Find/Discover Quality Bugs that meet your test objectives from a dedicated team
Crowdsourcing offers some advantages to ensure that an application is ready for launch. The speed and flexibility to ramp up a team of testers is really remarkable, but there are some issues that can arise if you do not have a concrete test plan created. A professional test team is trained to assimilate seamlessly into a development or QA team affording it the opportunity to maintain a constant dialogue when there are ambiguity in the testing tasks with a crowdsource partner your primary motivation is compensation by the number of bugs found. Not all bugs are created equally though. A dedicated test team that has been working with your application through several iterations will know your product and be able to find more impactful bugs. If a bug is tricky to reproduce as well, it might night be worth the tester’s time to track down the issue if there is a higher chance that issue would be invalidated.
Security and Confidentiality
There is also the concern for confidentiality. With a crowd sourced vendor you never truly know who will get a hold of your product. You can try to overcome this by masking some technology used or your business intentions. This can be counterintuitive though. It might negatively affect the results that you are after. Privacy can be a concern for some apps that put an emphasis on protecting user’s confidential information if a security flaw is identified in the app.
Beta Testing and Localization
Crowdsourcing still has its place though. A large multiplayer game would benefit from having a bunch of users beta test its product to determine server load, and quirks in gameplay, and it would be easy to find enough qualified users to carry out that tests, but as the tasks become more complex you will start to find that the available talent pool to address those tasks become much more challenging. Localization is also another area where crowdsourcing can be beneficial. You have to use your best judgment and know your audience. Highly technical writing or localization of the app itself will require a higher degree of scrutiny. Crowdsourcing of localization of user generated content could be a boon though. It would be highly desirable to get local users to translate this type of content that is relatively low skilled. The more complex the app becomes the more detailed the testing instructions will have to be. Managing a large pool of works would also require more oversight. Verifying the results and making sure no duplicates are present can be difficult if the pool of testers is large, and you cannot quite rely just on the crowd vendors dedicated testing manager to ensure quality testing output.
Communicating your message to large group of people can also be challenging. Usually you deliver your application to a crowd sourced vendor, and it is up to them to determine how to best parcel out your testing tasks to their team of testers. You don’t have the back and forth communication if there are questions with the testing team. It is usually a one sided conversation. You have to hope that you have given them enough documentation and instructions that would allow them to test your product. This really creates a lot more up front work needed to get a project off the ground, for some testers that might be only around for one round of testing with your product.
Crowdsourcing does it have its place in the testing cycle, but there is always a need for a dedicated QA team to grow with your application. Expertise to grow along with your application will allow your team to be confident that your product is ready. There is also the peace of mind that your app will be released to the public when you are ready for it to be without any surprises.
Author: Tony Luu, Senior Project Lead
Tony Luu has more than eight years of experience in QA and Software Life Cycle Development. Tony is currently a Senior Project Lead at LogiGear Corporation, and has lead project development for several clients, most notably including Linkedin, Cisco and LeapFrog. Tony received a Bachelor of Applied Science in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Purdue University.