Fledgling distributed test platform scales fast to address enterprise application QA requirements

A Hamilton, Ont. startup wants to help small companies and large enterprises alike improve their software through a global network of testers.

Jason Hamilton-Mascioli, founder and CEO of Testlauncher Inc., believes the software industry doesn’t take testing seriously enough, leaving it late in the development process or relying too much on customer feedback after software has shipped.

“We are at an embryotic stage where other industries such as semiconductors value the QA process,” he says.

According to the Systems Science Institute at IBM, the cost to fix an error found after product release was four to five times as much as one uncovered during design, and up to 100 times more than one identified in the maintenance phase. The cost of a bug goes up based on how far down the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) the bug is found. When a bug is found in production, the code needs to go back to the beginning of the SDLC so the development cycle can restart.

Hamilton-Mascioli said that unlike other businesses which attach themselves to a third-party testing company with credibility in its market, the software industry still has room to grow and learn with regard to QA. “There is a notion that they have to do everything themselves.”

Testlauncher is looking to disrupt the software industry, he said, and help customers improve their development teams by using QA support and its services to build better applications faster.

The company launched its new global test management service this week, offering personalized enterprise testing by matching the most qualified testers from around the word with the companies who need them based on a unique matching algorithm to build custom tester “dream teams” based on more than 50 attributes, such as location, physical devices, specialties and experience. Testlauncher uses Slack to facilitate communication.

Testers are often not taken seriously in many businesses, Hamilton-Mascioli said, and Testlauncher is addressing the problem by providing an environment where testers are well-rewarded and get paid on par with software developers. He said the company differentiates itself with its matching capabilities by assigning testers to projects based on coverage and skills with a focus on manual testing. “We know what the testers are really good at. Testers get the testing jobs they like to do.”

Testlauncher has testers deployed all over the world, applying both functional and exploratory testing to mobile apps, SaaS offerings and e-commerce sites. Test plans are built in collaboration with customers and the focus on manual testing is also critical differentiator, said Hamilton-Mascioli, because internal QA departments are often set up as a lab environment and Testlauncher’s team of testers can run an app through its paces on a broad ranges of devices from around the world from the perspective of an end user.

Another benefit for enterprises is Testlauncher’s ability to scale up quickly, said Hamilton-Mascioli. Internal QA teams are often idle, whereas Testlauncher can cost-effectively share resources across different customers. “We can push upwards of 500 hours of testing a day.”

According to CapGemini, the average spending on QA testing as a percentage of a company’s total IT budget has risen from 18 per cent in 2012 to 26 per cent in 2014, and is expected to reach 29% by 2017, driven in part by the growth of SaaS-based applications and the specific challenges posed by testing them.

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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