13 Reasons Why Developers Should Crowdtest Their Applications

With Google, Apple and Microsoft practically giving away their development tools for free, there is a growing developer base creating mobile Apps and responsive web sites for Android, iOS and Windows platforms. But, it’s easy to underestimate the costs of building and monetizing an App successfully. One way to save costs is to consider crowd testing. Some benefits of crowd testing are:

1. Maximum value and focus

The Law of Comparative Advantage states that maximum value is derived if each party focuses on its core competence. Developers should focus on building products and leave software testing to testing experts to derive maximum value.

2. Improved cash flow

Crowd testing helps with better cash flow management by translating fixed costs (employee salary, allowance, etc.) into a scalable, variable costs that you incur only upon usage. As a startup, cost savings are of paramount importance and a good cost strategy signals sound financial planning. The crowd testing pay-per-bug pricing model means that you pay only for unique bugs that testers discover – which is better for cash flow compared to an in house team. Most crowd testing companies offer pay-per-bug pricing model as part of their exploratory testing services. This means, you pay only for unique bugs that testers discover. Hence, it is easy to infer that pay-as-you-go model helps better manage cash flows than incurring fixed overhead with an in house testing team that delivers basically the same results.

3. Outsource risks

Through crowd testing, you basically transfer costs and risks associated with recruitment, training, test planning and execution to an external testing service provider. Doing so, you completely eliminate overheads from software testing team management, employee motivation, retention, compensation, etc. This allows you to direct more focus on your product / service development, which endows improved speed, agility and time-to-market to your startup

4. Leverage collective experience

Though the past few years has witnessed a growth in the number of companies offering crowd testing services, some companies have been around for a few years. These companies have been catering to enterprise customers and thus, have built a repository of best practices, domain know-how, industry insights, robust and knowledgeable community and service scale economies. The direct benefits of working with these companies are that they deliver not only testing expertise at reduced costs, but also proven experience not usually available with younger startups. For companies contemplating outsourcing their testing activities, it is strongly encouraged that they scrutinize their testing service provider’s history, previous projects, clients, case studies, etc.

5. Sanity check

Developers can quickly test whether their Application addresses customers’ pain points and validate the business hypothesis by targeting a select audience, gathering feedback and estimating the chances of adoption. Though sole developers and startups may turn to informal testing through friends and acquaintances network, is almost always dangerous, because the real users may not be as tolerant to the bugs as your acquaintances and may never try your product again.

6. Overcome predictability

Experienced crowd testing companies periodically rotate their crowd testers; this is a flexibility that is not normally available to companies with dedicated testing personnel in house. The benefit of rotating testers is to overcome acclimatization and “blind spots” that accompany the familiarization process. Once testers engage with an application or service for a length of time, they could usually predict what could go wrong and limit their testing focus to a subset of issues among a larger sample space. Crowd testing overcomes such predictability by periodically rotating testing personnel across projects, so that the testers address all possible issues.

7. Perspectives and experience

Professional testers, who see and evaluate your application for the very first time, bring in fresh perspectives to improving your product’s quality. For complex products or services that mandate ongoing learning, crowd testing companies deploy professional testers that demonstrate a deep understanding of your product as required. In short, crowd testers make excellent critics of your products and are best included as part of your development cycle.

8. Usability

Crowd testing helps uncover usability issues and developers’ blind spots much earlier. Once an App is on the Apple or Google Play store, most customers won’t bother to submit crash reports, but simply give the App a low rating, which is incredibly hard to repair.

9. Test coverage

Unit testing, normally performed alongside development, cannot cover all devices and system configurations, deployment scenarios and usage patterns. Many technical issues and bottlenecks only come to light only when the product is “in the wild”.

10. Speed and flexibility

The Crowd will help discover most critical bugs in a very short timespan. For example, Facebook crowd translated their website to French within 24 hours! Crowd testing is a flexible and smart way of scaling your test workforce at short notice.

11. Comprehensiveness

Crowd testing eliminates any intrinsic bias, characteristic of a local testing team and adds richness and diversity. As different testers may follow different permutations, a multipath approach leads to more bugs discovered in a shorter timespan

12. Expertise

Crowd testers are professionally qualified enthusiasts marked by an intrinsic motivation to discover bugs and improve software quality. These professionals are unsparing in their feedback and make excellent development partners.

13. Well proven

Crowd testing model has already been used by likes of eBay, Amazon, GE, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, which develop user-centric products. For example, 9 million testers downloaded Microsoft Office 2010 (Beta), who provided 2 million valuable product improvement ideas. Google regularly deploys crowd testing for 14 of their major product lines.

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