Offshore Software Testing Best Practices: How To Ensure Quality Assurance

Technology 6 Mins Read Pijus Maity 03 Nov 2023

Software testing is a crucial discipline that ensures delivered applications meet quality standards. With globalization, offshore software testing services have become commonly used to take advantage of cost savings and skilled talent pools internationally.

However, offshoring testing has unique challenges like geographic distance, cultural gaps, communication issues, and knowledge transfer overhead.

This comprehensive guide covers actionable strategies and best practices to implement robust offshore testing capabilities while avoiding common pitfalls.

By establishing clear processes, choosing the right partners, optimizing collaboration, and leveraging automation, organizations can build high-velocity offshore testing teams that enable faster release of bug-free, reliable software.

Defining Clear Goals and Metrics

The first step is aligning all stakeholders, including client product teams, onshore managers, and offshore testers on tangible objectives and success metrics. Quantifiable goals related to:

  • Software quality – Defect reduction rates, improved stability metrics, reducing the severity of production issues.
  • Testing velocity – Test case throughput, test coverage, and environment availability.
  • Cost efficiency – Optimized testing budgets improved testing costs and business impact ratios.

Having clearly defined goals provides transparency on what success looks like for the engagement. It also helps track progress through measurable KPIs.

Setting expectations upfront ensures alignment and provides objective standards for evaluating the arrangement.

Choosing the Right Offshore Testing Partner

Partner selection involves evaluating technical and soft skills across criteria like:

  • Testing competencies – Experience in technologies, domains, and testing types relevant to the work.
  • Soft skills – Communication, collaboration, accountability, cultural fit.
  • Resources – Test lab infrastructure, tools, and processes.
  • Quality focus – Proven processes, best practices, standards certifications.
  • Cost structure – Pricing models, flexibility, and scalability to meet dynamic needs.

Site visits, reference calls, and profiling key team members are essential. Testing out partners on small projects first allows validating capabilities before larger commitments.

Continuous evaluations after onboarding based on outcomes help ensure sustained compatibility.

Optimizing Collaboration Models

Engaging with offshore development center requires carefully structuring team interactions to enable seamless collaboration:

  • Communication rhythms – Establish meetings, standups, reports, and other touchpoints for continuous coordination. Manage time zone overlaps.
  • Documentation – Ensure extensive documentation on requirements, processes, design, and defects. Maintain knowledge repositories.
  • Collaboration tools – Use tools like Jira, Trello, and Slack for issue tracking, collaboration, and team conversations.
  • Visits – Schedule periodic onsite visits between teams to strengthen relationships and knowledge sharing.
  • Oversight model – Appoint coordinators on each side to bridge onshore-offshore teams and provide guidance.
  • Cultural training – Conduct orientation for onshore teams on working effectively with offshore partners.

Proactive relationship management and structured coordination minimize inefficiencies and keep all players aligned.

Optimizing Test Planning

The carefully planned testing strategy ensures the right areas get maximum coverage:

  • Risk analysis – Prioritize testing resources for high-risk areas.
  • Requirements mapping – Link test cases to corresponding requirements.
  • Types of testing – Combine unit, integration, system, UAT, performance, and security testing.
  • Environments – Simulate production environments with sufficient test data.
  • Automation – Identify automation opportunities early for regression testing.
  • Reviews – Involve onshore teams in reviewing test plans to catch gaps.

Getting testing planning right avoids playing “whack-a-mole” and delivers comprehensive coverage.

Establishing Clear Processes

Consistent processes are crucial for smooth issue tracking, monitoring progress, and knowledge sharing:

  • Reporting – Daily/weekly status reports on test executions, defects, and risks.
  • Issue tracking – Shared bug tracking across teams with defined workflows.
  • Code quality – Static analysis, linting, and code reviews integrated into processes.
  • Reviews – Peer reviews of test cases, automation scripts, and reports regularly.
  • Retrospectives – Sprint-wise retrospectives to improve processes continuously.

Transparent processes give managers visibility and provide objective data to analyze and optimize engagement.

Optimizing Test Design

Well-designed test cases are essential for maximizing coverage of critical scenarios:

  • Requirements-based – Derive test cases directly from specifications and requirements.
  • Structure – Standard sections covering inputs, steps, and expected results.
  • Traceability – Cross-reference tests to corresponding requirements.
  • Guidelines – Establish standards for priorities, scope, formats, and reviews.
  • Automation-friendly – Modular design with hooks and metadata to enable automation.
  • Reviews – Check for completeness, accuracy, and invalid test cases.

