What is crowd-sourced testing and why it matters

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No matter who is going to be using an application, it must always be thoroughly evaluated for defects, functionality issues and other potential problems that could affect its success. Agile testing offer a number of approaches to keep up with fast-paced sprints without sacrificing the overall quality. Crowd-sourced testing is quickly becoming a more popular option for quality assurance teams, but others wonder what exactly this method entails as well as what types of benefits it can bring to testing. Let's take a closer look at crowd-sourced testing and how it can help quality assurance management.

Defining crowd-sourced testing

Although internal testers are a vital part of rooting out critical defects in the code, sometimes problems can only be found in real-world situations. This is where crowd-sourced testing comes in. A group of people volunteer or are paid to use the application and report any issues that they spot. According to Software Testing Help, teams may choose these individuals based on their professional background, devices, qualifications and profile. For example, doctors and nurses may test out a diagnostic application, whereas their front-desk personnel wouldn't interact with this type of software.

Organizations will find this type of testing to be extremely useful as a potential training mechanism for their staff members. It also gives users a chance to directly influence the changes made to the software and get accustomed to the new features that they'll be interacting with. This factor alone could drastically drive the likelihood of success, improve QA metrics, and feed into future development projects.

How it impacts testing

People involved in crowd-sourced testing typically aren't professional testers, but they have proven to be more realistic than their experienced counterparts. Lean Testing also noted that crowd-sourcing leads to faster execution because of the availability of diverse resources. For example, if an organization wanted to test on Android and Apple devices, crowd-sourcing could be a good fit to determine what the experience is like across both manufacturers. It's also important to note that having potential users involved in this way will speed up feedback loops and give developers better insight into what areas need to be worked on.

"Just as you can hit more devices, you can also test more software versions and check compatibility with different platforms and software setups on your tester's devices," Lean Testing stated. "Crowd-sourcing provides greater coverage, so defects are more likely to be uncovered."

While there are certainly a number of advantages that come from crowd-sourced testing, there are also some limitations to note. Software Testing Help stated that sometimes, crowds may report a large number of minor bugs while critical ones are overlooked. Tracking progress and maintaining communication with these individuals can also be tricky if they are dispersed across different locations and time zones.

However, agile test management can easily solve these issues. These solutions can provide a platform for organizations and users to collaborate, report defects and see how each individual is advancing in his or her work. This type of offering extends beyond borders and ensures that everyone is one the same page no matter where they are in the world.

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