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Outsourcing System Testing & UAT? Here’s What You Should Consider

Anna Thorsen

Anna Thorsen

Businesses have stricter and tighter software delivery deadlines than ever before. But they don’t have the manpower or time to get full test coverage. For many, outsourcing testing seems like the only option. But it carries risks. So what is the solution for reliable, high-quality, and efficient testing that doesn’t put your business at risk?

In this post, we’ll cover the benefits and challenges of outsourcing testing. Secondly, we’ll propose a solution that can work as a stand alone or concurrently with an outsourced team.

Table of contents:

The paradox of outsourcing testingThe pros of outsourcing testing The cons of outsourcing testing The solution to outsourcing test you didn’t know you needed Conclusion

The paradox of outsourcing testing

The outsourcing of testing creates a paradox.

Yes, it allows you to test more in a shorter time frame. But it cannot guarantee the same quality standards you have in house.

And yes, outsourcers will test exactly what you tell them. But they won’t have the same level of business knowledge that you have internally.

So what solutions are there if you’re having difficulty attracting, training and retaining people in house. What pros and cons should you take into consideration? And what is the solution to your outsourcing challenges?

The pros of outsourcing testing

Outsourcing has a bad reputation. And while it does have its pitfalls, it has benefits.

  • Outsourcing fills resource gaps. Companies have to deliver more software faster. But they don’t always have the resources to get full test coverage, especially if it’s done manually. Outsourcing can fill these gaps and be used as a solution for the simple tests that don’t require a lot of knowledge about the internal workings of the business.
  • Outsourcing is a quick fix for agile teams. Outsourcing can help you release faster. Again, you have to be aware of the types of tests you’re outsourcing to guarantee that the quality of your system is not compromised.
  • Outsourcing can save money, if you choose the right tests. With the right testing strategy, outsourcing can save you money. This is also dependent on the location and expertise of testers. Consider a mixed approach to testing where the most complicated and risk prone tests are handled internally with test automation, and the rest are outsourced. Or, have an outsourced team build out your test automation framework, and manage the upkeep of the tests internally.

Related reading: How to Calculate the ROI of Test Automation

The cons of outsourcing testing

Here’s where the benefits of outsourcing can lose their potential.

  • Quality control issues. While you can ask for a certain level of quality, you can’t guarantee quality results. And when you’re looking for an outsourcing partner, the levels of quality hugely differ. It increases risk in the company, and you can quickly lose control of quality standards.
  • Lack of business domain knowledge. Outsourcers don’t have the same business knowledge as those working within the business. If you don't explicitly define everything to test in the application, the lack of explicit roles and responsibilities can drive up the cost of outsourcing.
  • Security. Would you rely on a third party to maintain critical processes? If you’re dealing with sensitive data, how will you ensure it’s secure?
  • Communication barriers: different time zones. It’s challenging to communicate offshore. There are different time zones, and different ways of explaining a problem. It also creates a barrier between QA and development – a relationship that’s already fraught with its own communication issues. It can extend testing timelines too. If you have a business requirement to deliver a product or feature in two months, and you have two weeks to test, coordinating this with an external contractor can get very complicated. This often leads to delays.

Related reading: How No-code Test Automation Closes the Skills Gap in QA

  • Poor test coverage. Outsourcing doesn’t bring better test coverage. When you’re under pressure to release new features or software, businesses typically reduce the type and number of application tests they run. It leaves a significant amount untested, and you only cover what are deemed the most critical functions. Many errors are later found after release. Our risk report uncovered that even now, 28% of testers are unable to test all software due to an increased frequency of development.
  • Inflexible and lack of agility. If you’re offloading manual tests, the chances are the motivation that was lacking at your own business will also lack in your outsourced team. The truth is, manual testing is tedious. It’s demotivating. And it’s unvaried. It doesn’t challenge outsourcers or your internal personnel. So what’s the solution? If you can’t hire more resources and your team isn’t able to take on manual testing, what’s next?

Sometimes, it’s not about throwing more people or more money at a problem. It’s about finding a sustainable solution.

Outsourcing testing pros and cons

The solution to outsourcing testing you didn’t know you needed

Finding a solution that gives flexibility, and removes the tedious task of manual testing is possible. You can incorporate a solution that will help you attract, retain and train resources in house.

It’s about adopting an automated approach. Not one that calls for highly technical skills or months of onboarding and tedious maintenance like Selenium does.

Find the solution that makes it possible for the business process experts, the QA managers, and testers to build and maintain test automation once your test automation framework has been built.

So what are the tell tale signs of such a solution? We’ve listed them below, along with a comparison of our own automation solution against the most common tools on the market.

  • A visual, no-code approach. A visual based language makes it easier for non-technical and technical users to build, maintain and scale test automation. When something is presented visually, we can make sense of the information quicker. It's easy on the eye and therefore easy to process. With a visual tool like Leapwork, you only have to interact with the front end of a system by recording your steps. The test is then presented to you as visual building blocks.

Image: A Leapwork test automation case. The example shows a Salesforce test, where customer data is being validated against an excel data record.


  • Automates across technologies. The ability to automate testing across technologies within your organization, and integrate into your DevOps ecosystem. This is a cost effective approach to inefficient testing practices, and leaves room for value creating business activities.
  • Personalized onboarding. The expertise of the customer support team that handle your onboarding to an automation tool is crucial. If your team are overwhelmed with work, you need the support from experienced persons who can help you with your specific use cases and requirements.

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It’s not about ruling out outsourcing all together. Outsourcing can still play a valuable part in getting products out at speed. It’s about carefully considering the types of tests that are outsourced, and the types of tests that should remain in-house.

While it’s tempting, the solution isn’t more money or people. It might speed things up, but it will probably create more problems than it solves.

The rule of thumb: outsource the simple well-documented cases if you must. Don’t outsource the complicated ones.

To learn more about creating a balanced and efficient testing strategy that includes automation, download a copy of the test automation strategy checklist.

Access the Leapwork test automation strategy checklist