To outsource quality assurance (QA) or do it in within your company – that’s the question. QA testing is an important part of the software development lifecycle. It lowers the chances that you’ll release a defective product, improves functionality and usability, and ultimately, as the name of the process suggests, improves the overall quality of your product.

If you perform testing in-house, that means you employ testers on-site who handle all QA matters. If you outsource, you’ll hire an outside, third-party team in your own country or elsewhere to handle the testing.

Not sure which option makes the most sense for you? Below, we present the case for each model.

The case for in-house QA testing

Communication

You’ll be able to communicate with greater ease if you use your own staff to perform QA testing. That’s because you’ll have direct, physical access to the personnel involved — most likely, you’ll share a workspace with them. That means if you have a question or an urgent matter you need them to handle, you can just walk over and ask them in person. It’s also easy to stay informed about the progress of a project because, again, you can start a face-to-face discussion.

That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to get ahold of a partner if you outsource quality assurance, but given the fact that your communication will be largely virtual, you may encounter more obstacles, particularly when unexpected issues arise. This is especially true with offshore outsourcing, in which case your partner will be in a different time zone.

Greater control

When you outsource QA, you’re relinquishing some control over your project to your outsourcing partner, which can make some managers and business leaders uncomfortable. After all, you won’t be able to keep tabs on who’s doing what and whether different tasks have been accomplished at a given time except via less-frequent updates.

Keeping your project in-house allows you to stay at the helm, overseeing different aspects of the project and the people involved in bringing it to fruition. And, while an outsourcing partner wants to meet your needs, of course, you aren’t in charge of them, per se. You are, however, in charge of your employees and can exercise greater control over their activities. In-house QA testing has risk in this sense, though: you can easily fall victim of micromanaging, a real threat for any project’s productivity.

Security

With so much focus on safeguarding private data, some businesses may be reluctant to outsource quality assurance to a third-party vendor. It can feel safer to leave your sensitive information in the hands of trusted employees. Plus, there are fewer opportunities for hacking — you’ll be keeping all operations under one roof, so not as much information will be changing hands.

The case for outsourcing

Cost

Outsourcing testing is generally significantly cheaper than keeping the operations in-house. You won’t have to pay full-time salaries or offer benefits, and you’ll also be saving money by avoiding onboarding and training costs — your partner will handle all these expenses. In addition, you won’t have to provide the tools, resources, and equipment the QA testers will need, such as automation software.

If you choose a partner who’s not based in the United States, you’ll save even more. QA services in places like South America are often significantly cheaper than those in the U.S. with a similar quality of service.

Lack of bias

Outsourcing also means you’ll get an objective perspective on your product and its potential flaws. In-house testers have likely been closely involved with its development and will therefore lack the objectivity that an outside team will have. Think of this third party as a fresh set of eyes. Moreover, you don’t have to worry about bruised egos because they weren’t involved in the development. In other words, they may be less likely to overlook or dismiss defects because they don’t have a vested interest in the original design being successful.

Expertise

Using in-house testers means that you’re relying on a small group of people to perform work that requires a highly specialized skill set. That expertise can be hard to find, and many businesses opt to outsource testing because their own employees don’t have what it takes for performing the work.

Through this model, you have access to an entire world of talent and can search for testers who have the experience and specific knowledge necessary for evaluating your product.

Both in-house and outsourced testing models have their pros and cons. The one you choose depends on your priorities. Need immediate access to your testers? In-house is the better choice. Having trouble finding the expertise required in your area? Try outsourcing to another location. The most important thing is that your testing process is thorough and involves dedicated professionals, no matter how you do it.