How to successfully run remote Agile testing with an outsourcing team

Agile testing has become a crucial part of the production process for many companies today. However, with the ever-growing global deployment of QA and Development teams, and in many cases the reliance on outsourcing providers, the ability to manage Agile testing remotely AND successfully has become a necessity for many organizations.

We still see concerns from companies who are used to working in small teams located at the same location geographically, so we wanted to share our experiences with Agile remote testing.

As we mentioned previously, the element of remoteness may be a factor when considering working with an outsourcing team via Agile, but in reality, it really shouldn’t matter if your various teams are located in the same country or as far away as Timbuktu.

We’ve seen some successful implementations of Agile testing here in Israel (including conversions from the traditional Waterfall method), with both Israeli-based and international companies , and the bottom line is that if you set up your Agile testing correctly AND have the right outsourcing provider working for you, Agile can function as smoothly as it was designed to…

Below are three important tips we’d highly recommend you consider when Agile testing remotely, based on our own successful experiences:

1. Encourage good communication and team spirit

Good communications is an essential part of Agile development, but messaging, email, and other channels of communication should be as open as possible to ensure that the remote Agile testers have a direct line with other Scrum members.

Important communication factors we’ve encountered:

– face to face communication pays off (even if it means one or more of your team traveling to the remote testers).

– the use of an instant messenger tool can’t be underestimated.

– use a platform to manage and share all processes (See section 3. below)

An important fact that we at Galil are keen to point out to customers is that testers are team members! This really can’t be stressed enough, as testers should be an integral part of the planning process and requirements analysis, in addition to testing each iteration’s output – if you’re implementing Agile testing correctly. Ultimately, you’re working as a team to one common goal.

2. Ensure your Agile testers have the correct skills

Agile testers have an important role to play in ensuring that the product is created as planned, with continuous testing during iterations ensuring that feedback is provided on an ongoing basis (rather than at the end of the production process in traditional Waterfall methods).

Therefore, when taking on Agile testers, we’d highly recommend the testers you take on have the skills to handle testing as part of the ongoing production (including test planning, as well as functional and regression testing) AND to run those tests in collaboration with development. It’s a completely different mindset, and something we at Galil have become accomplished at nurturing.

3. Get a boost in productivity

While the use of instant messengers and conference calls have become standard (and very useful) communication tools, we highly recommend adding a few additional tools to help boost productivity.

For example, screen sharing tools such as Join.me(www.join.me) or a collaboration service like Watchitoo (www.watchitoo.com) can increase productivity greatly, and also have ALL team members reading from the same page, so to speak.

As touched on in the first tip above, online tools for managing daily scrums, backlog, sprint planning, as well as other parts of the development process, have also proven to be very productive.

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From our experience, the tips described above can truly enhance your remote Agile testing experience. The remoteness doesn’t have to be an issue at all – in fact, using the tips above, we’ve had customers tell us that it feels that the remote team is just an elevator ride away in the same building!

Want to know how we can help with your remote Agile testing? Feel free to get in touch here to hear more details.