Testronic's Alastair Harsant discusses the benefits of cross-site collaboration, good communication and knowledge sharing
What exactly do you mean by the term cross-site collaborations?
Long before the uptake of smartphones and tablet devices, Testronic recognised the benefits of delivering multi-site solutions for clients requiring functional, compliance, compatibility and language services as well as ensuring that the communication channels are always operating between the delivery groups and client.
Vital to the collaboration is ensuring that we assign key staff to each testing group and identify one member of the team as the pivot point between Testronic and the client. Furthermore, due to the differing time scales when testing, experiences and strategies learned in areas like functional testing – such as who typically starts the process earlier in the test cycle – can be shared for the benefit of other services.
Why does it matter?
Testing is still a very people-driven environment when it comes to execution. Automation has and will continue to be an industry buzzword, but the necessity for talented and dedicated individuals who know how to test products is undeniable.
It is essential to have personnel who understand the fundamentals of testing and have an appreciation of the ‘bigger picture’ when considering timelines.
A workforce with an appreciation of the different genres in gaming that are also aware of relevant budgets and have experience in the challenges that games developers face can substantially increase the likelihood of successful games development. As mentioned previously, there is an abundance of sharing experiences and notes between each of our testing groups which is continually built upon with each cross-site collaboration.
Testronic works with a varied portfolio of technology-based clients and, over the years, has seen a steady increase of projects in the mobile industry. These are known for their short and intense test cycles – particularly when compared to the large, traditional console projects – and regular overlapping service requirements.
It is imperative therefore, when time and budgets are so precious, that testing time is used both efficiently and effectively. Appropriate maximisation of this can be achieved by collaboration and support among the test groups, as well as clear communication channels between the vendor and the client.
Is QA a big deal?
The image of games testing services in the industry, along with localisation, is gradually changing and being recognised as an integral part of the successful development process. This is not just in order to make a game that releases on time, but essentially to produce one that has every chance to deliver ROI and be a market leader.
For mobile releases with in-app purchase options, multi-territory and language specific requirements, it is vital to ensure that the game is compatible and culturally acceptable in order to attain a solid foothold in the market upon release.
Moreover, player retention rates are hugely important, so along with maximising short-term success, it is key to ensure that your current player-base is retained while exploring ways to increase it long-term. Having a technically robust game that works in all areas in regards to how you interact with it, is extremely important.
As the saying goes, content is king. Keeping this in mind, and the fact that the games market is incredibly competitive, planning wisely and working with a test vendor can help to gain a level of ‘control’ on what is ultimately a dynamic and unpredictable process.
The barriers to entry in the mobile market might be far lower than console, but there are still many pitfalls to avoid if you want to make money.
What has been the most exciting collaboration with a client?
At Testronic we are lucky enough to be working with some of the biggest names in the gaming industry; discretion being an integral part of our service, we are not in a position to specify whom.
Our long-term partners have their unique requirements, which we enjoy and excel in adjusting to. One of our successful mobile clients, who has exceeded one billion downloads, is a feather in our cap we’re particularly proud of. Both our companies have grown together, adapting and refining the testing processes with great results for both parties. The partnership works well and we are able to apply our experience to other clients and offer the best service possible.
We are particularly proud of our achievements and look forward to sharing our expertise with our future clients as we grow as a company.