The tech industry is grappling with the painful reality of widespread layoffs, including within QA teams. Typically, after a round of layoffs, companies spend some time readjusting. There’s a quiet period where projects, external partnerships, hiring, and specific initiatives are on hold. Then… boom. A rapid shift to outsourced, crowdsourced, and third-party coverage to cover the gaps left in QA staffing teams. The challenge of managing software testing capacity is a significant concern for software engineering leaders. Even when a company has the funds to hire in-house, constructing a software testing team during economic uncertainty can take time and effort. Moreover, locating skilled testing personnel, including QA and QE specialists, is a formidable task. When done well, a flexible crowdsourced QA testing model can allow you to scale your workforce up or down as needed, help you stay competitive, and adapt to changing market conditions.Flexible QA staffing helps create consistent coverage Weather the storm. Maintaining a stable and consistent level of QA coverage can be challenging, especially in the face of layoffs or other workforce disruptions. Especially if your QA department/budget has been culled, product quality can start diminishing nearly immediately. Bugs begin to creep in with a more significant lag in fix time. QA leaders must strive to balance the need for consistent coverage with managing resources effectively and maintaining cost-effectiveness.You’ll need to reinvigorate your software testing commitment, but building a software testing team during uncertain economic times, even with the budget to hire in-house, presents a challenge. The sourcing, hiring, and onboarding of full-time QA staff are expensive and time-consuming.A flexible freelance QA staffing model offered by a third-party software company may be your solution. Crowdsourced testing can be invaluable for companies that lack full-time QA staffing. The model is flexible enough to provide complete coverage when you need it, say when deploying a new feature, adding a new payment method, or expanding into a new foreign market. Then, your crowd can go dormant when you only need minimal maintenance QA and ramp up again whenever the need comes.Bring automation into crowdsourced QA testingUtilizing AI as part of a flexible staffing model can help you achieve even greater efficiency, speed, and accuracy in your QA processes. By incorporating automation into a flexible staffing model, you can better balance the strengths of human and machine labor, allowing you to quickly adapt to changing business needs and deliver high-quality products efficiently and cost-effectively. Automation tools can be used to automate repetitive manual tasks, such as regression testing and exploratory testing. This frees human QA folks to focus on more strategic testing tasks, like security testing, accessibility testing, and UX testing. Automation testing tools can also analyze large amounts of data in real-time, providing insights and recommendations for the QA team to make informed decisions.The third-party testing team provides core test automation functionality and can integrate with third-party tools to create, run, and analyze automated tests.Accelerate test runs. Initiate automated tests for mobile apps, mobile web, and web browsers.Leverage your existing tech stack. Utilize established partnerships with test automation leaders to provide test result signals to human experts. Enhance device coverage. Deploy automated tests on racked devices across multiple operating systems through AWS Device Farm.Analyze outcomes. Capture automated test results in detailed reports, screenshots, and videos to help you quickly take action on important issues.Maximize results. Seamlessly push automated run results to human testing experts who can investigate, reproduce issues, and quickly offer actionable insights to product and engineering teams. Economics of crowdsourced testingWith crowdsourced QA testing, you can scale your workforce up or down as needed, providing significant cost savings compared to traditional in-house staffing models. In other words, flexible staffing means an elastic budget.One of the key benefits here is the ability to pay only for the hours and staff you need without bearing the costs associated with recruiting, hiring, onboarding, training, and retaining full-time employees. This saves money and the time and resources that would otherwise be required to manage an in-house team. Crowdsourced testing eliminates the need to integrate new QA software and technologies, as your partner typically provides. This can help you stay up-to-date with technological advances without investing in expensive software or training. Finally, when it comes to highly-qualified QA staffing, outsourcing provides access to expert QA teams who can work with your development team to deliver high-quality software, eliminating the need for onboarding testers or maintaining thousands of device/OS combinations when new products roll out.Flexible QA staffing models have become a crucial innovation for tech companies facing layoffs and budget constraints. This model can reinvigorate your software testing commitment between elastic staffing that can expand and contract as needed, streamlined costs, access to highly experienced QA teams, and peak efficiency.