Add Resilience to Offshore Continuous Testing

Amid uncertainties and setbacks—like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2018 floods in India, or the impacts of the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008—many businesses struggle to quickly adapt and are often ill-prepared to maintain operations and release deadlines.

However, if you diversify your Software Testing organization, you can distribute risk across multiple teams around the world and avoid snarl-ups with Continuous Testing (CT).

How Crises Impair Testing Processes

Continuous Testing (CT) is an effective Software Testing strategy that aims to evaluate quality at every step of the software development lifecycle (SDLC). However, the success of CT is highly dependent on teams, processes, and infrastructure, and when calamity strikes─and if any percentage of these temporarily disappears─continuously creating, testing, and deploying code could become quite difficult.

If you have only an in-house team or one centralized point for your testing and it is affected by a catastrophe or a global economic issue, then your Continuous Testing program may become jeopardized.

There are several strategies that businesses utilize to help in unblocking their testing in times of crises. These strategies include:

  • Remote work
  • Outsourcing via onshoring or offshoring
  • Invoking Cloud-based device farms and infrastructure

For example, in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, most companies in the United States have adopted a work-from-home policy that gives their employees the freedom to work from anywhere.

However, such abrupt changes in routine often come with issues. These issues include:

  • Remote access to certain environments
  • Distribution of physical devices for Mobile Testing 
  • Lower productivity & greater risk
  • Security risks

Let’s talk about each of them.

1. Remote Access to Environments

When the normal work environment is disrupted, testing teams find it challenging to adapt to the new remote culture and get the right equipment for the job. 

In times of crises─when movements are restricted and people are on a purchasing frenzy─it becomes difficult and expensive to set up remote teams with the right equipment for carrying out testing tasks. 

So, if it is the first time a testing team is working from home, and they lack the necessary access to environments, such as QA and pre-production, know that their efficiency may be impaired.

2. Distribution of Physical Devices for Mobile Testing

Much like item #1, this problem is a result of a lack of access, or lack of utilization for cloud-based devices.  In the case of highly specialized devices like hand-held point of sale or courier devices, the problem is further exacerbated because QA professionals know these devices have limited quantities for teams to share. Many cloud-based mobile device farms cover the mainstream devices; however, partnering with vendors that can meet the specific needs of your company is key.

3. Lower Productivity & Greater Risk

Abrupt shifts towards a remote working setup may hamper productivity due to communication bottlenecks, technical hiccups, poor motivation, and constant interruptions. 

The virtual team may find it hard to remain productive while working from home. The distractions from the crises may impact the staff and cause the team to take time off work, thereby threatening release dates. Highly dependent organizations, like Agile development teams, may experience a decrease in productivity and/or increase poor quality releases during these times.  

Case and point, should a Dev team or QA team go offline temporarily as the team manages new work from home orders, the team might still make release without the valuable inputs of the team. This can create an increased risk of bugs launched in production, or, worse, the entire project is shut down until the missing teams come back online.

4. Security Threats

Some aspects of Software Testing can only be done onsite due to the security risks of allowing testing teams to leave the premises with sensitive devices; this makes it challenging to realize productivity goals in remote setups.

Testing teams usually deal with sensitive data, which should always be accessed in secured environments. So, in the absence of sufficient remote security measures, working from home poses security risks that can be difficult to address. During economic uncertainties and pandemics, cyber attackers usually increase their activities. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO reported a fivefold increase in the number of cyber attacks targeted to its workforce. 

Therefore, if you allow your testing team to work remotely without instituting concise security measures, you could be exposing the project and the entire company to attacks.

So, Continuous Testing amid a crisis is a risky endeavor and, if compromised, can lead to delays in Test Automation, triages, maintenance, and overall poor quality software releases.

Why Diversifying is Critical

Diversifying your Software Testing is critical. By having multiple teams around the world, you can mitigate risk and ensure your CT processes are running smoothly in times of instability. 

Here are some benefits of onshoring and/or offshoring Software Testing tasks.

1. Risk Mitigation

Engaging in a remote onshore, offshore, or combinational outsourcing model can assist large enterprise organizations by transferring risk to distributed teams around the world. This way, in case of regionalized resource disruption, smart QA organizations can still produce quality products that meet release deadlines by load balancing the work to other cross-trained, available teams.

With an outsourcing model complementing your in-house resourcing you can ensure around-the-clock production. If your in-house team cannot get things done for some reason, you can quickly transfer the tasks to your onshore or offshore testing team—ensuring you’re on track to accomplishing your delivery objectives.

2. Add More Subject Matter Expertise

The expertise needed to create and implement successful Automation programs usually requires a couple of years to sharpen. Without significantly investing in training, closing the skills gaps in-house can be difficult to do. 

