One of the most integral pieces of most business processes is Software Development. It is a dynamic process that includes half a dozen extensive steps, from data analysis to initial design and coding. Whether it’s for a small business or a large corporation, software development needs two things for successful execution: an expert developer with considerable experience, and comprehensive, fully functional programming software.
Without one or the other, your business’s systems—especially the ones that are dependent on software development—may suffer.
To avoid this, it’s important that both parts integral to the process are in top form. In the case of the developer, it’s more a recruitment matter than anything. You need to make sure you have someone whose knowledge base and skill level meet or exceed your standards.
For the programming software, you need to be 100% sure of its quality.
The Issue With In-House Quality Assurance
It’s pretty self-explanatory, but Quality Assurance (QA) is essentially a series of tests or standards that are designed to ensure the quality of a product or service. This usually happens during or after the testing phase, once it’s confirmed that the product is functional.
A lot of firms manage QA in-house. Usually the same engineers who design the programming software are the same people who handle quality assurance. Although this setup may seem harmless, it actually compromises the validity of the software’s quality.
The eyes and hands that designed the program can’t be the same ones to check the product for flaws or inconsistencies. You need a pair of fresh eyes and an impartial, neutral attitude towards the software.
The best way to approach QA is to have a specialized workforce that is trained in using the appropriate approaches and methodologies. You need to treat Software Development and Quality Assurance as two separate processes.
Aside from validating the product’s quality, it also makes for a speedier, more efficient production and development process. What’s more, it’s best to outsource your QA time rather than hire an in-house team.
Here are the top 3 reasons why:
Maintain Objectivity, Improve Efficiency
As mentioned earlier, QA must remain impartial and unbiased for it to be valid. It’s therefore essential that companies assign this process to a completely different team—preferably one outside the company, so as to ensure complete objectivity.
A team that has personal or professional ties to the project will not be able to remain detached and neutral, despite their best intentions. This jeopardizes software quality immensely. If the developers who test the code are the same ones who wrote it, they may overlook simple errors or disregard unassuming (but potentially damaging) discrepancies. Just as an author cannot edit their own book, a developer should not have the final say in whether or not their code is ready for public release.
By outsourcing your QA processes to a third-party company that specializes in the latest QA methodologies, you are assured that the people assessing the code are completely objective about its functionality, marketability, and ease-of-use. This, in turn, assures the efficiency of your software.
Another common problem with your in-house software development team handling QA is that it simply adds another item on their to-do list. This means that when they’re not rewriting code or tweaking the programming software, they’re performing quality assurance.
This is problematic for several reasons. One, they’re obviously tired by that point, and are therefore prone to committing more mistakes. Two, no one can move until they do. Processes that depend on software development and processes that depend (or come after) quality assurance will come to a standstill while your development team finishes one or the other.
As you can imagine, this can spell chaos for your timeline—especially if you have a strict deadline. When the team starts feeling the time pressure, procedures tend to be rushed through or disregarded entirely. Likewise, quality assurance usually drops to low priority.
By letting another team handle QA, your developers can take a much-needed breather in-between initial coding, rewriting, and debugging. They won’t need to work on the programming software 24/7 just to make sure the deadline is hit. Aside from giving them a chance to recharge their creative juices, the distribution of work between in-house teams and outsourced third-party professionals clears all potential bottlenecks.
Outsourcing has proven to be an extremely cost-effective solution for many businesses, regardless of size or industry. As it turns out, you save more when you pay a fixed cost for certain services on a contractual basis than when you hire a new employee or three. Here’s why;
Most outsourcing companies offer flat-rate or fixed-rate contracts for their services. Once you sign the contract, they begin right away. There’s no month-long onboarding period or week-long training. Reputable outsourcing companies only hire experienced professionals who possess the skills, experience, and knowledge to successfully meet project objectives with minimal intervention and involvement from you, the client.
Once the project is completed, the terms of the contract have been met by all parties and you are officially obliged to stop paying them, until such time you should need their services again.
On the other hand, building an in-house Quality Assurance team can be a drain on both time and money. Traditionally hiring an experienced and qualified tester to join your team will a) take a long time, and b) compromise most of your budget.
When it comes to performing QA processes on programming software, traditional hiring offers a handful of benefits that do not, unfortunately, outweigh the cost. For one, the traditional hiring process takes too long, from start to finish. You list the job opening, promote it, and then set a timeframe for accepting applications (typically a week). Once you “close” submissions, you then move on to the actual interviews.
Depending on how many people applied, you could spend anywhere between two weeks to two months just conducting interviews and narrowing down your selection. Once you’ve made your choice, you then call the people back and schedule their training or onboarding, which will take another week at minimum.
So in the span of a month, all you’ve really accomplished is building your in-house QA team. No actual QA testing was performed. Meanwhile, your project’s been on hold for that whole month because there was no one around to test it.
Once the candidate has completed onboarding, you now have them on your payroll. On top of paying for new supplies to accommodate the new hire, you also have to keep paying the QA team even after the project is done. Even if they don’t have anything to do for the next six months, you still have to pay them for those six months
Outsourcing all your QA functions for your programming software offers a multitude of benefits with very little drawback. Aside from improved objectivity, time efficiency, and cost-effectiveness, it also assures top-tier performance from your software, making it consumer-friendly and a lot more marketable.