Outsourcing software testing with TOGA – Test Outsourcing Governance Approach
A growing amount of companies wants to outsource parts of their IT processes, including software testing, to external suppliers. The goal of outsourcing is to control and/or reduce the costs, to relieve the organisation and to focus on the core business. Nowadays, the testing process is also subjected to be outsourced, either partly or completely as one of the activities within the total development process. Outsourcing software testing in itself brings a number of additional risks to the organisation. The grip on the test activities is less while the quality requirements on the testing are invariably high. In many outsourcing projects agreed outsourcing goals and expectations are not accomplished.
Polteq is an independent consultant for test outsourcing, focusing on getting insight in the risks of outsourcing test services to third parties. Polteq developed an efficient Test Outsourcing Governance Approach (TOGA®), supported by a tool, to have at all time an up-to-date insight in the status of the outsourced testing services.
TOGA® has been applied successfully within multiple organisations including cases with offshore testing in countries with a low cost structure (like India).
The approach of TOGA® is compiled from a number of best practices in the following areas:
Process of outsourcing software testing
TOGA® clarifies in a few steps how outsourcing software testing can be prepared, planned and implemented:
- Definition of strategy. What is the reason behind outsourcing? What does one want to achieve with test outsourcing? What will be outsourced? Which test activities will be outsourced? What will not be outsourced? Is offshoring to India or China an option?
- Selection of supplier. Suppliers of testing services will be examined and selected with support of procurement experts. A limited number of potential suppliers will be requested to make a proposal.
- Creation of contract. How to procure testing services? TOGA® will explain the procurement on (the) basis of a SLA in the shape of a Generic Master Test Plan (GMTP).
- Implementation. Test activities will be transferred. There are many changes within the organisation, new roles may arise, as well as the managing and monitoring of the outsourced test.
Management and monitoring
TOGA® distinguishes two aspects of the management and control function:
- Management of outsourcing software testing. Managing test outsourcing is a firm management task because outsourced testing will only perform well when all stakeholders co-operate in a constructive manner.
Changes in requirements of demand in the organisation have to be anticipated.
- Monitoring outsourced testing. With this activity one takes care that no irresponsible risks will arise during and after the implementation of outsourcing software testing. By monitoring outsourced testing, quality assurance of the testing process can be achieved.
Monitoring is supported by a set of tools, the so called TOGA®-dashboard:
- Controls for qualitative monitoring.
- Metrics for qualitative monitoring.
- Health checks for audit purposes.
The TOGA®-dashboard is an integrated approach whereby (the) three tools used complement each other. All monitoring data will be recorded by a tool which provides a clear insight into the risks of the current project.