7 Must Ask Questions in selecting a Software Testing and QA Partner
By Brian Bernknopf
February 14th, 2018
QA Consultants is always happy to see organizations making the investment in Quality Assurance and software testing. We’re in the services business and we sell those QA services, so the obvious bias is there. But, we’re not a fit for everyone and there is no silver bullet. These questions are often asked of us during the engagement process and felt worthy of a share. A trusted third party can offer objectivity, experience, and insight that’s critical for reducing risk while ensuring high performance. Whether a company decides to use our services or those of another firm, there are several key characteristics to look for when engaging a software quality assurance and testing vendor. Here are seven factors to consider during the selection process.
Is the Vendor Current with the New Software Technologies and Testing Practices?
From data testing related to the burgeoning field of ‘decision science’ to integration testing in the API ecosystem, your chosen vendor must stay well-informed to maintain their status as a qualified expert. A good software testing vendor will also invest time and resources in keeping abreast of related fields and how they impact the testing world. We’ve seen the writing on the wall as to the next generation of software testing challenges. We must be vigilant in exploring how new technologies will require new methods of testing (And admittedly, which ones will use tried and true methods).
Are They Advocates for Change in Quality Assurance?
The days when QA was considered something to tack on after the fact are over. A worthwhile consulting firm will be proactive in innovating and advocating for change. They should be at the forefront of developing and implementing best practices for risk management. Do they talk about risk mitigation vs. how many and how long? We often see this manifest in the conversation on testers vs. QA processes.
Do They Make Sensible Recommendations for Software Testing?
It does not take a QA expert to sniff out when a software testing proposal is not logical. Your vendor should make recommendations founded on common sense based on the objectives of the test and the budget for testing. If they cannot explain why they are proposing a course of action, it is a good idea to get a second opinion.
Are They Taking an Economic Approach to Quality Assurance?
Your QA and testing vendor should be motivated to do more with fewer resources—not to see how big they can make their contract. With the innovations happening in DevOps and automation testing, there’s no reason to bloat the budget with overspending. A good vendor will work with you to “right size” your testing efforts both initially and ongoing. Technology and tools are certainly part of this approach, but not the only way that this can be accomplished.
Can They Move at a Rapid Pace with Quality Assurance and Help meet Time to Market?
A forward-thinking firm will avoid bogging things down with software testing that is not strictly necessary (and yes, there is such a thing as excessive testing). Again, this comes down to understanding the purpose, requirements, and budget of testing. It is not to guard against every possible eventuality or do manual testing on every piece of code. It is about assessing and prioritizing risks and deploying resources strategically to address them quickly and efficiently. Again, a focus on risk.
Do They Expect to Be Accountable for Their Work?
A QA consulting firm worth its salt should not be afraid to stand behind their work. The engagement should be built around well-defined objectives that can be tracked. The ability to deliver measurable results is essential. Do not be afraid ask for evidence that the vendor can do what they claim. More and more contracts are including SLA’s or asking for outcome-based payments.
Are They Focused on What Matters to Your Business?
At the end of the day, testing for testing’s sake is pointless. The reasons to perform quality assurance and software testing are to mitigate risk in software development, ensure the quality of the application, and deliver it on time. A good vendor will be a true partner in helping your organization achieve success.
At QA Consultants, we expect you to put our commitment to excellence to the test. Contact our team today and learn how we can move the needle for your business.
Over the coming decade, QA and testing as a profession will undoubtedly change. However, our future is secure if we are willing to continuously test the boundaries of our knowledge and upgrade the quality of our skills. It’s also time for QA professionals to take a seat at the table and communicate in terms of risk, not spend. This is how we evolve our roles and increase the value of our contribution.
For companies who do not have the skills to meet future QA challenges, QA Consultants can help. Please contact us here and let’s talk!
Brian Bernknopf is the Managing Partner of the US operations at QA Consultants.