Crowd testing is a software testing methodology that leverages a community of external expert software testers with diverse backgrounds and demographics from all across the globe. It differs from a traditional approach to testing, being carried out by a larger number of testers from different places rather than by a limited number of in-house testing professionals. These communities range from a few hundred to several thousand testers globally.
The Crowdsourced testing methodology is frequently used in mobile applications and game development projects by releasing cheap or free versions of products in beta stage. Large corporations could benefit from crowdsourced testing by simulating a large user base to understand usage patterns and get feedback, while ensuring that their applications run smoothly on a number of different devices, operating systems, browsers and language versions.
Presently, much of the focus is on exploratory crowd testing services, where testers analyze software for issues, bugs or defects based on generic guidelines and test cases. Testers usually identify issues in the most obvious places, but some highly skilled testers may uncover defects hidden under layers of the software. Through crowd testing, companies diminish the likelihood of leaving undetected the critical elements the internal testing teams might have missed during the internal testing process.
Most crowdsourced testing companies provide the platform and the project management framework for the testing cycles, including governance and legal structures. The crowd testing company also allocates a qualified project manager, to oversee the testing process.
Before the project’s start, testers are provided with detailed test plans, sample scenarios, tools, scripts and instructions. During execution, the testers document their observations and are rated based on the volume and quality of their reports, which will be the basis for their compensation and incentive structures.
Crowd testing should be considered additional, complementary testing prior to a production release, rather than as a self-contained activity and replacement to an organization’s internal testing team.