QA Outsourcing

Outsourced Software Testing Services: The History of Independent Software Testing

The term “outsourcing” has entered our vocabulary not long ago by replacing the more common expression we are accustomed to using that is “independent testing”. The latter suggests that a testing process is carried out by a testing team or a group of people that do not directly participate in software development. The other day (before the mid-1980s), independent testing was considered to be the only objective approach to the assessment of software quality. The book of Glenford J. Myers “The Art of Software Testing” contains the following example: The United States Air Force introduced conclusion of single contracts with development and testing companies. Afterwards, the Air Force established a software testing company. Such approach was highly approved and acknowledged as the only right one to be used for development of extremely important applications.

The situation began to change in the early 90s. This period saw the rise of an object-oriented approach to software development.  During this period, ISO and CMM standards were introduced and became popular. The developers have the illusion that they can do without independent testing agencies and that advanced development tools and management techniques will enable unprecedented improvement in the quality. Towards the end of the 90s, the euphoria went away despite that the software quality had been improved. What is the reason for the change in mood? Apparently, it was for real because the developers faced the new problems – rapid software development, frequent changes to software requirements, the work on Internet, lack of recourses.

Software systems become more and more complex. Software development standards and techniques do not meet the market demands. Accordingly, new solutions are required, and thanks to the Internet, outsourced software testing services are widely used.

Testing agencies

Contemporary software testing outsourcing has become a separate field of IT sector. In the West, it is called Software Testing & Quality Assurance. There are tens of North American and European companies providing such services. It is worth mentioning that every testing agency specializes in this or that type of service. As a rule, smaller organizations are busy only with testing of the software ergonomics, whereas larger companies offer a full spectrum of software testing services.

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