If you are reading this, you have likely already identified a high-level need to scale or improve your current approach to testing without the mass hiring of in-house testers, or shifting left to make devs fully responsible for QA. Partnering with a software testing company is a great start, but what if a vendor offers multiple models? How can you define which software testing staffing model is right for you?

Like any business-critical investment, it is essential to start with outlining your priorities, requirements, and budget. Then dive into the multiple models. Here, we’re going to start with two major options, crowdsourcing vs. outsourcing and outline benefits and pitfalls of both to help you determine which software testing staffing model will work best for you.

Crowdsourced Testing: quick, effective, burstable

Crowdsourced testing is a great software testing staffing model when speed and cost efficiency are your main concerns. By using crowdsourced on-demand testing, you leverage elastic testing teams who can leap into action quickly, swarm test requirements, and then intentionally go dormant. You can ramp up testing when you need it (ie releasing a new product or feature, expanding into a new country) but not waste money paying for idle personnel. 

Burstable testing via a crowdsourced network has additional flexibility to test on nights and weekends, and with short notice. With the revolvability of your testing team, you can sub in devices/languages/locations easily. 

Start to consider crowdsourced testing if:

  • You have an internal QA team who needs more help.
  • You plan to develop a QA team and in-depth testing strategy in the near future.
  • You are releasing a feature and need specific tests that your team can’t cover.
  • You need episodic testing testing sporadically at key development moments.

Crowdsourced testing is a great solution to scale quickly and efficiently, especially with the right partner. But, like everything in life, crowdsourcing can come with its own concerns. With a crowdsourced testing team, some vendors may take a “whoever’s available” model and staff with underprepared, random testers from run to run. Other vendors (like Testlio!) leverage consistent testers run-to-run to maintain consistency and familiarity with your product. 

Similarly, crowdsourced testing is temporary by design, so if you want to build a continuos QA testing strategy in your CI/CD pipeline, or embrace automated testing, you’ll need to develop your QA strategy in the future. 

Outsourced Testing: robust, in-depth QA teams at your service

Outsourced testing is a software testing staffing model that uses a third-party testing team to improve their applications’ quality, reduce business overhead, and improve upon current testing processes. Outsourced testing offers dedicated full-time or part-time fully-managed teams that offer critical consistency among testers, test plans, and quality. Especially when continuous testing is a part of your CI/CD pipeline goals, having a dedicated, outsourced team onboard can provide resources (ie. automation and manual) to help move you closer to continuos quality. 

At Testlio, outsourced roles include manual testers, automated testing developers/operators, test coordinators, and testing managers. Whether you use part-time teams working four hours a day or dedicated full-time teams aligned to your time zone, teams can work on-site, in-country, out-of-country in your time zone, or in the most economically advantageous locations – your choice.

Vinovest brought in Testlio as a full-service QA partner with expert testers across the globe. Read the case study here.

Outsourced testing is an excellent option if: 

  • you need a consistent, knowledgeable QA team to cover many locations/devices.
  • you don’t have a big enough (or any) internal QA team. 
  • You want to prioritize continuous testing. 
  • You need testers with time to devote to mastering your product, culture, rituals, systems, and ways of working.
  • You want to develop an automated strategy with dedicated partnerships to help.

Outsourcing QA testing has its own set of pitfalls, including a lack of internal control over the process and outcome. Historically, outsourcing offered cheap testing by outsourcing jobs overseas or in countries where the cost of living is significantly lower. However, many traditional outsourcing initiatives fail due to time zone, communication, culture, and talent issues. To bypass these issues, find a software testing partner that wields a large testing pool to cultivate your QA strategy with dedicated resources, highly vetted testers, and a great test lead/manager. 

In truth, many companies need a modicum of consistency and at least some continuous testing, as well as the ability to ramp up and burst test new features and rollouts. Testlio can maximize impact by combining on-demand (crowdsourced) and dedicated (outsourced) resources across all our solution areas (QA, QE, and DX). This hybrid approach allows a whole new way of going about testing, letting you leverage crowdsourced testing teams for episodic testing like localization, language, feature, or usability tests alongside outsourced continuous testing teams taking advantage of quality engineering and fused testing concepts.

Kassidy Kelley serves as the Managing Editor for Testlio and works from her home base in Boston, MA.