Cheltenham (UK), February 2012 - Cost, quality, and time are the three metaphorical balls all software-development companies must juggle during the delicate test phase. In fact, if you happen to be involved in any form of software testing, what is more important to you? Obviously, you would like to improve all three.
You may have tried automation with some degree of success, or perhaps you outsource or offshore. You may also be unaware that all of these options are likely to increase time and cost, or even reduce quality. However, a new business model that is still in its early stages of development but promises great solutions for these challenges is "crowdsourcing".
The essence of this business model lies in drawing a large crowd together, taking a task and distributing it amongst hundreds, even thousands of worldwide freelancers working from home. Crowdsourcing companies provide the right tools to communicate with the crowd, as well grant their freelance workforce the resources to communicate with each other. So far, crowdsourcing has been applied in many areas and is gradually being picked up in the mainstream, especially in the graphics arena.
More recently, software-testing companies have begun to employ it too, such as BugFinders, based in Cheltenham, UK. The brainchild of Martin Mudge, BugFinders specialises in testing websites, web apps, mobile apps, and gaming apps and uses a network of up to 50,000 testers to get all test work done. Most importantly, the company delivers its testing with minimal risk, as clients only pay when they approve the bugs raised by the network of "bug finders".
"Working in software testing for twelve years, I realised there needed to be a change in the way software testing was being delivered", says Martin. "The rapid explosion of browsers and mobile platforms along with increased competition in the online space means that no company can afford to have a website that does not work or is not up to standard".
Donna Mudge, co-director of BugFinders, elaborates on the crowd's work ethic and the importance of delivering bug-free products: "Our in-house senior testers and the senior testers within our crowd review all bugs during their submission to the client. This results in high-quality delivery to the standard that our clients require. It's not right for every testing challenge, but if you need to release a mobile app quickly or want to check whether your web app functions correctly, it's unbeatable!"
Testers also prefer this business model because of the possibility to work flexibly from home, allowing them to choose their own hours and obviating the need to commute or even relocate. Large and small companies are turning to companies like BugFinders to get their software tested, primarily because of the unique crowd-sourced solution that allows tackling a vast range of projects.