Tactics for Successfully Leading Offshore Testing

Test Leads and Test Managers very rarely make the decision to offshore. It is typically not a choice, but rather a mandate from company executives who look to offshoring for significant cost reduction. Among US leads and managers responsible for offshore teams, management and oversight of the offshore teams is now cited as their largest source of job stress.

Once the dictate is made to move your test effort offshore, what can you do to have it go as smoothly as possible? How can you minimize the headaches, late night phone calls, late or incorrectly executed tasks, and other hassles? What can you do to make offshoring work in the best way possible and reduce stress?

There are a number of things that you can do to maximize the productivity of your offshore testing team, get the most of the testing resources that are available in-house, and minimize your stress. In this article we will look at what can you control:

  • Tools, infrastructure, and processes to foster good communication
  • Training
  • What to test offshore vs. what to test in-house

As teams become more distributed, the need for formalized tools and processes becomes even greater. For testing teams, it is critical to have centralized repositories that are accessible to all team members at any time. This can include systems for:

  • Defect tracking
  • Test plans
  • Test cases
  • Test results
  • Requirements and/or specifications

This is most commonly accomplished by the use of web-based tools for document management, defect tracking, and test case management. Many teams are also finding blogs, wikis, project web pages, or internal portals essential for instant and easy communication.

One area that is often neglected for offshore teams is training. In order for your offshore testing teams to be effective, you must be sure that they have received adequate training in:

  • How to use the product under test
  • The business domain that the product serves
  • Software Testing and quality assurance fundamentals
  • Technical skills for setting up test environments, analyzing bugs, etc.

Ensuring that the team has adequate knowledge and training is often best achieved by sending one or more senior team members to work onsite with your offshore team. In addition to ensuring adequate training, this is the best way to establish rapport between your onshore and offshore teams. Communication via email, phone, IM, and video conference will never be as effective at establishing working relationships as face-to-face communication.

Training is typically not a one-time effort; with turnover rates high in most offshoring locations, project leads should be prepared to train new offshore team members on an ongoing basis.

Finally, with most testing teams consisting of a mix of onshore and offshore testers, an important consideration is what to test onshore vs. what to test offshore.

On the whole, offshore testers are more likely to have a programming or computer science background, and therefore can excel when given technical testing tasks. In particular, I’ve seen offshore teams succeed at:

  • Technical testing, particularly Test Automation
  • Low-level, API testing
  • Requirements-based testing, especially technical requirements
  • Functionality Testing
  • Regression Testing using existing, documented test cases
  • Performance/Load/Stress Testing

Onshore testing team members will generally have a stronger domain knowledge and more ‘tribal knowledge,’ gained through years of experience with your products. Onshore teams are best leveraged for:

  • Business requirements testing
  • User scenario/soap opera testing
  • Usability Testing
  • Exploratory/Ad Hoc Testing
  • Any testing tasks that need fast turnaround or interaction with onshore developers

Through appropriate tools, processes, training, and task assignment, you can ensure that your global testing team is working in an optimal way, and even increase the capability of your team through a diversity of talents and backgrounds.

Michael Hackett

Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006).
He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

Michael Hackett
Michael is a co-founder of LogiGear Corporation, and has over two decades of experience in software engineering in banking, securities, healthcare and consumer electronics. Michael is a Certified Scrum Master and has co-authored two books on software testing. Testing Applications on the Web: Test Planning for Mobile and Internet-Based Systems (Wiley, 2nd ed. 2003), and Global Software Test Automation (Happy About Publishing, 2006). He is a founding member of the Board of Advisors at the University of California Berkeley Extension and has taught for the Certificate in Software Quality Engineering and Management at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension. As a member of IEEE, his training courses have brought Silicon Valley testing expertise to over 16 countries. Michael holds a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University.

The Related Post

Vietnam draws thousands of foodies each year who are eager to explore the country’s large selection of fresh and simple food. The options are nearly endless, and it’s no exaggeration to say one would need to invest a few years in order to sample everything. Vietnamese cuisine in general has clear regional distinctions. Hanoi is ...
Using an outsourcing firm with technical know-how and sound processes adds value from the very beginning. Flexible outsourcing, in particular offshoring, can make the difference in achieving business goals within the boundaries of time and budget. Organizations rarely have a predictable, steady flow of work. Most test teams are under extreme pressure to get new products ...
Rain is a constant in Vietnam. While sometimes it may inconvenience us, it is one of the country’s most valuable natural resources. Rain is one of Vietnam’s defining characteristics. It floods the streets, feeds the fields, cleans the cities and provides a soothing soundtrack at night. Some days we curse it, some days we embrace ...
Jamie Tischart Director – Sews, Product Delivery McAfee, Inc. 9781 S. Meridian Blvd, Suite 400 Englewood, Co, USA, 80112 LogiGear: What do you think about the development of the software testing industry in Vietnam? Jamie Tischart: I am very excited about the continued growth and development of the software testing industry in Vietnam. The professionals ...
Whether you’re looking for a 5-star resort or a UNESCO World Heritage site,Vietnam’s 2025 mile coastline has something for everyone. Vietnam is a country with a plethora of natural beauty which manifests in many different ways. And with 2025 miles of coastline, the country’s beaches are perhaps the pinnacle of that beauty. The characteristics of these ...
In 2000, offshoring was not a new concept as many large companies had already been offshoring and outsourcing for over a decade. What did change, in the past 10 years was how many companies began outsourcing and how many development tasks were being distributed. It was not only Texas Instrument and Microsoft sized companies distributing ...
Description: This two-day course focuses on developing a strategic approach to distributed test project management, effective communication, bug-database management and metrics, resource evaluation, and successful test execution, as well as many of the “soft” skills needed to lead and manage offshore teams. Implementation and use of test management tools and documentation will also be covered. ...
Viet Nam is entering its economic ‘Golden Age.’ Will the final picture resemble Japan or Thailand?
Vietnam is a country of contrasts due to its geography. This makes the country unique as it offers travelers the ability to experience a multitude of landscapes. From the rice-cultivating tropical lowlands, to the rich-soiled, coffee-producing highlands, Vietnam offers a unique and varied travel experience. 22% of Vietnam’s 87 million people live in the Mekong ...
In part 1 of this article, we explored the first 5 of the top 10 risks, including: Offshore work can be difficult to measure or quantify, leading to lack of confidence in the offshore effort Lack of visibility into day-to-day work Lack of a competent lead/point-of-contact Lack of contingency plans for downtime Offshore teams lose ...
While Vietnamese coffee seems to garner the most attention, there’s another French import that is becoming increasingly popular worldwide – banh mi. Banh mi literally means “bread” though it is often extrapolated to include its sandwich form which is sold on seemingly every corner and in every alleyway in Vietnam’s cities. Bread was introduced by ...
Authors: Hung Q. Nguyen, Michael Hackett, Brent K. Whitlock Paperback: 164 pages Publisher: Happy About (August 1, 2006) Language: English Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches “Software is complex but I’m tired of finding bug after bug that a 5th grader would have turned in. Virtually every technical product these days includes a ...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news

Subscribe