Outsourcing Advantages

By Whyttest Team 4 years ago2 Comments

I was one of the people who considered that having an internal test team is much more efficient than having an external one. Outsourcing is always a hard decision to take, especially to teams that you don’t know or you have not worked with before. You have the feeling that you don’t have enough control or visibility, the outsourcer does not know or care about your game and that your testing costs will explode.

All those fears are real and justified. There are so many outsourcing companies out there and so many ways they can fail.

So, let’s see what would be the advantages and the downfalls of having an outsourcing team versus and internal team:

Proximity

Which is translated through good communication and visibility for all sides. Theoretically, having a test team located right next to the development team should eliminate all grey areas and should create a lot of visibility for everyone. Practically, the communication and visibility is actually based on the ability of 1 or 2 test coordinators of extracting and distributing relevant information towards the test teams. These test coordinators are the ones that will participate to dev meetings and will mingle with the dev team.

One big downfall for having the test team close to the dev team is the fact that the dev team will have permanent request and will interrupt normal testing process. Also, when crunch the pressure will be enormous for the test team who needs to provide fast feedback and relevant status reports.

whyttest_logo Advice: Keep a dev test team close to the dev team and keep the other test teams as far as possible from the dev team.

Time zones

This can be both an advantage and a downfall. Having the test team in the same time zone can increase the feedback and it might allow fast correction for major issues. But, usually, the builds are made at the end of the dev normal working time which puts a pressure for the test team to make quick checks and assure everything is Ok for the next day testing.

Having a test team on a different time zone, might allow a better coverage of a build and a good status for a build when dev team comes back to work.

whyttest_logo Advice: create a setup based on the delivery schedule so it can increase the effectiveness of the deliverables. Use both same time zone and different time zone teams for better coverage.

Cost

The preconception is that internal test teams have a lower cost than outsourcing. The multinational companies calculate the hourly costs per project and might ignore productivity, dead times, additional personnel cost, hiring costs and many more.

So, let’s do a small calculation considering a hypothetical simple situation, considering only functionality testing (for a better and short follow-up of the story, watch the picture attached):

A company needs to release a game in November and estimates that they will need 4 testers in March, 10 in April and full team of 20 people from May through September for a total of 114 man months or 19.380 total test hours. The internal test cost is calculated at 6 Euros per tester per hour for a team of intermediate average seniority which gives a total of 116.280 Euros Test Budget. We don’t count the difficulty of building such a team from scratch.

The HR is announced that they need to recruit these testers so they allocate 1 HR specialist full time for the months of February to May. Total cost of the Hr responsible is 2000 Euros per month which gives a 8000 Euros company cost which includes also hiring channels. We don’t count other expenses which inevitable will appear.

The game has a delay of 2 month but decides to keep the staffing plan for testing as the hiring is on schedule and consider they can recover the delay. That means that the 14 men months (2380 men hours) would have not been necessary but they are forming up as a team and wait for builds.

So, in May, there are 20 testers working on a build that require only 10 testers, which means 1700 men hours. The delay is recovered by cutting content from the game and the dev team is back on schedule. Cutting content means that only 16 testers would be necessary but the decision makers do not know that and the Test leaders want the man power for other changes. This means that 16 men months could have been spared (2720 men hours).

So, total testing cost remains 116.280 Euros (Testers) + 8000 Euros (HR) = 124.280 Euros Total Internal cost.

On the same scenario, consider an outsourcing company with a cost almost 75% higher of 10 Euros per tester per hour for an intermediate seniority team.

Initially there were 19.380 total test hours which gives an estimated budget of 193.800 Euros. The change of plans could have saved the company 2380 hours in March and April, 1700 in May, 2720 from June to September which gives a total of 6800 hours. The outsourcing team will not charge when not testing so 68.000 Euros will be decreased from the testing budget.

This gives a total budget of 125.800 Euros outsourcing versus 124.280 Euros internal.
whyttest_logo Advice: If there are no modifications in planning for a project, internal test teams have lower cost. For any modification of the planning, internal staffing needs to be managed carefully and this brings high costs. For flexible planning, schedule modification, low follow-up chose an outsourcing test team. We will be happy to do a test for you.
Founder of Whyttest
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