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Overview of Software Testing Crowdsourcing

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have probably heard of “crowdsourcing” by now.  It is a concept that has been generating a ton of buzz recently, and has implications for overseas software testing methodologies. 

So, what exactly is crowdsourcing?  Conceptually, it simply means that when you delegate a project to a crowdsourcing platform, you will be dealing with a bunch of people as opposed to a single individual.  This has several benefits compared to traditional ISEB or ISTQB software testing processes.  Specifically, it can improve testing accuracy, increase speed to market, and reduce testing costs.

One advantage relates to the “two heads are better than one” theory.  In other words, you can expect the group to identify more defects than a single person because you will have dozens or even hundreds of different testers involved, each focusing on a specific piece of the overall project.  Simply put, having more diverse perspectives involved in the process will ensure that fewer items slip through the cracks.  This is akin to a market research focus group; a focus group of one won’t get you much, but a group of 100 most certainly will!

Additionally, results should be more accurate because with crowdsourcing the testing occurs in a real world environment as opposed to a manufactured testing environment.  Thus, the software will be tested in the same type of environment within which it will ultimately be used en masse, which is obviously preferable.

Finally, testing times and costs are typically lower with crowdsourcing.  By breaking the testing effort into tiny pieces, project downtime is minimized.  This serves to reduce testing times as well as the associated costs.  Additionally, the process can leverage overseas workers who are often paid at a reduced rate.

In the final analysis, it looks like crowdsourcing is here to stay, and is a good option for organizations looking to breathe some life into their testing efforts.  Of course this process is not appropriate for all companies, so a cost/benefit analysis must be done prior to delving into this brave new world.

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