Outsourcing QA testing services, whether onshore or offshore, can assist you in getting a skilled workforce and avoiding the headaches and costs often associated with hiring testers locally. It is a great way of tapping into the vast, skilled labor pool available out there─and at significant cost savings to your company; this is especially beneficial if you’re working with a vendor that can scale to meet your needs, whether it be based on cost, experience, or location. A strong outsourcing partner can enable you to scale these 3 aspects independently, creating a blended solution that maximizes your QA efficacy while reducing your total cost of ownership. 

Lastly, outsourcing can free up time for your internal Automation staff and allow them to focus on their core responsibilities. Even in times of economic crises, they can have peace of mind knowing that the outsourced assignments are in capable hands.

3. Improves Productivity

Outsourcing can significantly improve the productivity of your QA and software delivery organization. With a team of highly experienced Automation Engineers, you can get the most out of your testing efforts and keep your customers happy. 

A strong vendor has onshore and offshore teams with extensive experience in modern Software Testing approaches. They possess consultants who can understand the requirements of your project quickly and hit the ground running without added costs or delays.

When the unexpected happens, you can leverage such geographically diversified teams and infrastructure while maintaining your production levels without your customers even realizing it! While your competitors struggle with trying to keep staff productive while working from home, you can ramp up your diversified resources and maintain a leading edge in the marketplace.“In a recent study covering hundreds of IT projects, fully co-located delivery teams working on almost 5,000 epics delivered 40 percent fewer bugs. However, distributed teams resolved issues faster. Our findings suggest that optimizing team location may help development managers achieve an optimal combination of speed and quality,” (McKinsey). Therefore, diversifying improves productivity by ensuring continuous Automation across the entire DevOps pipeline.

Where to Onshore & Offshore Reliably

As the traditional offshoring destinations, such as India, are becoming more costly, Vietnam is emerging as an attractive alternative for corporate testing solutions. In recent years, Vietnam has demonstrated to be a solid contender for competent and cost-friendly offshoring and outsourcing services.

Gartner, the renowned global research firm, first identified Vietnam as one of the Top 30 Countries for Offshore Services in 2010. By January 2015, Vietnam had moved to one of the top 5 destinations for offshoring services. Since then, the country has made remarkable progress in becoming an attractive outsourcing location.

Several factors have made Vietnam a serious player in the global outsourcing industry. Foremost, the country enjoys a stable working environment with minimal conflicts in both social and religious politics. This has caused Vietnam’s economy to grow at an annual rate of 7%, with the software industry underpinning this growth immensely.

The Vietnamese government has also been at the forefront in supporting the IT industry. This has led to availability of excellent resources for complex problem solving, such as for Automation and Continuous Testing. 

On the other hand, India has had a history of political turmoil in recent years. According to research data that ranks 200 countries based on the state of their political stability, Vietnam is ranked at number 84, while India is at 165. 

In terms of talent, Vietnam has an abundance of it. It has more than 290 universities offering IT and engineering courses. In fact, according to a report by the World Economic Forum, Vietnam is one of the top 10 countries with the most engineering graduates—producing 100,000 engineering graduates every year.

More so, Vietnamese workers demonstrate a strong culture of loyalty, which leads to reduced staff turnover rates.

Vietnam has also shown remarkable fortitude in dealing with crises. For example, in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, as of June 9th, 2020, Vietnam had recorded 332 confirmed cases, with 316 recoveries and no deaths. This is impressive considering the country’s huge population of 95.54 million and its shared border with China, where the infectious disease originated. 

If same time-zone becomes a requirement due to your Agile processes, but work-from-home is still very much the norm, your best alternative is a U.S. based onshore approach. You have the same caliber of resources as onsite contracting, but with a 30% discount relative to the onsite/offshore cost differential.

How LogiGear Can Help

LogiGear is a global Software Testing company with offices in Asia and the United States. We can help in diversifying your Software Automation Testing strategies so that you can avoid Continuous Testing disruptions in the midst of crises. 

LogiGear has provided offshore & onsite test development and execution services for decades. As of recent, the company has also made large investments in an onshore, same time zone delivery center, reducing the need for companies who are forced to work-from-home to overspend in onsite contracting. With the right blended approach of cloud-based infrastructure, in-house, onshore, and offshore resourcing you mitigate your risk, increase your capacity, and enable your organization to gauge productivity and costs basis relative to each team.

Get in touch with us today, and we’ll stand beside you—both in good times and bad times.

Clay Simmons
Clayton Simmons has 10+ years in Enterprise Services Business. Clayton ran Cognizant’s Digital Assurance Practice in 2012 and lead an organization focused solely on testing digital enterprise digital solutions for both Mobile and IoT. He successfully rolled out Customer Experience (CX) Test offering which revolutionized the approach to the perceived quality quotient against traditional functional validation of so many other testing services at that time.