The importance of testing in software services is indisputable. However, to get an unbiased and honest end result most organizations outsource the task to independent software testing groups. Such groups comprise specialists who work in isolation from the development team and so can spot quality issues with great accuracy and efficiency. But outsourcing can guarantee you results only if you choose a competent team. This brings us to the moot question: how do you know whether your testing vendor is competent or not. A competent vendor can be judged by a few parameters, the most important of which is the questions they ask about your automation requirements.
Suggesting an automation solution is no easy task as it requires a thorough study of context of project, current state of project, release cycles, shelf life of application, business expectations, state of automation practice etc.
Given the exhaustive nature of the study, most vendors, especially those out to make quick money, are averse to carrying out such requirement study. Instead, proposing a “standard”, “gold plated” automation solution suits them more as it saves them time to take up more number of projects. On the contrary, vendors who ask questions are keen to probe the context so that they can deliver the results you are looking for.
What Type of Questions Will the Right Vendor Ask You?
Questions about your manual testing practice
When a testing vendor asks you questions about your manual testing practice, he wants to know about your approach to manual testing, and the tools and methodologies you use to carry out test cases. The objective is to get a holistic view of how you test a product, so that he can fine tune his approach to deliver the highest possible quality.
Your objectives of Automation and expectations
Testing automation is a challenging task and only an honest vendor knows what it takes to accomplish it. Sometimes, customers approach vendors with hard to fulfill demand. For instance, some people have the notion that an automation tool will achieve everything, from test planning to execution without any manual intervention, or that it will immediately reduce the test effort and test schedule. A good vendor would want to know your objectives to ascertain whether they are realistic and achievable. If he believes it’s a tall order, he would back out as he knows he would be setting himself up for failure.
Ask about your expectations on ROI
There is no such thing as ROI of testing and a good vendor will never assure you this. Testing is expensive and time consuming, and often the benefits cannot be understood or seen. The fact of the matter is testing costs and more testing costs more. And most importantly less testing often costs more than more testing!
Test Automation Maintenance of Scripts
A committed automation testing vendor will provide you a plan with maintenance in the forefront. They will mostly create scripts that require bare minimum maintenance in future. They will also include add plenty of meaningful documentation to your scripts so that you can update them without any hassles.
If your vendor is keen to talk to you about all these issues, you can blindly trust your automation tasks to him.