  I am utterly dependent on the only tangible evidence provided to me through  test scripts and defects in the shared test management system. I don’t get to see the testers in action…

So, despite the knowledge that good testing is being performed, I am still very uneasy when badly written test scripts are created, or if the process is not followed.

I don’t know, perhaps this says more about myself than the testing being performed. After all, I personally have never been a fan of extremely detailed test scripts.  Perhaps the lack of contact and visibility brings out the micro-manager in me, turning me into a process Nazi.

So am I being unfair? Perhaps. It’s made me realise how important it is to be accurate and succinct in your reporting, especially when a client has little visibility on your work.

I need encouragement! If you like what you read, please show it 🙂

6 thoughts on “Observations on Offshoring your Software Testing

  1. Im planning for SOFTWARE TESTING course in STC,Chennai.Does it have value and market in current industry.??
    Does it have bright future??.please guide me.I fear to spend quite a lot of money(70,000-80,000) without guidance.

  2. hi Anne,
    Great blog – and excellent insights. Your concerns about offshoring and lack of visibility are very valid – which is the reason people use collaborative issue tracking and project management tools to have a better control on the offshoring process.

    Undoubtedly, offshoring does add a lot of value in terms of reduced time to test and expertise – since there are companies who specialize only in testing and have a very heavy concentration on testing specific competencies.

    I head one such offshore testing company – and we have clients who had similar concerns on collaboration/visibility – and we were able to address those by setting up process around communication, collaboration and reporting. With time, collaboration has been so smooth that they feel we are a team next door!

    I would be glad to share more insights on how effective collaboration can ensure offshoring success.

  3. Anne-Marie,
    I think its helpful that you’ve identified what aspects of working with offshore have made you uneasy. I’ve found frequent phone calls help to reduce the unknown feeling. The more often I talk with testers in different locations, the more it seems people relax and begin to be more direct in communication. It is a challenge to be on calls late nites an early mornings in attempt to inspire teams, answer questions and to somehow “be there” but it does help. Frequency makes a difference in my experiences.

    Best wishes –

  4. Anne-Marie,
    very thoughtful and very well written blog giving the insight of the testing which has an offshore element.

    Test reporting is the crucial concept while dealing with the offshore team. One has the visibility only to the reports and not to the person. Now what if one recieves a mail/ report or a test case which is poorly written or badly managed, it creates a whole impression of the team and not just an individual. I personally feel that test reporting is an essential thing which reflects the personality to the onsite team.

    It would be great for all the readers if you can throw some light on how a effective test reporting should be.

    Thanks.

  5. Hi there,
    I’ve managed teams with offshore components, and have had mixed results. The work ethic, drive, and ambition of some engineers in other countries is amazing, but distance, language, and culture can cause details to get missed. A clear process is important, but I’ve found the more important key to off-shoring success is in finding and placing good team leads on your off-shore team, with whom you can communicate well with, and who can be trusted to “make it happen” no matter what – on the ground. A good lead in country is worth 10x more than a good process.

    Thanks
    Dave J

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