You know you need to hire external resources for software testing in your Agile development operation, so you create a spreadsheet of facts and figures to justify the expenditure. But what about the more practical concerns like time zone, culture, capabilities, flexible staffing, and process control? Missteps in these areas can negatively impact budgets and final outcomes. Avoiding these five potholes can help make the most of your testing budget and resources.dont hire a QA team that is more than 4 time zones away

Mistake #1: Hiring a company that’s more than 4 time zones away.

Sure, you might save money going overseas, but what happens when your midday SCRUM means a midnight wake-up call for your tester in Belarus? It’s wise to stick with a QA and testing team that’s no more than four time zones away. Cultural differences must also be considered. A company in another country may not grasp the context around plans and specifications, which means you spend time and money explaining generalities before ever getting to specifics. Then there’s the security issue. If you’re not careful about IP security, going overseas can be like putting your code on an open-source platform. Business agreements are subject to the laws of each country, and those laws have been known to change in the middle of a project or make a legal release almost impossible to obtain.

Mistake #2: Using a company that offers only test technicians.

Choose an Agile software testing company that provides not only test technicians but also QA engineers, test leads, test architects, and QA management for the optimum blend of skills to ensure test quality and delivery results. QA engineers, working at the same level as your development engineers, can run automated smoke tests to flag simple failures early, so you don’t build good code on top of bad code. QA leads, architects, and managers who have run multiple programs involving many technologies will have the depth of skill and experience to guide the test program to success.

Mistake #3: Locking yourself into a fixed staffing level.

Why take on the burden of hiring and managing an internal QA staff when you don’t have to? Using an outside company for agile software testing lets you focus on what you do best. Seek out a testing company that will match staffing levels to the pace of your content releases. Make sure you’re not penalized for adding or reducing staff or shifting the mix between engineers and test technicians. In certain areas of the U.S., it can be expensive to find high-tech talent, so consider a testing company that can work remotely, can video conference into your standups, and can adjust its resources to your output schedule.

Mistake #4: Selecting a company that operates like a waterfall verification group.

Finding-and-fixing-bugs-in-an-eCommerce-siteThe Agile process is subject to varied interpretations. It’s important to scrutinize your top choice to make sure that your testing company interprets Agile the way you interpret Agile. Watch out for companies that call their process Agile but function more like waterfall verification groups. The company you select for Agile development QA must be able to integrate its personnel into your Agile SCRUMS and participate daily with your team.

Mistake #5. Picking a company that’s weak on test automation support.

Test automation support is critical and integral to the Agile process, and you want a QA team that can create and maintain test scripts. Ideally, this is done on a regular basis. When adding a new feature or fixing a bug, you need experts who can rapidly identify which tests are essential for the best schedule versus coverage tradeoffs. A highly trained QA engineer can ensure that small changes don’t clobber big features.

Considering facts, figures, and practical concerns will lead to well-informed decisions about which Agile software testing company is the right fit for your upcoming project.

Check out our post, “6 Things to Consider When Evaluating Software Testing Companies” to learn what you should ask your potential QA provider.