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I'm a software developer on a VERY small team (read as... me). I'm working on a large project, and in a few months think it would be beneficial to have some sort of formal QA process. I can have some internal user's access the website and use it, but end-user testing won't stress it the way QA testing does.

Can anyone recommend any processes or organizations that can help me perform some Ad Hoc QA against this when the time is right? I apologize in advance if this is the incorrect forum to post this to, I'm not looking to make this a sales board, just wanted some insight from other QA people on how to go about this, thanks!

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What do you mean by 'formal QA process' and 'ad hoc testing'? Are you looking for free testing or are you going to pay for it? –  Phil Kirkham Aug 15 '13 at 14:55
    
And why wait a few months - why not start testing now and find problems sooner rather than later? –  Phil Kirkham Aug 15 '13 at 14:57
    
What kind of budget do you have? –  Joe Strazzere Aug 15 '13 at 17:16
    
Thanks Phil and Joe. To me, ad hoc as a once and done project, not something for all software we create. I view informal testing as end user's testing screens and looking for the basics, formal would entail details scenario testing (logging in with an old user, updating passwords, triggering account lockouts), really testing and validating all features rather than just the basics that end users would. Budget wise, I don't know, let's say a few thousand? I don't have anything approved, but Im curious what my potential options are. –  ewitkows Aug 15 '13 at 17:30
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2 Answers

There are many ways to have someone "throw some testing" at your site. Which way is best for you depends on

  • Your needs
  • Your ability to provide input to the process
  • Your timeframe
  • Your budget

Some folks just post something on a forum where professional testers hang out (like here, or sqaforums.com) and ask for people to "test" their site. The good: You get professional testers looking at your site. The bad: You aren't likely to get any kind of deep testing without offering some sort of compensation.

Some folks ask friendly bloggers (like me) to post a link to their site, sometimes with a page explaining how to contact the site owner for further instructions/information. The good: Inexpensive. The bad: You have to do the work of weeding out the non-useful from the useful folks.

Some folks use a Beta (open or closed) as a way to gain insight into the functionality and quality of their site. The good: It can be either free or very inexpensive. If you already have a wide audience, it can be quick to get many "testers". The bad: You will likely get casual users, rather than professional testers.

Some folks use less-expensive organizations like uTest or others to provide testing services. The good: Relatively inexpensive. Some decent infrastructure already in place to organize and manage the testing process. The bad: A bunch of faceless testers with a wide range of abilities. If you don't provide solid input, you likely won't get much back.

Some folks recruit their professional tester friends. The good: Your friends want to help you. The bad: You are imposing on their time.

Many folks go and hire a professional tester for a short-duration project. The good: You get real, professional testing. The bad: More expensive, requires real work on your part.

So you have to ask yourself - How serious is my need? What's it worth to me (in terms of my money and my time)?

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Thanks @Joe! I totally agree with the methodologies posed above. If I had to choose one to extrapolate on, it would be the last one (hire a professional tester for a short period). In line with my OP, I'm looking for an organization to provide such a service, where I can book so many hours, but not hire anyone internally. Know what I mean? –  ewitkows Aug 15 '13 at 19:02
    
There are temp agencies everywhere, who can work with you to staff your short-term project. –  Joe Strazzere Aug 15 '13 at 19:13
    
+1 with no doubts: comprehensive, professional advice with real pros & cons! –  Peter L. Aug 16 '13 at 6:19
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It sounds like the best thing for right now is manual testing, seeing as you're the only developer. Those I would say look for CS majors or recent grads and pay them a part time wage. It will probably be easier to pay them a decent part time wage than deal with legalities that come with an internship.

There are many things to look for in a good tester, but the main thing is logic.

  • Do they go from one step to the next one logically
  • Can they explain a problem in a more or less straight forward way
  • Are they aware of basic sources of a problem

You should also concentrate on getting people to do black box testing (ie not messing/seeing code at all). I'm sure there are other things you can do, but given the right grads / students, I think that's the easiest & best option.

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<sigh> then the poor grads will turn up here going "Hey, I got hired to do a job I know nothing about, and my boss doesn't know about it either. Tell me how to do my job!". –  testerab Aug 17 '13 at 12:27
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That's a good point, although it would still depend on person being hired. I was one of those grads, all I did was go through workflow and see if it made sense the results I got. It's about expectations. To me it sounds less professional qa and more of how to use software, ie what 'makes sense'. –  StanM Aug 19 '13 at 16:25
    
I understand that it might have been how you got your start, but just because it worked out for you doesn't make it good. If you're doing user testing, use real users. If you're doing testing, then you need to train your testers, and it's unfair to grads to bring them on with a promise of training you can't supply. –  testerab Aug 22 '13 at 14:17
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