This blog post is not the typical run of the mill “please outsource to us” campaign. You are free to outsource your software testing work to any organization you want to.
As a part of developing our business, one of the segment we were targeting is product startups in India. We thought those are the ones who would instantly recognize the value of the kind of testing we do.
We gathered a list of 100 new product startups and wrote emails to them and followed up with call to at least half of them and about two or three reminders over emails to the rest.
Based on our interaction, we see a few patterns and this post is our inferences of those patterns and the advice we have to people wanting to or running a product startup. We are not Gartner or AC Neilsen, so our primary business focus is not to publish our findings but we thought it could be useful to someone wanting to be more educated in avoiding traps.
What kind of patterns do we see?
Based on who started the product startup, we see …
A developer or a group of them have started it
Someone with a cool idea and has hired developers to implement it
Based on what they think about software testing…
- Yeah, testing is important but we will probably do it in house with our developers
- Yeah, testing is important but we are not testing ready yet
- Yeah, testing is important but we cant afford to pay half of what we are paying for a developer
- Yeah, testing is important but hey things are going alright now, we will come to you when we see a need
- Yeah, testing is important but we don’t want to let our intellectual property out
Now, let us detail them out with our advice to each of those points
“Yeah, testing is important but we will probably do it in house with our developers”
We are not going to be stupid to say, “your developers cant test well”, maybe they can. You are doing a good job by asking your developers to test and we wish that a function written by a developer x is tested by developer y to avoid biases.
Good software testing is testing the product and the environment around it. The kind of tests most developers might be interested at doing are ones that verifies that their code works as designed. As the owner of the product, you need more information than “it works” to sell your product.
Here is an example from our past lives: We tested a bluetooth headphone which had options to Play, Pause, Fast Forward, Rewind, Stop, Connect, Disconnect, Get into Discovery Mode, Next, Back, Choose Channel on 2 buttons and the beauty is, was supposed to be used in a car. Every option worked but the test team helped in telling the management, “This works but users may find it difficult to remember how to use two buttons to perform so many tasks”. That product hasn’t been launched yet or at least we know, you haven’t bought them.
“Yeah, testing is important but we are not testing ready yet”
We are not going to be kind to you this time or the better option is, we help you rephrase that. What you might be saying is,
- Yeah, testing is important but I don’t have the budget to pay for testing, right now
- Yeah, testing is important but starting to test our product now could come in the way of our development plans
We’d like to draw a simple analogy to pregnancy for this. When a woman is pregnant, doctors scan for the baby’s growth, heart rate, blood cholesterol test, blood / urine sugar test and blood pressure test at the minimum at regular intervals of the pregnancy.
This helps the doctors learn about any potential defects in advance and start treatments to the baby inside so that it doesn’t have to suffer when it enters the world. If you consider your product is your baby and you say, “you are not testing ready yet” when the product is developing, you are a bad father or mother of the product.
“Yeah, testing is important but we cant afford to pay half of what we are paying for a developer”
We are a startup, too. We understand what budget constraints you may have but are you open to listening to business models that may work for you and us? Here when we say “us”, we mean, testing services organizations like ours.
If you have made a mistake of not budgeting for testing , realize that you would need it and then approach a company like ours, you would obviously feel the rates are too high. There are a couple of options for us, simply say “yes” to whatever you say and hire anyone who agrees for a cheap salary to work on your project or get real good people for the same price you pay for your developer.
An organization that we interacted to had a deal with us: We can’t afford that much but hey I can help you market your services by placing an ad in our website that is viewed by a few decision makers.
As you see from the above example, you could fit in things within your budget but what we see a lot of other organizations do is, “That’s expensive. Lets not do it”.
“Yeah, testing is important but hey things are going alright now, we will come to you when we see a need”
Good testers are not in the business of frightening people. We are not Life Insurance agents who start their conversation like, “Assume you meet with an accident today..”.
We are glad things are working for you. We would wish that things continue well with you. However, would it be wise to do one quick round of testing of your product and help you re-assure your confidence?
Would it be wise to just hire a testing services company to evaluate the claim of “all izz well”?
We want to leave you with those questions. Its for you to answer.
“Yeah, testing is important but we don’t want to let our intellectual property out”
So, you want to retain your intellectual property. An organization like ours, based on need accommodate requests to test a product within your premises. Now, we are sure that doesn’t solve your problem but the symptom of it.
You know your own employees have signed an NDA with you and how different are we going to be? Moreover, there is a strong reason you would have to hire an external testing services organization if you think you are developing something jazzy or crazy. To know, if it really is. Its a safe way to test your product on someone who hasn’t been a part of it. Its safe to test your product on people who pretend to be the users of it. Its safe for you to consider the idea that smilies/icon_smile.gifethics are alive and people are skilled in testing.
Based on our interaction with product startups competing against each other, we conjecture that if you do the same mistake your competitor does, you are keeping your competition alive. There’s a chance to kill it.
Write to us at email@example.com if you want to consider outsourcing to us or please google and find out other organizations like ours who can help you with your testing efforts. We are expanding our scouting to product startups outside India and we hope to see different patterns.