The sharing economy is disrupting major industries in every vertical, and Software testing is not one to remain unaffected. The rush to find better and newer means of performing software testing has led to a strong demand for crowdsourced testing services across the globe.
According to Gartner research, by 2018 crowdsourcing will constitute 20% of all enterprise application developments sourcing initiatives.
Crowd testing provides an opportunity for developing crowdsourced platforms to test apps in real-world conditions. Crowd testing is also leading to better professional testing – and this paper aims to find out how.
The Need for Crowd Collaboration
In today’s age of Customer and technological disruption, 3 C’s have become business critical – Crowd, Cloud, and Collaboration.
A lot of organizations that are reaching out to the ‘Crowd’are usually startups or nonprofit organizations. ‘Crowd’in this case is a reference to a group of professionals. Based on an organizations’ needs (- let us specifically consider testing needs), these globally located professionals are shortlisted and selected based on their experience in performing specific types of testing using specific devices, and several other parameters. Organizations reaching out to crowds for generating newer and disruptive ideas that are leading to a lot of innovation.
Cloud computing enables online presence and availability of applications, files, information, pictures, and a control over a host of other devices24x7.
Collaboration today refers to the real-time interaction between people (professionals) and devices (that may be accessed over the Cloud) and leads to saving of a lot of time and effort – apart from the obvious development of a quality product.
“More heads are better than one”.
When there is a group (crowd) of skilled professionals that share ideas and skills and collaborate to develop and test a product, the end result is bound to be a quality product. An obvious case in point is the Wikipedia which is the result of information collaboratively created by writers and editors across the globe.
Crowd Sourcing refers to an organization utilizing the services of a group of professionals who are not a part of its workforce and might even be working at different locations across the globe. Crowd Development and Crowd Testing thus are meant to the development and launch of a great product.
‘Crowd Sourcing’ vs ‘Outsourcing’
Before we move further, there’s a need to understand the difference between ‘Crowd Sourcing’ and ‘Outsourcing’. Let us use the example of testing as an activity to understand the distinction between Crowdsourced testing and outsource testing QA.
While in case of Crowd Testing, the world is the office as the testers may be located at any place, ready to test your product 24×7, in case of an outsourced work environment, the team needs to be located at a single location, and also adhere to a daily routine of office hours. As is obvious, the Crowd Testing team enjoys a far more flexible routine – both for themselves, and the organizations, while in case of outsourcing, organizations require having a fixed staffing model. In addition, while there are fixed costs in case of an outsourced model, the crowd testing model has the luxury of no overhead costs.
What is Crowd Testing?
Let us now try to understand what really is Crowd Testing.
In its most basic form, Crowd, or crowdsource-testing can be defined as a platform used by organizations to connect with testers located across the globe for testing their products.
Although an in-house team can perform a thorough internal QA check and also resolve a lot of issues – these teams may always be biased and miss out a few critical errors – which a crowd testing team may find, in addition to providing a critical view for testing an app in real-world conditions.
Crowdsourced Testing, in essence, utilizes the skills of professional, real-world users and testers, who perform software testing in real-world conditions. Crowdsourced Testing has thus gained a lot of due importance as it provides critical feedback and insight about a product’s quality as also find bugs/defects early on in the software testing lifecycle that improves the RoI and go-to-market speed of the organizations.
Crowd Sourced testers are a crowd of professional testers who can test a diverse range of applications. These testers may include esters across multiple disciplines and levels as required, based on the analysis of their performance in providing feedback on the various aspects of product development.
How Does Crowd Testing Help in Professional Testing?
Usually, the crowdsourcing software testing platforms are connected to a huge network of professional testers spread globally. These groups are specified based on the skills, preferred geographies, and the experience with devices that emulate real-world use.
Professional testers, when they join the bandwagon of crowd testing usually as freelancers, they get exposed to a chance of working on real-time projects and are required to provide solutions to complex challenges. They not only get exposed to collaborative and disruptive technologies using the Cloud but are also required to provide critical feedback on how the user experience may be for a product. They also end up learning about how multiple browsers and operating systems work and interact with each other which helps improve the robustness and quality of the final product.
In essence, these professional testers who choose to become a part of the crowd testing group gain a lot more experience in real-world scenarios which can then be utilized in their regular jobs – thus improving the quality of professional testing.
Following is a list of reasons why major organizations encourage professional crowd testing:
- Availability of Testing Experts: Organizations usually face a dearth of professional testers. Dipping into the extensive pool of professional crowd testers helps them utilize services of talented testers for specific domains, thereby improving and simplifying their testing efforts.
