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Mobile testing: Crowd sourcing a good fit for enterprise apps?

Crowd sourcing can be a key piece of a test strategy for enterprise mobile apps aimed at customers, not employees.

Peter WalenPeter Walen

Does crowd sourcing make sense as test strategy for enterprise mobile apps?

My initial response to the crowd sourcing question is "It depends." I say that partly because it depends on what each organization, sometimes each team, means by "enterprise mobile app." Different organizations have different expectations.

With that, I'll say this: If the people using your enterprise mobile app not employed by the company -- for example, registered customers who place their own orders directly into the system or through their sales reps -- crowd sourcing might make sense as a test strategy. In fact, I suspect it could make a great deal of sense.

Here's why.

We can test apps with emulators on networks and on devices inside the firewall. Depending on your configuration, some QA organizations will take the next step of testing on devices outside the firewall. This is where things will get interesting.

Getting crowd source testers involved may show more than you might uncover in your own testing environment.

Testing mobile applications running on devices outside the firewall turns up possible problems that occur when the app is "used in the wild" -- that is, outside the test lab, where connectivity conditions vary widely. Getting crowd source testers involved may show more than you might uncover in your own testing environment. 

The wide-ranging variety of crowd sourcing test services may provide you with additional information you did not have before. Some services (not all) provide remote logging, crash (and other anomalous behavior) recording and analytical analysis that can help you understand how the app runs with the other apps installed on a user's mobile device. How do they work together? 

Sometimes, you don't know until you try it. That is kind of the point of most testing, no? 

Are you using crowd sourcing as test strategy for enterprise mobile apps? Let us know, and follow us on Twitter @SoftwareTestTT.

This was first published in March 2013

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