3 Best Practices to Reduce QA Costs

3 Best Practices to Reduce QA Costs

Software quality is a priority and prerequisite for the successful operation of any business, and the primary method of achieving it is to ensure quality assurance (QA). If you don’t have enough in-house quality assurance engineers, you can consider outsourcing QA specialists.

In recent years, IT outsourcing has grown significantly. According to Research and Markets, the US software QA market has reached $11 billion in 2023 and will nearly double by 2030. Companies choose to entrust software testing to third parties due to several reasons, including:

  • The absence of in-house QA specialists or their insufficient number
  • Gaps in the necessary tech competence or skills
  • Missed deadlines
  • Costs reduction

So is QA outsourcing a viable solution for reducing testing costs, or are there other ways to do so? Let’s find out.

Reducing software testing cost: 3 effective approaches

Fortunately, reducing investment costs in QA is possible. I suggest considering three approaches that can help you minimize testing costs without jeopardizing software quality.

Approach #1 — Turning to QA outsourcing

Predictably, reducing testing costs is a popular reason for QA outsourcing. However, by prioritizing the lowest price, you can encounter various risks. For instance, insufficient management capabilities or cybersecurity issues. To avoid such situations, you should:

  • Carefully analyze QA vendor’s expertise and capabilities, including feedback from their clients
  • Discuss and confirm the details of your cooperation with the vendor
  • Interact closely with an in-house product owner to be abreast of the nuances of the product vision
  • Implement effective project management solutions
  • Establish an ongoing reporting practice
  • Sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with the testing company and staff to prevent leakage of sensitive information of any type (customer, financial, marketing, operating data, intellectual property, etc.)
  • Assess QA provider’s security practices and continuously perform cybersecurity tests to promptly spot and mitigate any security weaknesses.

Choosing a partner based on those steps helps you maintain software quality and lower testing costs. Professional QA agencies ensure cost reduction by setting off at early project stages. They start detecting bugs from the get-go of the development cycle. Doing this helps avoid costly rework and related delays.

Additionally, such teams are well-versed in software security. They have strong security practices ensuring the project is fully protected against cybersecurity threats. For example, the average cost of a data breach in the US was $9.44m in 2022, according to the IBM Cost of Data Breach Report. Hence, by cooperating with QA professionals, you increase the ability to provide quality service and reduce additional payments, which can be exorbitant.

Approach #2 — Adopting test automation

This approach can also lower costs and improve QA efficiency. Thus, one of the leading US-based manufacturers of home appliances turned to a1qa software testing company to assure the quality of its migration to SAP Hybris Commerce Platform by using test automation best practices. As a result, test automation helped to save 50 business days of the manual testing team of 4 people and cut the time required for smoke testing by 90%.

Automated testing can streamline tedious repeatable tests, such as regression or smoke ones. They also work for testing the system performance (stress and load testing). Running test automation makes it easier to detect bugs and identify existing unstable code faster. As developers compile the code, a test suite automatically checks it for bugs. It creates a short feedback loop allowing the project team to detect and fix the issues promptly.

Test automation provides three essential benefits:

  1. Improved productivity. Helping development teams minimize testing time and focus more on critical activities.
  2. Enhanced reliability. Minimizing human factor effects, such as lack of attention and incorrect test creation.
  3. Extensive test coverage. Expanding the number of tests and their depth faster.

However, not every testing type can be automated. For example, exploratory testing and UX testing should remain manual.

Approach #3 — Focusing on kaizen for QA

Kaizen is a Japanese philosophy and methodology for reaching continuous improvements with the help of waste elimination. This approach distinguishes eight types of waste that can be found in any business:

  1. Transport: unnecessary movement of products and materials
  2. Inventory: needless storage
  3. Motion: excessive people movement
  4. Waiting: prolonged idle periods
  5. Overproduction: producing more products than customers demand
  6. Overprocessing: unrequired use of time and advanced skills on some tasks
  7. Defects: product’s failure to meet customers’ expectations
  8. Skills: entrusting tasks to QA engineers with poor training

The primary waste hampering work efficiency in the QA sector is overprocessing or excessive software testing.

Overprocessing waste

In QA, the overprocessing waste splits into two subtypes that can negatively affect project quality. They are:

1. Excessive testing

This waste in QA stems from the idea that a project should be completely free of bugs and that QA should guarantee its soundness once and for good. However, QA is a continuous process. The main QA aim is to confirm that software quality is acceptable to make it work according to the customers’ needs. To ensure a high quality level, you should eliminate critical and major bugs that affect the system work and the user experience. However, you can skip some minor issues when extremely pressed for time and effort. Test prioritization helps achieve this quality level and lower QA costs.

To prioritize tests, you should break the available software functions into two groups:

  • Features to test. QA engineers assign priorities to the application areas and address critical functionality. The test run includes both functional and non-functional project specifications.
  • Features to skip. At each iteration, some functional and non-functional features can be omitted due to their low significance for the customer or the lack of time and resources on the team’s side. Such functions can and must be tested later.

2. Bugs generated through bug-fixing

The waste describes situations when QA experts detect new bugs resulting from the successful fixing of other bugs. The team reduces the number of such defects by adopting a specific QA approach called holistic QA. The key idea is that QA should start early in the development cycle, preferably during requirements gathering. Holistic QA covers the whole project scope and presupposes seamless communication among team members. It helps define the acceptable quality and focuses on major issues, reducing time spent and the cost associated with minor bugs.

Summing up

Ensuring high software quality requires time and hefty investments. Fortunately, with a suitable approach, lowering testing costs is possible.

This is achievable with a reputable provider to make it work. We’ve described three strategies for reducing testing costs, but a testing agency can extend the offer and help you choose a cost-reduction approach that suits your business needs best.

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