How distributed QA and networked testing enhance agile software development

Distributed QA teams might work from the office or from home, but one thing is certainthey’re not all in the same place. 

Relying upon remote, expert personnel, networked testing is similar to distributed QA in how it spreads testing across the globe and supports agile engineering.

In this post, we dive deeper into distributed QA and networked testing and how both work together to help organizations achieve faster time-to-market without sacrificing quality. 

A quick intro to distributed QA and networked testing

So, a distributed QA team could look like one QA manager in the office and several distributed freelancers. Or it could look like an inhouse QA team working from home with one quality vendor that provides localization and device testing. 

You might be somewhat familiar with distributed work already, but what about networked testing?

What is networked testing?

By nature, networked testers are distributed around the world. They collaborate in collectives and are empowered by software to help them coordinate testing efforts at scale.

Networked testing is applicable to many types of software testing (including but not limited to) functional, usability, location, localization, and even end-to-end.

QA managers usually engage with a group of networked testers at a critical point in the release cycle, often when the release is nearly ready to ship and both quality and speed of testing matter.

Benefits of networked testing over crowdsourced, outsourced and in-house testing

Top philosophies of distributed QA and networked testing

Building a distributed QA team, with workers able to work remotely as needed or as desired, is usually a worthwhile investment. You’re investing in the happiness and wellbeing of your team. 

However, this philosophy alone can’t boost your in-house team’s productivity enough to cover all of your testing needs. 

Networked testing is built on the philosophy that testing should not only happen in distributed locations but that it should be burstable so you can ramp up at any time. 

  • Expert testers 
  • Burstable teams
  • Distributed locations
  • Collaborative approaches
  • Real-broad devices
  • Co-managed runs
  • Traceable actions
Networked testing uses collective methods, tuned management, shared tasks, and short assignments to optimize testing efficiency, and effectiveness.

Meanwhile, crowd-sourced testing, which is also distributed, lacks expert testers who are compensated as professionals. This method also lacks collaboration and management.

When you utilize both a distributed team structure for your in-house team and networked testing for your additional resources, you’re able to experience expert testing with fair compensation and long-term retention. 

How distributed QA and networked testing align with remote engineering

Whether your engineering team is fully remote, partially remote, or occasionally remote, distributed QA and networked testing can support them. 

Distributed QA forces your internal team to build up strong online communication and collaboration, instead of relying on in-person communication. With on-and-off global lockdowns on the horizon for the foreseeable future, now more than ever, companies can’t rely on in-person or synchronous communication. 

Networked testing, in particular, can help remote engineers because these testers can be available when they’re working, or when they’re not. 

That brings us to improving agile software development. 

Enhancing agile software development

The last thing anyone wants is for testing to slow down engineering and release cycles. However, despite the best intentions, this still happens frequently. Organizations constantly feel the battle between quality and speed. Choose quality and the testing cycle takes weeks. Or choose speed, and you’ll ship bugs.

A distributed QA team is not enough to solve the quality versus speed conundrum. That’s because, even though distributed testers can test around the clock (during the workday in different time zones), you still have the issue of resources. You likely don’t employ enough testers in-house to cover all languages, cultures, and devices.

Networked testing helps align quality assurance initiatives with product and engineering teams.

In another example provided during the webinar, a leading media company makes excellent use of burstable testing. They ramp up from 2 to 60 testers as needed to cover live stream events and major functional updates. The company also uses networked testers in the right global metro areas so they can assure quality advertising in key markets. 

Utilization of remote technology and techniques

When your QA team is distributed, you’re forced to better utilize QA planning and assigning software, rather than to rely on meetings where decisions might go undocumented and internal agreement could last only as long as the meeting. 

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