Crowdtesting and the Future of Software QA

This article is a sampling from recent findings from massolution for a project on "crowdtesting" produced in conjunction with passbrains.

The case for Crowdsourced Software Testing or "crowdtesting" is pretty simple. The world of information technology is shifting from being driven by corporations to one that is driven by consumers, and consumers tend to demand more flexibility as they carry their devices through myriad environments and ecosystems, interacting with an even larger universe of software and hardware.

This lays out a clear challenge for software designers and their quality assurance teams.

Here's how massolution and passbrains describe it in the white paper: "Testing Applications for the Real World:"

Applications, like other tools, must operate “to spec” (functionality), be secure yet easy to use, and work properly across other systems (hardware, software, networks). Moreover, companies must be able to do all this at a reasonable cost. As a portion of applications spending, testing comprises 20% to 30% of total costs, and “functional testing” typically makes up 80 of testing spend.

Enter crowdtesting as a possible solution. Using the crowd to test software raises the bar over other common options like outsourcing or automation when it comes to levels of quality, flexibility, speed, and cost. Much of the early hype around crowdsourcing may conjure images of loosely organized chaos and erratic results, but crowdtesting for large enterprises actually involves a professional relationship with a testing company, as illustrated in the figure below:

Crowdtesting is becoming a recognized force in the quality assurance world, with a recent study finding that nearly half of QA professionals know what it is and how it works. Further, more than a third see it as a trend that will change the landscape of enterprise application testing.

"I think as an industry, we need to make crowdtesting part of the normal testing process,"  says Bodo Vahldieck, Senior Manager for Quality Management Localization Services at Autodesk. "At the same time, you need to be clear on your objectives, and use the crowd in a such a way that it is both simple and detailed in terms of bug tracking, so that companies can integrate it into their overall testing process. Some people have the impression that quality is an issue with crowdtesting, but I think they have not spent enough time looking at the crowd. In my opinion, if you have the right provider, it makes sense to invest in crowdtesting."

Already, players in a number of industries are taking advantage of crowdtesting, from large European, multi-national banks to familiar names like Amazon, eBay, Google, Groupon, and Microsoft.

Much more detail can be found in the full report: "Testing Applications for the Real World," which is a free download. It covers how crowdtesting works and the passbrains process for applications testing; benefits like cost savings, speed to market and "glocalization;" and also identifies potential challenges in using the crowd.

For an even deeper dive into the rapidly growing crowdtesting sector, download this recent webinar from massolution and passbrains.

About massolution

Massolution is a unique research and advisory firm specializing in the crowdsourcing and crowdfunding industries. Massolution works with governments, institutions and enterprises in the design and implementation of crowdsourcing and crowdfunding business models that drive improved business performance, product and service innovation, enhanced levels of customer engagement and in the formation of new sources of capital.

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