Today software applications are being implemented everywhere – from business organizations to academic institutes, healthcare, Government, defence, finance and other sectors. With more critical systems being developed for maintaining huge database and confidential records, software developers are rightly concerned about the security and vulnerability issues. In order to address this particular problem, many organizations have selected crowd-sourced bug detection as an effective strategy. As the name implies, crowd testing owe to the transcendence of mass opinion, resulting in more universal and real-life testing of software products.
Crowd source bug detection methodologies:
Crowd testing is an emerging trend of software testing, where testing is performed by a number of different testers from different places. Generally this does not involve any hired consultant or professional tester to carry out testing of the software. Rather, there is an organized strategy to include testers or researchers from all over the world, who are sometimes highly paid by the companies. Below are some of the strategies of crowd-source testing that are adopted by the companies in order to carry out real time testing with more variations.
Beta testing: This method of testing is carried out before the commercial release of software product and often preceded by a round of testing, called alpha testing. Beta testing is typically the last stage of testing, where the software product is sent outside the company for real world exposure. A free trial version download is allowed over the internet for having the feedback from the users. The advantage of beta testing is that it is performed within a specified time and monitored by someone in the company. But it is also true that when companies select beta customers for testing and assign them particular tasks, there are chances that they miss some crucial aspects, as the customers’ actions and environments are limited.
Crowd testing: This method of testing is earning much popularity over time, especially for mobile testing. It is not possible to create and recreate multiple user scenarios within the test labs, unless there is unlimited time, money and resources. Crowd testing is an excellent ongoing feedback loop outside the regular ordeal of in-house testing, which is able to provide much needed insight about the product quality. It can also find some new bugs in the products, those are otherwise difficult-to-find, if tested by different methods. However, generating a clean defect report with steps to reproduce and analyzing the user impact are not possible in this testing method.
Bug Bounties: Despite of frequent code reviews and security testing, it is difficult to unearth the particular security flaw. So companies are focusing on the potential problems or vulnerabilities. Big Bounty testing provides the people with the opportunity to find bugs in a product and win cash in return. This testing method primarily aimed at the researches rather than the testers. This is a win-win situations for both the companies and the researchers, since the researchers can earn money by finding out a security flaw, and the companies do not need to spend money for hiring full-time dedicated testers.
Bug Bashes: In this procedure, the developers, testers, designers, researchers, managers, documentation professionals and even sometimes marketing people are asked to exercise the software product in different ways they can think of. This will assure great deal of product use in short time and bugs will be revealed more quickly. The idea of Bug Bashes is to involve more brain power with ‘randomness’, simulating real-time crowd testing under more controlled circumstances with specific guidelines and timeframe. Testers are often rewarded with prizes and recognition in this time-boxed testing method.
Reliability of crowd source testing: Crowd testing is not a stand-alone strategy. It should not be considered as a substitute for traditional software quality assurance testing. The validity and reliability of crowd testing without the conventional QA testing is yet to be tested. Based on the survey report, it is evident that though the crowd testing is a powerful concept, its strength lies in the ability to enhance the power of established testing methodologies in critical strategic situations. This testing technique requires a blended model, where users and architectures collaborate to deploy the testing strategy. The impact of crowd testing is eminent for maximizing ROI and preserving the validity of enterprise application. This integrated testing method is ideal for addressing the growing need of industry for QA testing, without exceeding the cost parameters.
Future of crowd source testing:
Crowd testing is quickly becoming an effective method of testing. A recent survey has revealed that 37% of the respondents think that crowd source testing will drastically change the landscape of enterprise application testing. The use of this testing technique results in applications or websites that are able to function more successfully across device mediums and launch at a faster pace in the market. This unconventional method of testing is suitable for keeping pace with future industry trends. However, some of the respondents consider that potential security exposures, compromise of corporate image and privacy factors might act as the barriers to industry-wide adoption of crowd source testing. In spite of this prohibition, it is expected that crowd testing will keep growing in the coming years, since more and more applications are moving towards mobile web and businesses are more open to adapt modern technologies these days. Finally, the future of crowd source testing totally depends on the decision makers of the corporate organizations, who are yet to believe the power and capacity of this testing strategy.
Crowd source testing is rapidly growing as a new industry trend, becoming ubiquitous in the enterprise IT development organizations. This testing technique involves a community of testers, who utilize their own infrastructure and resources, ensuring better flexibility, cost effectiveness and quick turnaround time. It is quite a well-known fact that there is no limit to the types and quantity of bugs. Different methods of crowd source testing prompt more people to find newer ways of detecting and wrangling bugs. Crowd source testing is considered as a boon to software testers for alleviating their stress through involving larger user pool and simulating real-life environment.
Crowd source testing involves larger group of people in a random manner, instead of employing full time testers. Different methods of crowd testing simulate real world environment to detect the bugs more quickly.