High-quality test design minimizes redundant or missing scenarios and provides automation-ready assets.

Leveraging Test Automation

Intelligently applied test automation amplifies testing velocity and efficiency:

  • ROI-driven – Automate repetitive and regression-prone areas first.
  • Framework – Utilize robust automation frameworks like Selenium, Appium, and Cypress.
  • Layered – Combine API, unit, UI, and end-to-end automation for complete coverage.
  • Code quality – Establish code review standards for automation code.
  • Maintenance – Factor in ongoing scripts, locators, and test data maintenance.
  • Reporting – Integrate automation runs with dashboards, reporting, and analytics.

Automation multiplies productivity while increasing coverage. When applied selectively, it provides optimal outcomes.

Managing Test Environments

Realistic and stable test environments are essential for representative testing:

  • Simulating production – Clone production configurations like OS, servers, and databases.
  • Segregation – Separate environments for development, staging, and performance testing.
  • Access control – Provide testers with appropriate environment access without compromising security.
  • Virtualization – Leverage cloud infrastructure to spin up parallel test environments on demand.
  • Test data – Mask or generate realistic dummy test data, maintaining data volume formats.
  • Validations – Include environment readiness validations in test case prerequisites.

Well-managed test environments prevent false positives and ensure findings accurately reflect real usage.

Incorporating Security Testing

Security testing is a critical discipline warranting specialized focus:

  • Standards – Align with security testing methodologies like OWASP guidelines.
  • Scanning – Conduct SAST DAST scans to discover vulnerabilities.
  • Attack simulation – Perform controlled attacks like SQLi, XSS, and MitM attacks.
  • Expertise – Maintain dedicated security testing skillset and training.
  • Tools expertise – Master tools like Burp Suite, Metasploit, and Kali Linux.
  • Privacy – Ensure no production data leaks into security test environments.

Comprehensive security validation is essential for confidently deploying secure applications.

Optimizing Defect Management

Smooth defect management workflow minimizes cycle times between defect discovery and resolution:

  • Tracking system – Unified system for capturing, assigning, and tracking defects.
  • Standards – Establish conventions for severity, priority, and reproducible steps.
  • Root cause analysis – Identify root causes through debugging logs inspection.
  • Reproducibility – Add debug hooks to aid in reproducing reported defects.
  • Resolution SLAs – Drive urgency by enforcing resolution SLAs based on priority.
  • Retesting – Close the loop by retesting fixes before closing defects.
  • Metrics – Track defect aging, leakage, and densities to improve processes.

Efficient defect management dramatically improves application stability over time.

Inculcating Quality Culture

Testing success requires instilling a quality-focused culture across teams:

  • Ownership – Foster end-to-end ownership of quality rather than tossing over-the-wall attitudes.
  • Collaboration – Encourage collaborative relationships between developers, testers, and stakeholders.
  • Training – Support continuous skills development on the latest tools, tech, and testing trends.
  • Incentives – Include quality metrics in performance management to motivate excellence.
  • Communication – Drive clarity, transparency, and healthy debate around quality.
  • Recognition – Recognize teams and individuals demonstrating quality leadership.

A shared culture of quality responsibility results in motivated, empowered teams.

Monitoring KPIs Continuously

Key metrics and dashboards provide objective visibility into progress:

  • Requirements coverage – # requirements tested / total requirements
  • Test case execution – # tests run / total test cases
  • Defect densities – Defects per KLOC
  • Defect leakages – Defects reported post-release
  • Automation coverage – # automated tests / total tests
  • Lead time – Time from code commit to production
  • Mean time to repair – Average time taken to resolve defects

Tracking metrics need to be more accurate to avoid inefficiencies early before they compound into problems.

Final Words

When you hire remote developers for offshore testing engagements, you may encounter unique challenges that require concerted efforts to overcome.

Organizations can build high-performance distributed testing teams by defining clear goals, choosing partners wisely, optimizing collaboration models and processes, and instilling a quality-driven culture.

Leveraging test automation, security testing, and robust tooling maximizes efficiency further. With continuous monitoring and improvements guided by metrics, offshore testing enables tapping into global talent to deliver higher-quality software faster. Pro 

The best practices outlined in this guide will equip teams with actionable strategies for implementing offshore testing capabilities that minimize risks and accelerate outcomes.

Adopting these industry-validated approaches will help extract the full benefits of distributed testing for the business.

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