When hiring outsourced software testing services and software testing companies, you will quickly discover that successfully adding third-party QA services can be challenging. Here are three guidelines that will help you avoid miscommunication, lost efficiency, and the introduction of new quality issues when choosing software testing companies or outsourced QA testing services. For maximum continuity of quality and retention of institutional knowledge, broad information sharing between your existing QA leadership and the outsourced QA team is critical. Even if you believe the third-party services will be used permanently, it is important to document and exchange information regularly to avoid losing key knowledge if you do eventually part ways with the third-party team. Miscommunication is perhaps the greatest initial and ongoing challenge with your software QA services company. Without standardized terminology and shared testing principles, software quality efforts may be incomplete, misdirected, or overdone. Documentation and reporting of the software quality efforts must be transparent and clear. Turnover in the parent organization and the outsourced software testing team should be expected due to promotions and natural attrition. Quality documentation and reporting of the QA work being done – regardless of the testing approach – provides continuity and clarity as to the status, stage, and completeness of the software QA to date. All of the software QA services issues above have a commonality: communication. The best approach for each issue is to ensure that the outside software QA testing team and the internal team are using the same QA terminology and principles. The easiest, most cost-effective solution is to ensure that all testers in the QA services company are on the Official U.S. List of Certified Software Testers™. This means that they have proven their testing knowledge and communications skills using American English with a globally accepted QA body of knowledge. In the case of ISTQB certifications, it means that the testers have passed the ISTQB exam written by the American Software Testing Qualifications Board (ASTQB, ISTQB in the U.S.). Software testers on this list have demonstrated their commitment to communicating well with American companies and proven their knowledge through ASTQB’s official American English ISTQB exam. To ensure that the testers in your software testing services company have proven American English language and testing knowledge, add this language to your testing RFP. By doing so, you improve your odds of excellent communication and software quality and address the software testing services guidelines above. The testing services RFP wording will help you identify the best companies for the following: Software testing services Outsourced software testing Software QA services Software quality assurance services Here are three ways that you protect your company and your career when you require outside freelance testers and software testing company testers to appear on the Official U.S. List of Certified Software Testers™: The testers are more likely to use globally-accepted testing terms. Have you ever started a new job and stumbled over the new acronyms and “inside” language? Everyone does. This is why your current team should standardize their terminology to that used in the ISTQB glossary of software testing terms. Then require that your outside testers have ISTQB Foundation Level Certification at a minimum as proof that they know and use this terminology. (Here is some easy-to-use sample RFP language that will require ISTQB certification from ASTQB if you are contracting for outside testing services.) The testers are more likely to use globally-accepted software testing principles. Even if you use the same terms, be sure that you are also on the same page when it comes to testing approaches, testing techniques, and so forth. This will avoid confusion and allow for easier collaboration. ISTQB Foundation Level Certification is the gold standard entry point, and ISTQB Agile Testing Certification is a must for many companies. Advanced levels such as ISTQB Test Analyst Certification are essential for many teams. As noted above, require these certifications through your postings or RFP. If you ask for them, you will get them. The testers have shown their commitment to communicating well with U.S.-based teams. To appear on the Official U.S. List of Certified Software Testers™ a tester must have taken and passed the official American English version of their exam from ASTQB and our exam provider AT*SQA. If you utilize outsourced software testing or software testing companies, ensure they have proven their testing knowledge and American English language skills. This will help to ensure efficiency and quality. Requiring that the testers have passed ASTQB’s official American English ISTQB certification exam is a concrete way to make that happen. Set the standard of asking for QA companies to give you testers on the Official U.S. List of Certified Software Testers™. Ask, and you’ll get them – along with the benefits of improved communication, shared principles, and better, faster software processes and results.