2010 Global Testing Survey: Offshoring – LogiGear Magazine

In two parts, Michael Hackett analyzes the results of the responses from the home team and the distributed team in the sixth installment of the 2010 Global Survey.

Data was compiled and analyzed by Michael Hackett, LogiGear Senior Vice President. This is the sixth analysis of the 2010 Global Testing Survey Series. More survey results will be included in subsequent magazine issues. To read past surveys, visit https://www.logigear.com/magazine/category/issue/survey/.

Part 1- The Home Team

HT1. Do you outsource testing (outside your company)?

Response percent Response count
Yes 87.5% 7
No 12.5% 1

Analysis: You can see from the varied results in this section, many people and organizations are conflicted about distributing work. At the same time, for most respondents, the outsourcing/offshoring is effective, the teams are competent but not trusted, and they would not do it if they had the choice. The results are an indication that we have work to do!

HT2. Is your outsourcing/offshoring (any variety) successful/effective?

Yes 87.5% 7
No 12.5% 1

Analysis: It is very good that so many of these organizations see their outsourcing/offshoring as successful. There is a lingering notion that some teams are forced into unsuccessful distributed teams based on business necessities. This is not the case.

HT3. What is biggest impact of outsourcing/offshoring of testing

Faster product release 12.5% 1
More test time 25% 2
More effective testing 0% 0
More technical testing 12.5% 1
More automation 12.5% 1
Slower releases 0% 0
Less effective testing 12.5% 1
More manaement oversight 25% 2
No difference in test effort 0% 0
Successful projects 0% 0
Failed projects 0% 0
Better project team morale 0% 0
Worse project team morale 0% 0

Analysis: The truth about outsourcing and offshoring is that it leads to more management supervision. This has been found many times in surveys of all levels and varieties of outsourcing. The good news is you will get better at leading and managing.

The bad news is the increased time and effort needed to get the same work done. The range of other answers is positive, except for teams getting less effective testing from distributing work.

HT4. Is the outsourced/offshore team respected and trusted to the same level as the internal team?

Response percent Response count
Yes 37.5% 3
No 62.5% 5

Analysis: The “No” answer being so high is problematic and common, yet gets to the heart of all other problems with outsourcing and offshoring; the remote team is often not respected or trusted like the home team.

The reasons for this are many and spring from shortcomings on both sides; ranging from unrealistic expectations by the home team of immediate ramp-up and smooth sailings to incompetent teams. Regardless of why, the problem of mistrust must be resolved or the problem is guaranteed to get worse. Angry teams and high staff turnover can be the next step in unresolved situations.

HT5. Do you view the outsource/offshore test team as competent?

Yes 75% 6
No 25% 2

H69. How much time and effort is spent training the outsourced/offshore team?

None 12.5% 1
Little 25% 2
Enough 37.5% 3
A lot 25% 2

Analysis: Training is the key to any successful work distribution. More important than any process or tool, training builds trust as well as skill. That many organizations do not train the distributed teams enough is a problem.

HT7. If you had the choice to outsource/offshore or not would you?

Yes 37.5% 3
No 62.5% 5

Analysis: I am surprised with this answer in that although distributing work needs more management oversight time─a negative─for most other responses, these organizations seemed happy with their work distribution arrangements.

HT8. Please share a success or failure story about offshoring/outsourcing that would be interesting and informative for other test teams.

1. “Offshore team members have to spend time onsite to better understand domain knowledge and better understand team structure, roles and responsibilities. Leads need to have daily communication with offshore, to communicate sense of urgency, which is not perceived the same way by remote locations. When team gets large offshore, think about sending onsite folks on long assignments offshore.”

2. “I have built 5 QA ODC (offshore development center). The keys to success is standard process, good resources, effective knowledge transfer and ongoing engagement. On and offshore need to follow the same process, this enables resources to ramp up quickly. Good resources, we screen all our offshore candidates when we build out initially and then allow the vendor to chose junior level shadow resources who are brought up to speed on the vendors time.

Effective knowledge transfer, knowledge transfer is bi-directional and continuous. Some of our best process improvements such as ”’video taping of complex defects” has come from offshore. Offshore resources are professionals, treat them as such. Ongoing engagement, an engaged resource is a productive resource. Rotate and cross train to keep people interested and have backups.”

Part 2 The Distributed Team

DT1. Is your team respected and trusted to the same level as internal team?

Yes 50% 8
No 50% 8

Analysis: With half the outsourced/offshored teams feeling no respect or trust, this high percentage lines up with the home team’s similar response. It is a serious problem that so many teams feel they are not trusted.

DT2. Do you do an effective testing job?

Response percent Response count
Yes 86.7% 13
No 13.3% 2

DT3. Do you view the home/main corporate test team as competent?

Yes 64.3% 9
No 35.7% 5

Analysis: This is a high and interesting number of groups that do not view the home team as competent. It is a direct comment on the relationship between distributed teams.

DT4. How much time and effort is spent training your team?

None 7.1% 1
Little 50% 7
Enough 42.9% 6
A lot 0% 0

Analysis: As I said above, training is the key to every successful distributed project. More than half the teams that responded felt they are not adequately prepared for their work.

DT5. Do you have tools to support effective communication and quick access to information?

Yes 86.7% 13
No 13.3% 2

DT6. If you could fix one thing about the home office test team you what would it be?

1. “Stop looking at offshore team as your competitor

  • Be ready to move up the value chain when you want to introduce offshoring (actually, demarcate key contribution areas from home & offshore teams).
  • Understand the difference between managed offshore resources and unmanaged onsite consultants.
  • Use offshore teams to complement onsite teams and get the best out of both worlds.”

2. “Make them more cooperative.”

3. “Provide more training to offshore.”

4. “Provide better documentation of tool/features being tested

  • Test plan details
  • Focus areas
  • Provide overall objectives of the team, so we don’t lose sight of the forest while going for the trees.”

5. “More clear requirements”

DT7. Please share a success or failure stories about offshoring/outsourcing that would be interesting and informative for other test teams.

1. “What I would like to quote here is my experience as a manager of an offshore team working for U.S. based financial services client. The most difficult part for me was to make the client ‘QA Manager’ understand that the offshore team is a team of managed resources. They always thought of it like bodies being shopped to them and they have no management support or that they have to manage them individually.

I had to work for over 6 months without being recognized as a manager by the client. I prepared the ground for 6 months, created a lot of data with respect to team members and projects, metrics, etc identified improvement areas, training needs, etc and once I visited the client and presented this to them, they were then able to appreciate that the team is managed and they don’t have to micro-manage.”

2. “We get the job done with very little help from the outsourcing location.”

3. “The ‘rotational’ model does not always work due to incompatibility between the rotated resources in client environment; requires higher degrees of management than originally anticipated.”

LogiGear Corporation provides global solutions for software testing, and offers public and corporate software testing training programs worldwide through LogiGear University. LogiGear is a leader in the integration of test automation, offshore resources and US project management for fast, cost-effective results. Since 1994, LogiGear has worked with Fortune 500 companies to early-stage start-ups in, creating unique solutions to meet their clients’ needs. With facilities in the US and Viet Nam, LogiGear helps companies double their test coverage and improve software quality while reducing testing time and cutting costs.