Can Crowd replace the QA team? The short answer is Yes and No. Quality is a continuous process while developing a software application, be it Web Application or a Mobile Application. Now there are things that a Crowd Testing team can do and things that only an in house testing team can do. We look at both of them complementing each other, to deliver a high quality software product to your customers.
Internal QA teams will always be the product experts, who are closely tracking the changes in the product and reporting bugs. They would have gained a deep understanding of the product and it issues. Now this same attribute contributes to one of the weaknesses of the Internal QA teams. Once a tester gets very close to the product, he or she would become resistant to the issues that a first time user of the product would notice. So this affects the product, in such a way that the product for advanced users keep getting better and better, but the needs and issue of a first time user of the product gets ignored. This is where a Crowd-sourced Software Testing team can come in. The Crowd testers have never had a look at the product and start reporting issues which would deeply affect the first time user of your software application. So the crowd not only reports about functionality and usability issues of the application, but also issues that a first time user of your product will face, thus improving the user experience of your software product.
The next advantage of Crowd Testing, is that testing in real world conditions solves the problem of “Clean Lab setup” in internal QA Teams. After having worked in enterprise QA teams and start-up testing teams, one of the problems these teams face is trying to replicate the customer environment. Now enterprise applications run in complicated environments behind the firewall, with lots of setup requirements such as Virtual Machines, Network setup and Storage servers. It is generally not possible to replicate the customer environment in house for enterprise customers. Thus QA teams are constantly running behind the bugs reported by customers, in trying to recreate them and the out the development teams in fixing these issues. If you study these issues most of the time, these bugs could have been caught by not testing only in a clean lab environment, but the cost of such a setup might prevent most qa teams to work in such environments. Now Crowd Teams, cannot replicate the customer environment setup for all enterprise customer, but they can do this for all consumer facing applications. i.e. applications that are touched by end customers can tested by the crowd in real world conditions and report issues with browsers, Operating systems and version issues which can be caught only by testing in real world conditions.
The third difference between crowd testing and internal qa teams is the percentage of Improvements reported. Now crowds have generally out performed small qa teams in terms of reporting improvements in the product in a short duration. This is the result of the direct correlation be the number of testers working on the product and number of improvements suggested. This is also due to the first time views of the product, as QA teams tend to report issues or improvements that would affect the power users of the product rather than the first time users.
Crowd Testing Team Vs Internal QA Team
First Time user Issues Power User Issues
More Improvements Lesser number of Improvements
Real World Testing Clean Lab Testing
More Critical Issues More Medium Priority Issues
3 Day Test Cycle Longer test Cycles
Here is candid feed back from one of the enterprise customers of 99tests. Thus 99tests crowd testing can give a significant boost to QA teams, to release a high quality product in short time frames.
Many of the issues captured were ones which the QA had missed from their test-cases – probably coz 99testers approached it from end-user perspective
Note 1: Important complementary service to internal QA processes
Note 2: Defining scope, engaging during the testing window important
Note 3: No bias of the product / feature – independent candid feedbak