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A 5-Minute Guide to Crowdsourced Testing

Monday April 17, 2017

A 5-Minute Guide to Crowdsourced TestingI

It is rightly said that to meet the expectations of users, your apps need to function seamlessly and this is why you need to have a solid testing process in place to validate apps at each and every stage of their development lifecycle. However, performing comprehensive testing in a single instance, invites more chaos in the process, allowing bugs to move along with the apps. In other words, due to inadequate time and availability of resources, enterprises often face challenges of completing the testing cycle.

In order to overcome the lengthy testing and release cycle, development costs and buggy code, Crowdsourced Testing is an effective alternative for enterprises to test their apps by distributing tests to real users/testers at different places. As the name ‘crowd’ suggests, the testing process involves different individuals and groups of individuals which are selected based on their professional background, environment, profile, devices, etc. to imitate real-world conditions for testing.

Crowdsourced testing process is more user-centric since the apps are collectively tested by a group of individuals with a more realistic condition, unlike conventional testing where the apps are tested by a single tester or group in a limited environment. The entire process imparts more diversity, flexibility, speed and cost-effectiveness which is why it is ideal for enterprises that lack resources or time to carry out the testing process.

With these, there are a certain number of advantages that come along with Crowdsourced testing. Let’s take a look at them.

Advantages of Crowdsourced Testing

  1. Cost Effective
    Since Crowdsourced testing only requires paying testers based on the valid bugs, it becomes cheaper for the enterprises compared to outsourcing testing services. In Crowdsourced testing, the payment is made only for the output generated and so, enterprises do not need to shell out money as per fixed billing. Also, since testers test the apps in their own environment set-up, it doesn’t require the additional expenses of acquiring infrastructure which results in reduced costs.

  2. Better Results
    It is said that ‘more heads are better than one’ which is the reason, Crowdsourced testing yields better results than conventional testing. There are more ideas and feedbacks from a wide range of people with different skills and background. Thus, the collective output is better in a way that there are more viewpoints and factors based on which the application is tested and this makes the application more robust.

  3. Realistic Outcome
    Unlike traditional testing process, Crowdsourced testing involves testers who are exposed to real scenarios, which is why the results obtained are more realistic. Instead of using hypothetical test cases, the testers use actual data, environment, and programs which give accurate and reliable results.

  4. Flexibility
    Crowdsourced testing also imparts a lot of flexibility to test projects by enabling enterprises to change resources, location, time of testing and make payments accordingly. Apart from this, it provides more option to leverage different environment setup and infrastructure from different testers as and when required which adds more flexibility to the test projects.

  5. Faster Results & Feedback
    Test results with Crowdsourced testing is much quicker since there are different testers to perform different testing at the same time, which leads to faster completion of the testing cycle. It also brings in more agility because the entire testing cycle is attached to a continuous feedback loop from designated testers leading to faster feedback.

  6. Diverse Resources
    In Crowdsourced testing, tests are allocated to different testers having different skills, devices, and environments to test different scenario. This helps avail diverse resources and skill sets. Also, when an enterprise doesn’t own required resources and infrastructure, Crowdsourced testing helps in leveraging the benefits of a wide range of test resources and environments.

  7. Unbiased Opinion
    It also helps in getting unbiased opinions and feedback as the testers employed work separately in a realistic environment with a neutral outlook. They are also not associated with other teams so chances of influencing the output or feedback are lesser which helps in giving unbiased results and opinions.

  8. Increased Coverage
    Crowdsourced testing also helps increase the test coverage. Since the application is exposed to different test conditions, scenarios and environment which collectively expands the scope of testing, it enables enterprises to achieve better test coverage.

Of course, the advantages of Crowdsourced testing are many, but there are certain things that everyone should follow in order to get maximum benefits from it. Here's a list of few best practices or tricks to apply while performing Crowdsourced testing:

Best Practices of Crowdsourced Testing

  • Communicate Objective
    It is important to identify the objective of performing Crowdsourced testing. This will help the testers to take the right testing approach and strive to attain common goals. Also, if the testers engaged, know the objective, it will help them avoid unnecessary actions and chaos at the later stage of the testing cycle which otherwise can add overheads to the test cycle.

  • Identify Your Target Audience
    One of the biggest benefits of Crowdsourced testing is that it enables organizations to test their applications with the people who are identical to its end users. Hence, it is important that you understand your target audience before you select the testers to perform testing. This will help you meet your testing requirements and ascertain the results accurately.

  • Define Specification
    It is also necessary to define specifications such as application environments to be considered, devices to be used, the number of test cases to be tested, payment terms, timelines of the test, etc. If the testers know the test specification in the advance, it is easy to find defects. Also, a clearly defined test specification will help them share new ideas or suggestion which may help in enhancing the overall application testing cycle.

  • Set-up Common FAQs
    Since different test engineers are involved in the process at different places and environments, it is obvious that there will be hundreds of questions coming from them on a regular basis. In this case, it is advisable for companies to set-up a list of common Frequently Asked Questions with their answers and make it readily accessible to enable testers to resolve their queries on time.

  • Understand Your Problem Areas
    Crowdsourced testing lets the enterprises solve specific problems. Therefore, it is important to know the problem areas before implementing Crowdsourced testing. If needed, it is advisable to rework on QA procedure and re-schedule the work as per the identified problems to get the maximum benefit and response to similar issues in the future with Crowdsourced testing.

  • Have a Project Coordinator in Place
    A loosely-controlled crowd of testers will keep flooding questions over developers and distract them from their work. Therefore, it is important to have a dedicated project coordinator in place to take care of the work assigned, resolve their queries, address the real issues to the developers and manage the deadlines of the project.

Organizations are rapidly realizing that the fastest way to test and release the app as per the user requirements and expectations is with Crowdsourced testing. However, it is important that you keep in mind all the best practices or tips discussed above in this article before implementing it to get maximum benefit out of it.

What are your thoughts about Crowdsourced testing? Share your experience in the comments section.

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