The decision to outsource your software QA to a software testing company can add significant value to your end product. However, if you don’t select the right company, it may also cause headaches that make you second-guess your choice! The difference between satisfaction and frustration lies in your due diligence. To help you select the right software testing company, here are six things you should evaluate.

1. Where is your team located?

This may be one of the most important questions to ask, since there are significant differences between dealing with offshore software testing companies vs. a team that’s based in the U.S.

At the top of the list is the all-important issue of communication. Seamless teamwork can only take place when your team members can reach software testing company personnel in a timely fashion, ideally in real-time by phone or e-mail. If you work with an offshore company, it can be frustrating to need a response — only to realize the people who can provide it are fast asleep due to the time difference. Working with a U.S.-based team closes the time zone gap and enables you to reach them when you need them.

Working with an onshore team also eliminates the language and cultural barriers often associated with offshore testing teams. And, U.S. laws protect your IP for added security.

2. What is your experience with projects like ours?

Notice this question goes further than “what is your experience?” — which is a typical query. While you certainly want to work with a company that’s been around for a while and has a solid reputation for being a great partner, its experience might not be relevant to your needs. Thus, it’s important that each of the software testing companies you’re evaluating has specific experience with the applications and types of testing you require.

3. How flexible is your process?

Flexibility is an important operational component for any software testing company. You need to know how the company sets up and manages teams, as well as how it adjusts to your organization’s requirements. Some software testing companies are rigid in their process and force you to adapt to their needs, rather than the other way around. You should seek a company that uses a flexible service model that provides support for agile and lean development environments — and will work seamlessly with your in-house team.

4. Do you guarantee your work?

Wouldn’t you prefer to partner with a software testing company that stands behinds its work? A company that guarantees its work shows confidence in its service and quality, and is communicating it will do whatever it takes to ensure customer satisfaction. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that a guarantee of work should not be confused with guaranteeing the efficacy of your product.

5. How do you manage response time?

Responsiveness comes into play in a variety of situations when you partner with a software testing company. For example, how long does it take to assemble the team that will work with you? Or, how long does it take for the company to respond to your questions? You want to engage a company that understands your need to react quickly to market opportunities — and has the experience, commitment and proven best practices essential to deliver immediate results. A high level of responsiveness should continue throughout the course of the engagement.

6. What is the true cost of working with you?

Again, this question is a bit different than the standard, “what does it cost?” — because you must determine the “true costs” of working with each company. For example, working with an offshore team might seem to come with a lower price tag, but when you add up the hidden costs of time lost due to time zone differences or mistakes made due to poor communication or lack of experience, it can cost your company big time. Your priority should be to engage a company that provides you with the maximum ROI based on highly efficient work, the right mix of talents, and delivery on schedule.

Your Takeaway

These six things will help you evaluate potential software testing companies. To ensure the company you engage is best suited to provide the level of expertise you require, take your time in completing your due diligence. Rather than just taking the word of the companies you vet, be sure to get references from a selection of their current clients who can provide invaluable feedback to help you make a decision.