The Most Obvious Benefits of Hiring a Nearshore Test Team Are the Standard advantages offered by nearshoring: a reduced cost compared to their national prices, but still working with a team that shares time zones. But this time zone affinity is particularly important for software testing since remote testers must be able to communicate frequently with their customers to understand the latest developments in a project.
Beyond the standard benefits of nearshoring, contracting with Nearshore testers can add additional value. If a company prefers to keep essential software and intellectual property in-house, it can still contract with external testers without disclosing the technology behind the scenes. Remote testers can work exclusively on application interfaces while still doing their jobs efficiently.
“Time zone affinity is especially important for software testing because remote testers need to be able to communicate with their clients frequently.
Additionally, if an application is intended for use internationally but has been entirely designed by a software team in a single country, remote testers can bring an outside perspective, help test multilingual sites from the point of view. perspective of a native speaker and ensure that a website’s services always work well across borders.
Five Tips for Nearshore Test Teams
While Nearshore testing offers all of these benefits, getting it right is not easy. After many years of activity, we believe these five tips are essential in building a successful Nearshore test team.
Consider it adapts to testing in your process (agile)
Whichever methodology you follow, if your business offers stand-alone testing services to customers, then you need to carefully consider how the testing roles fit into both your internal processes and your customers’ processes, which may vary.
Assuming you are using some form of agile software development methodology, like Scrum or Kanban, then ideal for any test team is to be tightly integrated with those who build and use the software.
The global pandemic has dramatically increased the uptake of remote working, although this trend is already happening before Covid-19. This is a benefit for companies offering standalone testing services to agile teams, as these agile teams are already adopting online tools to manage their Scrum boards. Gone are the days when everyone could easily gather around a whiteboard with a handful of post-it notes. We are all now adapting to using remote agile consulting tools like Jira, Trello and many more.
Remote testing can especially benefit the process you are working in. For example, if your Nearshore test team is located in the center of a single city, they can all have access to your office for the use of mobile devices for application testing (although they still have to work in home most of the time for security reasons). At AgilityFeat, most of our developers and customers are spread across the Americas, but we keep our team of testers centrally located near an office in Panama City, Panama, so we have access to a physical device lab when needed.
Also think about how your nearshore test team will communicate and collaborate with your customers. While online tools are useful for reporting test results and marking Agile Stories as passing tests, don’t let the tools do all your talking. Making sure your team can communicate in your customers’ language and participate in daily standups is crucial for collaboration – the ability to do so is a key benefit of agile nearshoring and should not be overlooked.
Make sure billing practices match your customer process
a agile contract wants to be flexible. In general, it is better to write a contract based on time (an hourly rate or a monthly fee), and leave the details of the work to be done outside the contract. This allows teams to work more collaboratively with their clients, instead of constantly creating change request documents and contract reviews.
You can quantify things like tested web pages or tested mobile devices, but you can’t predict how many tests will need to be done
Fortunately, testing works well in this concept because it is difficult to quantify the exact deliverables of a test team. You can quantify things like tested web pages or tested mobile devices, but you can’t predict how many tests will need to be performed. Instead, customers should understandably understand that a tester’s contract will be time-based, as it depends on how much time the development team will need to resolve issues encountered by testers.
The downside to a time-based contract is that it’s more difficult to objectively measure success or failure, and customers can therefore use that subjectivity against you in negotiations. That’s why the next tip is so important: demonstrate the value of your test group early and often.
Demonstrate value early and often
For many job descriptions, demonstrating value is relatively easy. Software developers can view application functionality completed, customer service can view the number of calls they have answered and use customer satisfaction surveys, marketers can view the number of website visitors they have they brought in and sales teams can view the revenue generated and transactions closed.
For a tester, demonstrating value is a bit more difficult. It can even be conflicting if you take the approach of cataloging every unimportant detail of a client’s application just to increase the number of bugs. Being too picky isn’t the way to demonstrate value, because customers don’t care about all flaws the same (and they shouldn’t).
The best way to demonstrate value as a tester is through strong communication and collaboration
The best way to demonstrate your value as a tester is to have strong communication and collaboration. Communicate too much what and when you are going to test, and communicate the results frequently to the client. When a fault is detected, it is important to specify everything you can about how to find and recreate that fault. Anything you do to make it easier for the customer to reproduce and repair any faults you find will be rewarded with customer happiness with your work. These things are true for any test team, but especially true when you are a remote Nearshore worker.
Agile methodologies don’t call the “right” way to do a test plan – ideally, these are the acceptance criteria for user stories, which are tested one by one as development is complete.
This ideal approach, however, can be myopic and make testers forget about comprehensive end-to-end testing and exploratory testing. A well-written test plan that is approved from the start may not seem very ‘nimble’, but it is crucial. The test plan should be detailed enough to convince customers that you understand their application and that you are focusing on the right areas in your testing. These test plans should remain flexible, however, as an agile team will continually add new features that were not originally intended, and they may need you to change your area of interest in testing.
To save time, have a standard test plan format and common tests ready to be presented to customers as part of the sales process.
Offer value-added services
Customers often perceive manual testing as something anyone can do, so they’re reluctant to pay a lot for it. I don’t agree with this perception at all because I know high quality testers are not easy to find who communicate well with their customers. However, the perception is widespread enough that anything you can do to increase the value of your test group to your clients will be rewarded with bigger and more stable contracts.
Building tests that can be run automatically requires good technical skills and good communication, and provides additional value to your customers.
An example of how a Nearshore test team can add value is test automation and load testing practices. Building tests that can be run automatically requires good technical skills and good communication, and provides additional value to your customers. They project an image of efficiency, demonstrating that you can automate the less valuable and repetitive parts of manual testing, and keep your team focused on higher added value exploratory testing.
This extra value provided is worth the investment, as it can generate higher rates than manual testing. Test automation is also not a one-time process, it requires consistent maintenance and therefore can lead to longer-term relationships.
Find your testing niche
Nearshoring is great, but if your only value differences are “we speak your language and we work at lower rates” then it’s hard to stand out in the pack. Value propositions based solely on price always become a race to the bottom, as your clients choose the Nearshore team with the lowest hourly rate. This is especially true in an area like testing where customers perceive less value being generated than in other areas like software development.
The key for any business to fight price competition is specialization
The key for any business to fight price competition is specialization. The more specialized you are in a particular industry or in a particular set of technical skills, the more likely the customer is to choose you over other nearshore suppliers, regardless of your tariffs.
Our team at AgilityFeat does a lot of testing of live video applications, through our separate brand WebRTC.ventures. Testing a video chat app is quite different from testing a static website or a basic mobile app. While our team can still perform more standard testing, much of our work uses our specific technical expertise to test live video applications. This specialization has paid off on the customers we attract and the rates we can charge.
Good tests mean good business
In the beginning, customers don’t always want to pay for testing. But they sure miss it when they don’t! Therefore, the key to building a successful nearshore test team is to make your value so obvious that they will seek it out even before the last minute when they realize they need help with testing.
To make those sales sooner, you need to have confidence, a solid process, and frequent value delivery. Having a specific niche you work in will also help clients find you more proactively.
If you follow these tips for Nearshore testing, then a good test is no longer a chore – it’s just a good deal!