If you’re already enjoying the benefits of offshore software development, it makes sense to consider using an offshore Quality Assurance (QA) team. After all, the main advantages – as we’ll cover – are similar to offshore development in general.
In today’s world of Continuous Improvement / Continuous Development (CI/CD), QA is baked into the process, but the quality of QA varies significantly. Maintaining software that’s secure, reliable, and consistently meets users’ needs takes highly-quality QA testing.
Hiring an offshore QA team can give you the expertise, cost-effectiveness, and scalability you need. The trick is how to manage your offshore QA team. Here’s our guide.
Why hire an offshore QA team?
An offshore QA team is a group of software testing professionals located in a different country to the company for which they provide QA services. Within the software development industry, offshore QA teams are part of the broader trend of outsourcing IT and business functions to lower-cost regions or countries with high expertise.
There are many good reasons why companies choose to hire an offshore QA team. Cost is an obvious factor. When located in countries with a comparatively lower cost of living – such as Nepal – QA teams offer significant cost savings, allowing you to access high-quality testing services for less than you would spend on hiring in-house or ‘onshore’.
With an offshore QA team, you gain access to a wider pool of specialist expertise in different testing domains, helping you ensure comprehensive testing of your software products. The flexibility and scalability of offshore teams enable you to quickly adapt to changing priorities and workloads. At the same time, working across time zones creates the potential for 24/7 testing and faster project turnaround times.
The challenges of managing an offshore QA team
As with other aspects of offshore software development, managing an offshore QA team can be challenging. Effective QA testing relies on clear communication and consistency in quality standards – something not easily managed when you’re on the other side of the world! Here are some of the main challenges of managing an offshore QA team:
- Knowledge transfer: Transferring domain knowledge and project-specific information to the offshore QA team can take time. But it’s also essential to ensure that they have a deep understanding of the functionality and user requirements.
- Data security and compliance: Handling sensitive or confidential data for testing purposes requires strict adherence to relevant data security and compliance regulations. Ensuring that the offshore team complies with these requirements is vital.
- Testing environment setup: It can be complicated to coordinate the setup and maintenance of a testing environment located hundreds or thousands of miles away. Your offshore QA team will need access to the right infrastructure and resources.
- QA standards: Misalignment in processes and standards may result in inconsistent testing practices. That’s why it’s important to ensure that your offshore QA team follows pre-agreed quality standards and testing methodologies.
- Communication barriers: Effective communication is crucial in QA to ensure that testing objectives, test cases, and bug reports are clearly understood. Language differences, cultural nuances, and time zone disparities can impact communication.
- Time zone differences: Using an Offshore QA team located in different time zones impacts communication and collaboration. Coordinating meetings, resolving issues, and getting real-time feedback requires careful planning.
- Misalignment in objectives: Geographical distance can lead to differences in project objectives and priorities. Your offshore QA team may have a different focus or interpretation of the project goals, and this can create misunderstandings and misalignment.
- Scope creep and changes: Managing changes in the scope of testing – such as additional features or changes in requirements – can be challenging when working with an offshore team. Clear change management processes are necessary to handle these situations.
- Monitoring and reporting: Continuously monitoring the progress of QA activities and receiving timely, accurate reports on testing requires robust reporting mechanisms and regular status updates.
- Integration with development teams: QA teams need to closely collaborate with development teams to resolve issues and verify bug fixes. For that reason, it’s important to ensure integration and coordination with your development team.
7 tips for managing a QA team offshore
Fortunately, there are tried and tested strategies for overcoming the challenges of managing an offshore QA team, ensuring they integrate smoothly and seamlessly into your software development workflows. Here are 7 tips for getting it right:
- Clear communication: Establish transparent and efficient communication channels, including video meetings, to bridge gaps in communication.
- Cultural training: Provide cultural training to both onshore and offshore team members to promote understanding and collaboration.
- QA Framework: Develop and document a standardized QA framework that both onshore and offshore teams must follow.
- Security protocols: Implement strict data security protocols and ensure that the offshore team complies with them.
- Continuous training: Invest in ongoing training and professional development for offshore team members to reduce turnover and maintain expertise.
- Project management tools: Use project management tools – like Trello or JIRA – and collaboration platforms to streamline task tracking and progress monitoring.
- Regular site visits: Where feasible, conduct periodic site visits to the offshore location to build rapport and address issues in person.
Offshore QA from Proshore
Hiring a dedicated offshore QA team from Proshore not only saves you time and money, it also takes all the risk of outsourcing your QA. Based in the Netherlands and Nepal, our highly-qualified and experienced QA and QA automation engineers provide you with exceptional QA testing services.
Use our handy cost calculator to see how much you could save with offshore QA engineers from Proshore compared with onshore or in-house alternatives.
Onshore vs. Offshore QA teams
Here’s a summary of the main differences between onshore and offshore QA teams:
|Location||Located in the same country as your company.||Located in a different country or region, often in a lower-cost location.|
|Labor costs||Higher labor costs due to location in a higher-cost region.||Lower labor costs due to location in a lower-cost region.|
|Communication||Easier access for real-time communication and collaboration.||Potential challenges of time zone differences and language barriers.|
|Culture||Shared cultural norms and practices.||Potential cultural differences that require sensitivity and adaptability.|
|Time zone||Operates in the same or similar time zone as your company.||Operates in different time zones, potentially enabling 24/7 work.|
|Skills||Access to a local talent pool with high skill levels and higher cost.||Access to a wider talent pool with more skill sets at a lower cost.|
|Flexibility||Limited scalability and flexibility to handle fluctuations in workload.||High scalability, allowing quick adjustment of resources based on project needs.|
|Project management||Easier oversight and project management due to proximity.||Requires more robust project management practices and tools to ensure coordination.|
|Security and compliance||Compliance with local regulations and security standards may be more straightforward.||May involve complex legal and compliance considerations due to different regulations.|
|Travel and visits||Easier for in-person meetings and site visits when needed.||May require occasional international travel for in-person meetings or audits.|
|Data privacy||Data privacy and security protocols can be relatively easy to manage.||Requires strict data privacy protocols and monitoring to ensure compliance.|
|Cost-savings||May not provide the same level of cost savings compared to offshore teams.||Potential for substantial cost savings compared with onshore services in higher cost countries.|
|Knowledge transfer||Easier knowledge transfer within the same cultural context.||May require additional efforts to transfer knowledge and ensure consistency.|
Cost of hiring an offshore QA team
The table below lists the approximate hourly rate (USD) for both senior and junior QA engineers in popular offshore QA destinations:
|Country||Senior QA||Junior QA|
|Ukraine||$30 – $50||$20 – $30|
|Poland||$30 – $50||$25 – $40|
|Romania||$25 – $45||$20 – $35|
|Mexico||$25 – $40||$20 – $35|
|Argentina||$25 – $40||$20 – $35|
|China||$25 – $40||$15 – $30|
|Philippines||$20 – $35||$10 – $25|
|India||$20 – $35||$10 – $30|
|Vietnam||$20 – $35||$10 – $20|
|Bangladesh||$20 – $35||$8 – $20|
|Nepal||$15 – $30||$8 – $15|