Offshore software testing is a software development model where an organization outsources the software testing process to a service partner team located in a different country and time zone. The offshore testing process goes through a typical software testing cycle including the writing, running and reporting of software tests.
Most types of software tests can be performed by the contracted service provider. For example, QA tests, mobile app tests, user acceptance tests (UAT) and smoke tests can be performed using offshore software testing. When a test is completed by an offshore testing company, a test report is sent back to the organization for verification and is either approved or sent back.
An organization would consider offshore software testing primarily to save on costs. Outsourcing the testing would be much cheaper than having to maintain an in-house testing team. Additionally, testing the software in a separate country may make the process even cheaper. An organization could use the saved expenses on other project priorities, or pass the savings along to the customer. Even further, due to the fact that offshore testing takes place in a separate time zone than the base organization, it is possible to have round-the-clock work done on software.
Advantages of using offshore software testing include:
- Reduced costs.
- Offshore service partners may have expertise in specific areas, such as security or development.
- Around the clock work can be performed on software.
- Saves an organization time.
- Expedites software development.
However, there are a myriad of disadvantages to offshore software testing that can occur if an organization focuses only on obtaining the lowest costs available. These include:
- Possible communication errors due to language barriers.
- Time zone differences can make timely communication difficult.
- If an organization opts for the lowest costs available, then there are likely less skilled individuals performing the software tests as well as a lower quality of work.
When using offshore software testing, organizations should make communication a top priority. An organization should clarify specific procedures, as well as define cost, high-risk areas and software testing tools beforehand. Organizations and service partners should coordinate meetings as well to ensure the process is moving along smoothly.
Offshore vs onshore software testing
Onshore software testing refers to an organization outsourcing the software testing process to a service partner within the same geographical area and time zone. Onshore software testing works similarly to offshore testing; the defining factor between them is the geographical location and time zone of the organization and service partner.
Onshore software testing may be used by organizations that want to extend and improve their testing capabilities by using another team with additional or more specific knowledge of testing software. Because of the relatively short distance between teams, an organization can communicate much more freely and easily with the team performing the software tests comparatively than with offshore software testing. This allows for regular communication between the organization and service partner.
Advantages to onshore software testing include:
- Easier management of testing requirements.
- Easier and more consistent communication between teams.
- Less worry of misunderstandings because there are fewer language barriers.
- More control over assigned consultants.
The one main disadvantage is the high cost compared to offshore software testing. However, these costs may differ due to the economy per location.
Offshore vs nearshore software testing
Nearshore software testing refers to an organization outsourcing the software testing process to a service partner in a different country, but within the same time zone. Nearshore software testing services work similarly to both onshore and offshore testing, but its defining characteristic is that it takes place in a different country from the base organization, but within the same time zone.
This option is like a middle ground between offshore and onshore software testing for organizations that want to take advantage of price reductions but also want easier communication and involvement between teams. However, nearshore software testing meets the same disadvantage as onshore testing, where it may not be as cost effective as offshore software testing.