Remote testing as a service
By Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology Solutions
Remote testing is not new. It has evolved out of the need to have access to experienced software testers in a market where the skills are scarce, and the demand is high. Remote testing as-a-Service (RTaaS) is the same, only it adds in a little extra flavour that benefits organisations struggling with testing and DevOps in the current environment. According to Mandla Mbonambi, CEO of Africonology Solutions, RTaaS is the extra string in the business bow as lockdowns and social limitations become part of the long-term strategy.
“RTaaS is not something that can be done with an inexperienced team or company,” he cautions. “Any remote testing service must use experienced testers that have an in-depth understanding of the role, the limitations, and the risks. Only then can they provide the kind of support that your company needs and can rely on.”
There is a good reason for this. RTaaS adds its flavour in that it can be scaled up or down on demand. Companies can dial into the skills they need, when they need them, without having to invest in costly manpower or worry about managing remote teams. Those problems are left entirely to the service provider. This is why they must have a solid reputation and complete commitment to quality.
“Quality results and quality testing are not only about the calibre of the tester, but also about understanding the testing process,” says Mbonambi. “Remote testing requires absolute clarity around what the client needs, the expected results, and the overall experience. An experienced RTaaS service provider will have a quality assurance (QA) system in place, or leader, who will ensure that everything is handled, that information is accessible, and that both client and tester get what they need to make the process as smooth as possible.”
Solid QA experience is critical for the long-term success of any RTaaS relationship. It is what fills the potholes along the journey and ensures that there is accountability, accessibility, and clear communication. This transparency and commitment to QA is what sets aside a good partner from a great one.
“Another essential factor that has to be considered before starting to work with a RTaaS partner is their willingness to explore new ways of collaborating and working,” says Mbonambi. “Video testing, for example, or working collaboratively across multiple platforms – these are all becoming tools in the arsenal of a solid testing team. This allows for a deeper understanding of customer and their perspectives when working with the products or throughout the testing process.”
This ties in with the ability to be good communicators. Surely testers locked in basements may sound stereotypically cool, but they are unlikely to get your business the kind of results it wants from its investment into RTaaS. Transparency, as mentioned earlier, is key. This can be easily built into the RTaaS process using different workflow tools and systems. RTaaS service providers must have testing teams that are comfortable working with multiple platforms and solutions, or that are willing to learn new systems so they can fit in with what your business uses.
“In addition to being capable of working with leading platforms and services, your RTaaS team has to actually use them,” says Mbonambi. “When your testing team is offsite, they cannot see the day to day, they aren’t part of the daily workflow, so there must be regular check-ins and constant communication throughout the process. It is important to create scheduled times for catching up on tasks, refining testing schedules and updating the project status. This keeps everyone on track and will help minimise any concerns that you, the client, may have.”
It is important to communicate not only to ensure that deliverables are met, and concerns addressed but also to build a long-term relationship with your RTaaS service provider. This goes a long way towards minimising stress and improving the quality of the experience over time. It is also something that will help smooth over any troubles that may arise along the way and allow you to explore different avenues with testing and DevOps that you may not have thought of before.
“It all boils down to trust,” concludes Mbonambi. “Trust allows you to work more openly with your RTaaS service provider and to get excellent results. This trust can only be built with a company that understands your requirements, that is transparent, that offers you expertise across testing, QA, and communication, and has a good reputation in the market. Tick these boxes and you’re looking at an opportunity to explore new testing avenues without compromising on quality or service excellence.”