Managing Outsourced Testing (On time and On Budget)

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along quickly. In providing testplans or testcases to the lab, be as thorough as possible. It is important that testcases clearly layout what to test and what the expected outcome should be. Try to not leave any test outcomes open to interpretation.

Review their Testplans / Testcases. If the lab is going to provide your group with testplans, review them thoroughly. Make sure the level of detail is enough to alleviate any chance of misinterpretation. Once again every test case must have a defined result. Test case outcomes cannot be open to interpretation. Look for some basic areas to be covered such as positive, negative, boundary, and documentation test cases.

Establish daily / weekly progress meetings. Set up a regular time to get updates from the testlab. Use the time to answer questions they may have come up with, or problems they may have uncovered. In addition, be sure to get a weekly written update. These updates include defect reports, testing status and any other issues. Get a pager, in case the environment goes down while they are testing. Testers should never be idle.

Establish defect-reporting mechanism. If possible have the testers enter defects directly into the defect database. A web based tracking system may be a best bet. Another method is to send issues via email, but these can sometimes get lost. Have someone from your staff verify the bugs before they are reported to development. Be sure the bugs are reproducible before getting development involved. This will also help get development buy-in to outsource test. Developers do not like hard to reproduce bugs. If the vendors are sending the defects this way, this will reduce confidence in the vendor ability.

Project End Deliverables As the project comes to an end there should be clearly defined project end deliverables. The deliverables may include the following:

Project Summary Recommendations
Completed testcases with results
Copies of all correspondence Bug / Incident reports

Treat the testers like they are part of your staff Keep in mind that the testers are really an extension of your staff. Treat them the way would treat your own people. Some folks treat third party testers as expendable, but keep in mind these testers may be doing some of your most critical work. Treat them well.

About the author

George Hamblen's picture George Hamblen

George Hamblen is currently a director of software quality assurance for Fidelity Investments Retail Electronic Commerce group. He leads a top-notch testing organization that combines technical talent with business know-how. The organization is responsible for Fidelity customer client/server and Web site applications, which have received many prestigious awards from leading business magazines. George has over 12 years of testing experience, which run the range from mainframe to PC/Macintosh. He has done every testing tasks imaginable from compilers, to spreadsheets, to CD-ROMs, to e-commerce applications. He was given the nickname “The Finger” for his ability to crash a spreadsheet aided only by a mouse. In addition to his management duties, he has developed and presented in-house training and test process improvements. He can be reached at george_hamblen@yahoo.com.

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