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Outsourcing in testing industry: QA companies versus freelancers

Nowadays outsourcing in testing industry has become a tendency and it gets more popular due to a great number of freelance testers. Still, what advantages have software testing companies over the freelance testers? And is it beneficial to cooperate with freelancers?

The main factors that cause outsourcing:

  • Lack of infrastructure;
  • Poor in-house team testing knowledge and experience;
  • Few testing specialists in staff;
  • Cost cutting.

Outsourcing of testing services to QA companies provides certain benefits; among those:

  • Risk mitigation. Applying to a software testing company customers sign a contract, discuss the requirements, deadlines, responsibilities and budget frames. The approach allows avoiding losses and provides risk mitigating solutions.
  • Financial guarantees. When signing a contract companies state the penalties for both sides in case of agreement violation. As a result, both are interested in agreement compliance. Depending upon the project type the contract can include some additional financial guarantees like compensation of lost profits, free task performance in case of low quality, etc.
  • Competitive selection. Looking for a freelancer is usually held on specialized web sites where included ratings, reviews, online quests, everything to choose the one you need; while looking for a QA vendor is a completely different procedure. First of all, the proposal is put out to tender. Considering various QA companies you get the company rates and the projects` schedule, which gives client an opportunity of choosing an appropriate company and project analysis before the start.
  • Experience. The QA companies have extended testing experience, you can check it looking through the company ratings, client`s testimonials, case studies all these is quite valuable information for making a choice.
  • Qualification. Often they say that it is more beneficial to hire freelancers as the client has a chance to talk to them personally and see the resume. Still, the practice is widely applied in QA outsourcing companies. If a client wants to talk to team members or choose the team basing on their CVs, qualification and work experience, no one would say “NO” as it is OK.
  • Dedicated team. Development of complex systems that include a number of solutions, integrations, large scope of tasks and performance of different test demands for a well-coordinated dedicated team, which freelancers cannot provide, at least because they work remotely in different cities or even countries. Avoiding the risks in such cases companies prefer cooperating with QA outsourcing companies that offer dedicated team and testing services on a high professional level. This scheme is often applied Telecom companies.

Still, hiring a freelancer also makes sense:

  1. Cooperation with freelancers is beneficial for small companies: it saves costs.
  2. When the project is small and not complicated, there is no need in big project team. In fact, startups are the projects that are often outsourced to freelancers.
  3. Often tasks that are non-typical for the main business activity are outsourced to freelancers. Though, it actually depends on task complexity, solution scope and team`s size.
  4. The way of hiring freelancers and company`s staff is different. Hiring a freelancer gives more opportunities for search and they need less time for adaptation.
  5. When the testing service is needed on one/two projects stages or from time to time, it is more reasonable to hire a freelancer than a QA vendor.

Apart, from these all there is a peculiarity of cooperation with governmental companies. Usually, governmental projects demand for standards and development of specific documentation. Budget of these projects is fixed, which means the contract terms should be strictly followed.

One of the most important parts of these projects is verification product quality criteria. Freelancers cannot perform that. Thus the companies put the contract out to tender to find qualified software testing companies that can provide high quality of product in fixed timeframes and budget.

On the whole, when choosing between a QA company and freelancers, you should understand what kind of team you need. The bigger the team the more reasons to cooperate with a QA company. Hiring freelancers is more beneficial for small IT companies, which allows them to cut costs and increase competition with big companies (100-1000 employees) on the market.

Still, large IT companies prefer cooperating with independent software testing companies on long-term conditions to launch ambitious projects.

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