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With over 2.7 billion smartphone users across the world, it’s no surprise that the mobile app industry is thriving. App usage and smartphone penetration are still growing at a steady rate, without any signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.

If you want to compete and claim your share of this multi-billion dollar industry, you need to release a solid and secure mobile app without bottlenecking deployment. 

But how? 

The software development cycle is now measured in a matter of days –– not months. This trend is reflected in the mobile world, where releases are created and distributed faster than they’ve ever been. 

Testlio QA Insights Infographic with Data on Apple and Google Play App Store Update Frequency
So how do we embed the QA process in agile without incurring exponential costs?

Testing as a Service” – or managed services – delivers third party QA services with a fixed and predictable outcome. This simple concept provides an expected, shared outcome, and objective. Under a managed services engagement, the vendor is encouraged to use the best resources and most efficient team to solve a problem within the given parameters. 

There are strategies that can help, offering the rigorous testing coverage required to ensure software quality control while preventing release schedules becoming bogged down. One such example is networked testing, which combines human effort with high-frequency iterative tests.  As described in a previous article by Testlio CEO, Steve Semelsberger, networked testing is “impactful and economical for consumer apps as it can also be faster, easier, and less expensive than automated functional testing”. Networked testing builds on existing crowdtesting and outsourcing practices. As Semelsberger points out, a key concept of networked testing is that it uses large teams of experienced and on-demand testers when – and only when – they’re needed. This “burstable” approach allows companies to complete mobile app testing faster and more effectively. 

Enter burstable testing 

Manual testing has historically suffered from inefficiencies and poor quality results. The traditional crowdsourced testing approach, for example, often falls short by incentivizing testers with bug bounties. This leads to a high volume of low quality bugs and more time for your dev team to sift through bugs to determine which issues need fixes. Relying solely on in-house testers also comes with challenges. In-house teams can’t easily scale with surges in testing demand. Or, they may sit idle when things slow down. Networked testing addresses a need for agility, scale, and efficiencies without compromising on coverage or accuracy.

There are some prerequisites. Firstly, you need pre-vetted testers who know what they’re doing. And you need a lot of them, preferably distributed across a large geographic area, allowing you to have a pool of workers who are ready to work at a moment’s notice. Expert freelancers are useful here. With access to on-demand distributed teams of freelance QA experts, your agile QA can begin and conclude rapidly. This modern crowdsourced testing approach matches the needs of agile teams and provides a level of coverage that would otherwise require a large (and expensive) in-house team. 

The burstable testing approach sees tests defined in small chunks, which are then distributed to the assembled team members. This allows teams to fully complete a full cycle of tests in a comparatively short amount of time. For mobile app developers, it also allows a full suite of tests to be run on a variety of devices, allowing the identification of environment-specific problems. 

Those are the fundamentals, although there are other points worth mentioning: to ensure the expected standard of availability, testers should be well-compensated for their time and expertise. There’s a reason for that: burstable testing emphasizes the importance of having a deep understanding of the application in question, bolstered by knowledge-sharing and collaboration. For that to work effectively, you need to attract the best and most experienced testers AND ensure long-term retention of testing talent. 

The need for speed

For developers working to tight, iterative release cycles, the burstable approach offers several key advantages. 

The first is that of scale. As mentioned previously, this testing strategy emphasizes the importance of larger testing teams (often between ten and fifty people) and smaller individual tests. This allows more ground to be covered in a fraction of the usual time. 

Burstable testing is also inherently flexible, thanks to the use of freelance workers from across the globe, many of whom could be moonlighting from their usual day jobs. Consequently, tests can be performed in different time zones and during unsociable hours — evenings and weekends — when traditional in-house QA testers aren’t working.

That flexibility also helps considering the variable cadence with software releases. Some may be created and released in a matter of days, while others require greater effort and time. Traditional human-driven QA models could see in-house testers waiting without work at some times, and placed under extreme stress in others, as they’re forced to perform huge amounts of work in a crushingly short amount of time. 

Time, they say, is money, and the informality of burstable testing means you can deploy your testing resources as required, working to the cadence of your own release cycles. 

Advantages outweigh initial hurdles

Burstable testing isn’t without its own hurdles. To use it effectively, test plans might need to be refactored into more atomic elements, meaning smaller and isolated. For example, having multiple test accounts that can be distributed across multiple testers instead of one test account for all the testing. It also requires the acquisition of a large, on-call team. Identifying and recruiting that workforce, and vetting it to ensure they possess the core competencies to perform the job effectively. There’s also the challenge of coordinating dozens of testers in multiple time zones. 

But those initial teething pains are ultimately worth it. And, with the help of networked testing providers, the networked approach of burstable testing means you can accomplish a lot in a short amount of time, identifying potential flaws and bugs without clogging up your release schedule. Your testing can scale with your own ambitions, and you can deploy resources as-and-when required.  

Mobile app QA testing is a complex but vital stage of development. But designing the right test strategy, one that takes your business efforts to the next level, requires a more streamlined approach. Use networked testing techniques to enhance functional testing, usability testing, localization testing, exploratory testing, live stream testing, and more to stay ahead of the competition. Contact us today for a demo.

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