Several of our clients have recently chosen to hire Senior QA/QCs in Vietnam. From here, testers work side by side with the developers for the same co-employer. Our experience so far is such a positive one that we want to share some of the benefits our co-employers encounter.
Developers, the testers themselves and Norwegian managers — all have had their say, and based on their feedback given in this article, the pattern is clear: these close-knit collaboration works.
Obtaining a permanent tester in-house is a simple and effective move to strengthen any software development ecosystem — in several ways. We have found 7 solid reasons:
- Free up time for the developers
Let the developers develop without having to do all the testing themselves. This is simple math, due to the slight (15-20%) pay gap between developers and testers.
The product is both discussed and tested continuously when testers and developers work together from day 1. This synergy makes it easier to reach sprints and deadlines, and provides a cleaner and ready-to-launch product earlier in the process.
- Less additional work
One bug detected immediately will stop many similar bugs from ever finding their way into the code.
- Positive team dynamics
Testers in Vietnam are often younger in age, and therefore possess superior English skills. Moreover, women are in the majority among Vietnamese Senior QA/QCs, which often have a balancing impact on the working environment in an otherwise male dominated industry. Also, no performance environment lose out by sporting a wider assortment of skill sets; someone on the football team has to play in defense as well.
- A fresh approach to UI/UX
Testers experience the product from a user perspective, and can thus provide constructive input on UI/UX all the way. In a co-located team setting, this happens far more naturally than if the tester sits remotely and only takes the role of correcting errors.
- Better profitability
It is far more affordable to have a Senior QA/QC sitting in Vietnam than in Norway. Moreover, when having developers already employed at FWH, expanding this team is extremely easy. The recruitment, onboarding and all paperwork is taken care of in Vietnam, which in turn saves the co-employers precious time versus hiring locally.
- Top shelf availability
Finding the right people can present challenges in a fairly small IT market like the one in Norway. Vietnam has great access to testers with all possible qualifications in both automation as well as manual testing. The country’s universities are investing heavily in IT, and the pool of skilled candidates is only getting bigger year on year.
How does this synergy work in practice?
Norwegian e-health company DNV Imatis doubled their number of QCs in Vietnam last summer, from one to two. They have joined up with eight developers, constantly sparring. Senior developer Tri is most pleased with the complimentary skills both QCs bring to his team: “Rose and Thao attack the software from the end users’ perspective. They provide support to product owners and customers along the way, think outside the box, like to present suggestions for UX, and really guarantee the quality from the get go. Also, they regularly rewrite the specs, creating a more detailed — and usually even legible — instruction!»
QC Thao confirms Tri’s review: “In addition to obviously being better than others at finding errors, we also detect gaps or faults in requirements specifications. The quality of the DNV Imatis products has, in all modesty, improved since I joined the team,” she says, smiling. “Because I’m taking part all the way, the developers and me will identify and fix problems together very early on. My angle on user experience also ensures that no one on the team forgets the most important thing: satisfied customers.”
The testers also give the development department more structure, which Thao´s QC colleague Rose emphasizes. She usually takes on the job of organizing the weekly schedule for the whole team. She has an insider tip to other teams: “Get us involved already in the analysis phase, long before implementation. Testers have a lot of ideas and input!”
Positive experiences in Norway
Sindre is CIO & CISO in the Norwegian Fin-tech company Noria. During spring 2021, they got QA Huy aboard their Noria Vietnam team, which today counts 12 people. Sindre has positive experiences so far:
“In short, the reason I want to have a QA locally is the importance of developers viewing QAs as direct colleagues and part of the same team — not a group of people sitting outside, merely controlling. QAs and developers have the same purpose and objective, but as a rule, they have complimentary skills to achieve their common goal. To ensure a communal feeling, it is essential that developers and QAs work side by side, enjoy lunch together, attend the same meetings, and are considered equal participants.”
He also explains that operating in the same time zone makes cooperation more natural, without challenges caused by a lack of shared hours. “It also means significantly faster lines of communication, finishing work faster as it can be verified right away,” he adds. “One of the positive aspects we discovered with Huy was that he acts as a link between product owners in Norway and the developers in Vietnam. Not least linguistically, but also functionally. He ensures that tasks are solved the way we want — and not necessarily as described. Developers tend to do exactly as told, not necessarily reading between the linses to seek the intention. It is even more important for us Norwegians, who may not be used to working with people who actually do as they are told — instead of doing what we really meant …”
Both sides of the table
QA Huy agrees with Sindre. Clear communication is an important task for him at Noria. Not least because of his superb English. “Before I started, there was reportedly little conversation between the QA team in Norway and the developers in Vietnam. The fact that I speak the same language as the guys therefore makes sense, even though the English language barriers are significantly smaller here in Noria Vietnam than what I have experienced elsewhere in Saigon.”
— Would you recommend other teams to bring in a tester, Huy?
“100% yes. I have worked as a developer myself, and understand fully that its tiring, bordering on demotivating, to start testing software you have coded yourself. Moreover, you are so used to the product at this stage that you develop blind spots, missing your own mistakes. And you might struggle to understand how the software comes across to a fresh new user. As a QA, I show a completely different attention to detail,” Huy concludes.
A changing industry
«Everything becomes a lot easier if you make things right the first time!» CEO of Facilitated Work Hub, Øystein Baeko, smiles coyly, then elaborates: “It helps to have testers on board from kick-off. It’s like sharpshooting with a scope, versus drawing from the hip. At the same time, recently hired QA/QCs must not become an excuse for the developers to skip their own continuous testing. Our industry is changing. We see more frequent releases than before. It takes an insane amount of manual stress-and-load testing to simulate a high user count, not to mention double-checking everything that worked well in the previous release. Thus, automation testing becomes essential. And the developers themselves should take care of it. They’re not quite done until they set up this automation run, if you ask me.”
“The testers take a user standpoint,” Baeko continues. “And not only on clean features, but also on aspects like speed and UX, which can be harder to grasp from inside the code. With a tester in the team throughout the process, the Product Owner has an insider at play. And the developers get the chance to discuss solutions with someone who actually understands the product. Larger teams should ideally have a subordinate P.O. in place here in Vietnam, and then preferably in the form of a QA. Someone who communicates directly with the P.O. in Norway.»
The fact that the tester has quality responsibility does not shed any responsibility from the developers, Baeko says. On the contrary; the tester will make the whole team focus hard on quality all the way: “In short, the testers should act as the opposite of a crutch. And that’s easier if they sit and work together, alongside each other,» Baeko insists.