Crowdtesting or In-house Testing: Which one is right for you?

April 30, 2020
Michael Ebako-Hodgson
Michael Ebako-Hodgson

It is hard to achieve adequate testing for software applications, but if your app doesn't work flawlessly the first time a user uses it, you're in big trouble. Don't believe me? In 2019, 1 in 4 users abandoned apps after just one use. That's why successful companies invest heavily in their software testing processes. However, as the tools and the times change, it can be hard to figure out what to invest in. Do you only invest in building up your internal team, or do you leverage a reputable crowdtesting company to help amplify your testing? Let's discuss the differences between each approach so that you can decide which one is right for you.  

Differences Between Crowdtesting & In-House Testing  

People often pit In-House Testing and Crowdtesting against each other, but it's not that simple. At test IO, we believe that one can supplement the other, and vice versa. Here are the pros and cons of both in-house QA teams & crowd testers.

1. Perspective 

One of the inhouse QA teams' most significant advantages is the domain knowledge that comes with working directly on a product sprint after sprint. They know the product inside and out and can readily identify when something does not function according to product requirements. Plus, they can find issues in complicated interactions that only a power user would notice. But as they are exposed to the same product over and over again, they can start to fall prey to confirmation bias. On the other hand, crowd testers will experience and interact with the product without preconceptions, just like customers do. This end-user perspective can help product managers improve their apps to match their customer's expectations.

2. Flexibility & Scalability  

When the QA team is inhouse, it is easy for them and the developers to reach a testing cadence that works for both of them. This creates a structure that can aid productivity. While this works great when times are good, as the entire world has become painfully aware, things only go as you expect for so long. When those peaks or dips inevitably happen, inhouse teams may be left without work or find themselves as the bottleneck and unable to keep up with the speed of release. Crowdtesting gives organizations the flexibility they need to meet these swings in demand and amplify what your current testers can achieve, without the headaches that come with frantically sourcing testers for your team.

3. Lab vs. Real-World Testing  

Testing conditions can have a severe impact on the performance of a product. Inhouse, you can control situations and create particular scenarios that are hard to recreate naturally. However, even though your app may work correctly in the office, when you test on emulators, test only devices, and fast Wi-Fi, it does not mean it will perform the same in the hands of your customers. They are continually dealing with the fluctuations inherent in the real world. They may have spotty cell service; they might get a text in the middle of opening your app, etc. Crowdtesting can help account for all these scenarios. Crowd testers all use their own devices, are exposed to various conditions, and are all on unique combinations of browsers, OSs, and devices. This variety allows them to detect problems that would never have been caught inhouse.

4. Cost  

Staffing a QA team in-house is a costly endeavor, and it takes a lot of time. You have to find, interview, hire, and train each member of your team. Then you must provide them with the devices and tools to test with. And that's in addition to each salary! With crowdtesting, those costs are no longer your burden. The responsibility of having testers available on-demand falls on your crowdtesting vendor. You get to enjoy the benefits of the flexibility, diversity, and size of the crowd – often at a lower rate than it takes to add a single full-time tester to your team.  

The best bet: A hybrid approach 

As you can see, one approach is not inherently better than the other. Inhouse testers have knowledge and skills that are invaluable to your product. Crowd testers are unbiased, diverse, and you can call on them at any time. A testing strategy that incorporates the inputs of Inhouse QA and the real-world insights of crowdtesting can give your team a leg up on the competition and make sure that you are releasing the highest quality software you can, as fast as possible.  

If you'd like to see how test IO can fit into your QA processes, reach out to us here

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