What is Crowd Sourced Testing?
In simple words crowd sourcing is a bunch of people working together in order to achieve a common goal. That does not sound too different from any other team or group of men working at a project. So where’d all the fuss come from?
Well the fuss actually is situated around the ability of handling a project of colossal size while using a team that is larger than usual in a shorter period of time. And one more advantage (the biggest, perhaps) is that a projects cost is reduced.
So, basically, crowd testing is just about a lot of people testing same software. The only differences to the more standard approach are scalability and variety of available resources. With the availability of modern technology there is pretty much no difference in whether you are communicating with one or two workers or a hundred via the internet.
What are the underwater stones?
The new is not always accepted too well. The same here. Lots of holly-wars are bursting out due to the tremendous amount of pitfalls this approach has. So let’s get deeper into the really important ones.
- Security. This will probably be the major issue here. You can’t be positive on who exactly is testing your software. Is your data safe? Who knows. Well, you definitely don’t want to go there with your intellectual property being sensitive about pre-releasing if you are not definite on who you are working with.
- Experience of the potential testers. You won’t want to go through all those resumes, and even if you do you won’t be able to make sure that all that is stated in them is true. So you are not aware of the experience that your potential testers poses. So will you have any assurance that testing will fit quality standards?
- Logistics. Is as close with its importance as security is. How to keep the costs under control with possible hundreds of individuals involved?
All of these issues have a basis behind them and are of high value as well as importance. But everything can be put to an advantage if one puts his mind into it.
So how to overcome the risks?
Security. Well, how do you know that your office-based tester is not a vicious spy from some cloak and dagger company? The same here. Know your crowd. Do not allow just anybody to enter your projects. Potential candidates need to be tested and vetted. It will be time-consuming, yet may be profitable. Never forget that quality assurance is not a field to play with.
Experience. Trainings are essential for everybody. You don’t just retain your crowd. You need to maintain it. If properly managed you may get or be a part of an unstoppable force.
Logistics. The only solution here is hard, proper management filled with planning and realizing what particular resources will such a team require. This skill may only come with experience.
And, despite all the pitfalls such testing is becoming more popular every day. There are special teams that are becoming professionals specialized at this very method on both the business and tester side. You, my fellow reader may be one of such testers, so if you are, you are welcome to share some experience of the field in the comment section. We would definitely enjoy reading a couple of words from the tester side.