Testing as an Outsourced Managed Service – Part I
Testing has become a highly-specialised function of modern software development, requiring a steep investment in skills and training. But testing skills can also be sourced as part of a managed service from well-established and experienced service providers.
In this two-part article, I’ll be discussing the where’s and why’s of testing as a managed service, who it’s for, and how to choose the best provider for your business.
Testing as a managed service is essentially an outsourced test solution. Many companies leverage their business and software development staff for testing, but that’s not ideal, as they don’t necessarily have the focus and skills to test at the required level.
Why should you consider a managed testing service?
- Testing has become increasingly specialised. In the past, testing wasn’t even recognised as a career, and wasn’t widely adopted or practiced in the software development industry. Nowadays testing is a highly specialised skill that requires its own people, departments and management.
- Most companies aren’t geared for testing. Testing is not a core function, even for certain specialised software development companies. Where it is a core function, testing resources are usually stretched thin, and additional resources are regularly onboarded for larger projects.
- Testing is branching out. It’s no longer enough to employ a small team of manual testers; today’s fast-paced business environment means test automation and performance testing is mandatory, and those skills are very different, expensive to obtain, and not always easy to come by.
How does testing as a managed service work?
- Consulting. Like most managed services, it starts with a consulting phase, where the service provider listens to the client’s requirements and challenges with regards to testing their software or website. Once they have gained a better understanding of the challenges, they can provide a customised proposal with regards to the structure of the managed service and the delivery thereof.
- Choosing the right service. The service provider should be able to offer the client a full range of managed testing services, from security testing to automation, performance and manual testing skills, and tailor the service to the client’s specific needs.
- Manage the process. The service provider essentially takes over the management of the testing, whether that’s for a small project, a department in the company, or even as a test partner that does testing for the whole company.
Who benefits most from managed services?
- Smaller companies that have little to no testing resources or aren’t particularly advanced in their testing. It can be something as small and simple as knowing where and how regression testing fits into an Agile delivery model, for example, or how often they should run their automated tests, to something a bit more complex such as migrating their testing from manual to automated.
- More complex mixed service environments. I sometimes find that companies don’t just need one type of testing service, but rather a combination of services. Sourcing multiple skills for performance, security and automation testing can be particularly challenging, but can be solved quickly and efficiently through a multi-skilled managed service provider.
- Companies that want to ramp up their testing. Sometimes companies run into development issues with their software that require some specialised testing skills.
- Companies that want to start testing. Sometimes companies have no testing skills at all. For example, we have a client that wants to start a new bank, which requires different types of testing across various software projects and platforms. It makes a lot more sense to outsource their testing requirements to a service provider that can package a comprehensive service offering to meet all their requirements.