What are the common misconceptions regarding test consultancy?

I sometimes hear opinions like: “Test consultants are hired to just click on some links/buttons and they don’t have advanced technical skills”.
The main source for this misconception is the general opinion regarding testers – employees or consultants – generated by software companies that don’t really focus on quality and prefer to hire unskilled/low qualified testers with no knowledge of test planning, design and execution.
The latest experience I had was with a UK company that hired a team of test consultants for their final acceptance testing. At the end of the test round, they were puzzled by the fact that the test consultants were more efficient than the offshore test employees and found a lot of new defects on a product version that was considered stable and ready for release. Most probably, they shared the same misconception, as they were not expecting the test consultants to perform better than their own employees, but to be less efficient and to simply execute some tests. …

What companies should not hire test consultants?

Most companies would benefit from either test management services that would improve their testing processes, test specialists that would target and test very specific parts of a product or test execution services that would bring fast and objective results. There are a few companies, however, that would be better off not hiring test consultants.
Some companies are so resistant to change and so confident in their own processes and practices that hiring test consultants would not bring any value to their software development activities and their quality. …

When should you hire a test consultant?

You always need a test team. However, here are a few situations when you should think about hiring a test consultant:

  1. When you have tight deadlines and you need (additional) resources very fast
  2. Don’t waste time employing resources that may only be needed for one particular project and for a short period of time. If you are sure that the initial schedule cannot be changed and you cannot move the deadlines, the best approach is to quickly hire a test specialist who will start working on the project right away and will have all the necessary skills for testing your product. However, make sure that everything that has already been done for the project is well documented or you may find out that you are not buying extra time by hiring a test consultant.

  3. When you need a person that is highly specialized
  4. It takes time and money to train one of your employees to get really specialized on a certain test area. The testing training courses are not cheap. You might also …

Why would you want to hire a test consultant?

We think that many don’t yet understand why and when they should get a test consultant and what the benefit of getting one is.
Here are some of the main reasons we consider important:

  1. Independence

The level of independence for test consultants is very high. If they are from a different company than the one developing the application, you can get the maximum degree of independence.
What does this independence mean in terms of software quality? In any project, there will be a pressure at some point to release the product as soon as possible. The pressure comes as budget and time are limited and most of the time companies compromise to the detriment of quality. The more independent test team members are, the more they can provide an objective measurement of the software quality. This helps the companies understand …

Using Test Consultants

We have decided to write a series of articles to explain the benefits, the disadvantages and the common misconceptions regarding the use of test consultants in the software development industry.

Before going into any details, we should first understand what a Test Consultant is.
A Test Consultant is a professional that is focusing on objectively measuring and evaluating the quality level of a software product and advising project managers regarding further actions needed before a product goes live. Test Consultants may be specialized in test management, performance, security, usability, automation or functional testing, on mobile devices software, or applications specific to a particular platform etc. They may belong to organizations that do software (test) consultancy or they can be independent consultants (working on their own).
We will structure the series into 4 different articles: …