Characteristics of a High Quality QA Testing Company

Back in 2008, when Manu first started PLUS QA, high quality QA testing wasn’t really on the radar of app developers. (To be fair, back in 2008, mobile apps were only recently on the radar of . . . well, everyone).

Though the QA testing industry has seen exponential growth as developers, agencies, startups, and big brands alike have turned to companies like ours to test their apps and websites—we’ve found there is still some uncertainty around what QA testing companies should do . . . and how to partner with the best of the best.

We can only speak from our own experience, of course—but our experience has led us to partner with some of the most well-known brands, top agencies, and nascent startups across the country.

That’s not to say we’re the best or only high quality QA testing company for your brand or business (though we may be, ahem). Rather, we want to highlight the characteristics of our company that have been most valuable for our clients; characteristics that you will undoubtedly find helpful when looking for the best QA testing partner for you.

While there are obvious qualifications for a good testing company and a successful QA project—things like a deep understanding of user perspective and experience, building relevant and realistic test cases, engaged and clear test management and reporting, a list of reputable clients, a connected and communicative point of contact, and more—that should be the bare minimum.

There are other—more subtle, more rare, and more often overlooked—characteristics that will help you quickly find the testing companies that stand out from the rest.

List of questions (all detailed within the blog post) to ask high quality QA testing teams before hiring one.

Starting Small

At PLUS QA, we start nearly every project as a trial.

Why? Because limiting the scope of your first engagement—whether with us or anywhere else—ensures that you’re happy with the service and experience of working together before signing a long-term deal.

Be wary of any testing company that expects you to sign on the long-term dotted line from the start. Beyond knowing whether or not a testing company is good at the services they offer, you won’t know whether or not you actually like working with them—which involves factors beyond testing, such as clear and efficient communication and general amiability, amongst other things.

The right QA testing company will understand the importance of starting small, both as it benefits you and as it benefits them. You should both want to explore (and hopefully, continue) a partnership that is friendly and effective.

Questions to Ask Your (Potential) QA Testing Team: Can we set up a trial project to start? What services would that include?

Giving You What You Want—and What You Need

In order to put together a fair cost estimate, a QA testing company will need to know the specifications of your project—which usually means they’ll need you to provide wireframes, visual mockups, or an existing build or site, as well as a list of devices to be tested (at the very least).

But also? It’s okay if you don’t!

Some of our clients know exactly what they need—which devices, platforms, locations, and audiences we’re testing for—and some of our clients don’t. While it’s not ideal to not have clear specifications from the start, the right QA testing company can make it work. So long as you know your target audience and location, part of our job is to help you fill in the rest.

What’s most important is that you’re as clear about your project—and about your testing needs—as you can be. A trusted QA testing partner can help you identify any additional specifications you need (while not upselling you on any services or hours that you don’t!).

Questions to Ask Your (Potential) QA Testing Team: What will you need from us to get started? Do you have any additional recommendations based on our target audience?

Keeping It Real

Transparency is key in pretty much any successful relationship—including the one between you and your testing company.

At PLUS QA, we’re upfront and clear about the amount of time we believe a project will take—but if we don’t use up all of those hours? We’re not billing for them just because you signed off.

That might seem like standard practice, but unfortunately, it’s not. And it will soon become clear whether your testing company is being transparent with you about the time it takes to complete their tests—or whether they’re just using up the time they’ve been given. (See? This is why a trial project is so important!)

Of course, any outsourced vendor worth their invoices should attempt to give you as accurate of a time estimate as possible—and in so doing, those hours will often actually get used. But a high quality QA testing partner will be transparent with you: telling you exactly how they’re getting used and how much you have left.

Questions to Ask Your (Potential) QA Testing Team: How many hours do you estimate this project will require? Do you offer regular reporting of the hours used?

Staying On-Site and On Track

Remote working has become the “new normal” across workplace culture lately, and with good reason—it has been estimated that remote working is better for productivity and operating costs and the environment. While it’s hard to argue with those benefits, there are downsides to this workplace trend too, particularly in QA testing. At PLUS QA, all of our employees are trained and work on site and we don’t crowdsource or subcontract any projects out, because it improves communication, efficiency, and security across every client project.

That being said, there are a lot of testing companies who feel differently: They offer “crowdtesting” services, where your app, site, or software is sent out to large groups of remote individuals instead of being tested by a trained, internal team. While there are arguably some advantages to this sort of testing, higher quality isn’t one of them.

The reality is that even the biggest brands and apps don’t need hundreds of random remote testers—and you risk confidentiality and security that way, anyway. What they (and every other company and developer) do need is a consistent, professional, communicative team that can be scaled up or down, based on the specific needs of your project.

By working with a QA testing company that trains and employs testers in-house, you’re ensuring not only that consistency and scalability, but also the ability to think outside of the box, developing and executing tests specific to your project and your customers on any given day, at any given moment.

Questions to Ask Your (Potential) QA Testing Team: Is your team on-site or remote? How do you train your testers—and how do you evaluate for security and confidentiality?

Staying Local

Map of the United States with markers for each of high quality QA testing company, PLUS QA’s, three office locations in Portland, Oregon; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and San Francisco, California.

Though we are headquartered in Portland, Oregon, PLUS QA has two additional offices in the United States in Philadelphia and San Francisco.

Location, location, location.

While there are high quality QA testing companies around the world, there are undeniable advantages to working with a company in the same country as you.

And this is not just some “Made in America” patriotic sentiment—though the economic impact of supporting other US-based businesses is also a factor. For US-based businesses, partnering with a testing company that is also based in the United States ensures not just the stimulation of a shared economy, but also more efficient communication, easier payment transactions, and of course, greater security.

And that doesn’t necessarily mean missing out on the perspective, language, and cultural understanding that testers from around the world provide. Our PLUS QA team of over 50 people includes individuals of 14 different nationalities who speak 16 different languages in three different offices (and two different time zones) across the United States. Our location is an advantage to our clients, and our diversity is too.

Questions to Ask Your (Potential) QA Testing Team: Where are you based? Do you have any other locations?

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Apps and websites and even (especially!) the QA testing industry have come a long way since 2008—so you have options when it comes to partnering with the right QA testing team. That team could be ours at PLUS QA or you may find a better fit elsewhere. If you keep in mind the traits we’ve shared above, you’ll be sure to find the right fit for your team in no time.

What do you look for in a high quality QA testing partner? Connect with us at PLUS QA to learn more about what we do to offer the highest-quality service.

Group photo of employees from PLUS QA in front of Escape Games PDXPhoto of one iPad and two iPhones