- Align testing efforts with development process: Investing in Crowd testing provides organizations the flexibility make use of an extensive coverage of tools and technologies that helps them upscale their professional testing efforts, along with easing up the process of implementing better testing strategies. The in-house testers may also be provided timely inputs for catering to an applications critical issues.
- Cost Savings: This is perhaps one of the most lucrative benefits that crowd testing provides. While organizations do not need to invest in full-time teams, configuring emulators and the high costs of investing in device farms, or even spend time in the hiring process, they still are able to use an extensive pool of experienced professional testers from across the globe. The ex-director of Google, James Whittaker said in an interview that crowd testing enabled them to save around 10%-25% of their testing budget while delivering great results. Crowd Testing lowers the cost of finding and fixing critical bugs before it reaches the customers. You can save about 5x to 10x on testing using crowdsourced platforms compared to in-house testing.
- Exposure to robust Usability Testing: Usability testing of products is a major concern of organizations. Crowd testers act as professional testers who provide an additional third-eye view of products and by collaborating with the in-house developers, help develop easy-to-use, quality products.
- Flexibility: Crowd Testing helps organizations manage multiple projects and also provide thorough professional testing for apps that need to be launched quickly.
- Get unbiased inputs: Crowd testing being a third-party activity, it helps in an unbiased testing of the product – which the in-house developers and professional testers might not be able to do due to their familiarity with the product.
- Opportunity to Improve Capabilities: Crowd testing helps align testing efforts with their development plan. Using crowdsourced platforms, it becomes possible for organizations to get quicker testing insights across multiple test environments. This enables development teams to improve the capabilities of the app. With real insights from real users, you can improve the features of your product with every build.
- Reduces Frequency of Software Failures: The way an app works in a lab is very different from the way it works in the real world. Crowd Testing provides in-depth details of how an application will be able to perform in the real world. Using inputs from crowd testing, organizations can stay focused on fixing critical issues. This reduces the risk of software failures in real-world conditions.
- Reduces Time-To-Market: Crowd testing improves the internal efficiency of development teams by reducing the time to market. It works well with agile teams and helps in the delivery of testing insights faster than traditional testing methods. Organizations, therefore, with shorter release cycles, enjoy the benefits of better product quality at lower costs.
- Strengthen Practices of Internal QA: With crowd testing, organizations are able to ensure proper quality with the help of their internal QA teams. You can find all the critical bugs before your product reaches your customers. To optimize results, companies that develop user-centric apps must keep aside almost 20%-30% of their testing budget for crowd testing.
- Test Coverage: Crowd testing gives you complete coverage across geographies and configurations without any major investments. Further by testing on real devices/ machines and browsers development team can get insights on real-world usage of the application which cannot be replicated in a lab-based testing environment.
- Scalability: The premise of crowd testing being scalability, crowd testing provides the flexibility to overcome situations such as time-bound product releases, upgrades, or modifications of product feature to beat the competition. Professional testers from the across the globe may be contacted on demand at any time that increases the capability of faster builds and quicker releases of products in the market.
- Speed: A great benefit of working with professional testers is that they can run multiple test cycles simultaneously. This helps in getting testing insights faster and also helps reduce the time-to-market. As a large number of people are involved in the exercise, this leads to a diverse availability of resources, whose skills can be utilized based on their strong points. This leads to a faster execution of tasks and a quality product.
- Testing in The Real World: If you have thought about how will real users use and react to your app, you must also have had crowd testing in your mind. Crowd testing helps organizations to focus on testing efforts using the skills of testers who understand the demographics of your users and thus can match their interests. This, in turn, helps to understand which features of your application need to be improved so as to achieve the trust of the users. In essence, you must use crowd testing for performing usability, functional & exploratory testing.
With the above-discussed points, it becomes obvious that crowd testing is a means to provide the best possible professional testing that leads to customers delight and the success of your product and the organizations.
A global network of expert crowdsourced testers ensures that your digital platform works on every major device and is capable of delivering 90 days of functional web testing in just 72 hours. This helps protect the brand image and improve the conversion revenue and the customers’ digital experience.
Testing applications based on user’s perspective, and utilizing services of professional testers in real-world conditions is a very effective means of analyzing configuration and UI based defects, and thus a great way to build successful software. We can thus safely conclude that Crowdsourced Testing is the most cost-effective, fast, and reliable way to determine a product’s quality, making it bug-free.
However, to reaffirm, CT is not a replacement of traditional test methods, but rather provides an additional means to test the software before production release