Offshore QA teams are a popular solution for large businesses nowadays that has many benefits. TestFort and many other offshore software testing appeared due to the readiness of companies to outsource their product quality issues offshore and gain mutual advantages from such an organization of the working process.
In view of this situation, management processes have evolved respectively. Outsourcing companies often establish several offshore QA offices across the world to extend their reach for customers and facilitate many associated issues.
If you are involved in managing an offshore QA team that can even consist of people located in different offices, the following tips are for you.
Why offshore your QA needs
Before we talk about managing an offshore testing team, let’s look into why you may choose an offshore QA team in the first place. After all, the decision to hire a team locally seems like a no-brainer. Still, thousands of companies are either already working with an offshore QA department or are seriously considering it. So why is it such an attractive prospect for modern software companies? Here are a few reasons for it:
- Cost-effective operations. One of the main reasons why companies go for outsourcing and offshore software services is the ability to save money. There are plenty of locations around the world where IT specialists cost significantly less than in the US and Western Europe, while the quality of service is just as good.
- Access to a wider range of specialists. When you have a project with specific requirements that should be handled by QA engineers with a niche specialization, offshore companies will help you choose just the right engineer even for the most challenging task.
- No overhead costs. While working with offshore QA engineers, you are not the one responsible for providing them with office space, equipment, or benefits such as insurance and paid leave. You will only be paying for the services you actually use, not for covering the additional costs of running a QA department.
- A fresh perspective. When both software developers and QA engineers work at the same company, their perspective may sometimes be limited, meaning certain issues can go unnoticed. An offshore QA team will give an unbiased opinion about the state of your project and find all the ways it can be improved.
- Round-the-clock support. Typically, an offshore QA team will adjust to your working schedule even despite the possible time zone differences. However, an overseas team can also ensure 24/7 support in case you need it — for example, when you are in a rush to release your solution and therefore want to test more in less time.
Get to know your QA team members
Starting with the correct spelling and pronunciation of your colleagues’ names, try to better know them and make them know each other in order to strengthen your personal and professional bonds you need while working together. It’s a good idea to ask your offshore testing team members to make simple one-sliders about themselves including a photo and some basic information. In case you have both an in-house and an offshore team, establishing a good rapport should be one of your main priorities. An experienced and highly motivated project manager can successfully cope with this task.
Be a strong communicator & handle the language barrier
In the absolute majority of cases, offshore QA team members have a good enough grasp of English to handle both technical documentation and everyday communication. But that doesn’t mean your project is immune from possible communication issues. When you are working with people located offshore, communication skills gain an even more important value. Regular team calls and text communication, along with the occasional informal conversation or team building event, can solve many of the communication problems that can take place with an offshore team.
Arrange the realistic onshore-offshore balance
If your company delivers both development and testing services and has offshore offices, it’s tempting to assign the whole testing part to an offshore team. But this is a trap you don’t want to get in. Rather than thinking of the offshore percent of workload you’d like to reach in the project to reduce your target cost, look at what you are really able to entrust to offshore QA expertise, considering such issues as the complexity of your business processes, accessibility constraints of the testing systems, etc.
That way, both the in-house and the offshore teams will have a crystal clear understanding of their duties, and you will be able to assign different tasks to the most capable team members depending on their specialty.
Adapt your issue management process
Most projects use management tools for documenting and tracking defects since these can be operated from either onshore or offshore locations. However, many projects miss out on issue management for resolving some functional, technical and business related queries an offshore quality assurance team might face during test phases. That’s why you should make sure your offshore team uses some web-powered document management system properly.
Manage the documentation on your deliverables properly
Work out a set of guidelines on documentation management covering test scenarios, test scripts, test execution and results documentation. Choose the right test management tool for your company’s needs bearing in mind their effectiveness and accessibility across different locations. It’s also important to begin the documentation process right from the start of the project or even before it is launched. As a result, all the parties involved in the testing project will be able to quickly refer to the documentation in case there are any misunderstandings.
The practice of using offshore QA teams would have never gotten as popular as it is today if it wasn’t for the main advantages of this setup. Of course, to make sure everything goes smoothly and brings maximum benefits to your project, it’s vital to take care of certain aspects of a possible collaboration. Efficient management is one of them. Use our tips to minimize the inconvenience of your offshore testing QA team’s remote location and to manage it more effectively.