Rainforest QA adds exploratory option to crowdsourced testing service


Rainforest QA Inc. is expanding its line of crowdsourced software testing services with an exploratory testing option that leverages an elite group of testers to dig up problems that are difficult to surface with prepared test scripts.

The company is one of a growing cadre of software testing firms that leverage the collective brain power of an army of human testers scattered around the globe whose activities are coordinated by software. As described in a profile on SiliconANGLE, Rainforest QA uses “an algorithmic system to parallelize testing and input the results into a data pool that can be easily read by the client.” When using predefined test suites, the company says it can typically deliver results in less than 60 minutes, which is much faster than most software organizations can match internally.

However, not all bugs can be anticipated, which is what exploratory testing is all about. That approach uses skilled testers who work with little direction to build and iterate upon test suites. The intent is to discover bugs that elude structured testing approaches.

Rainforest QA Exploratory leverages an elite group of about one percent of the company’s more than 50,000 human testers. Unlike standard regression testing, exploratory testing matches a specific group to each project as successive tests are performed. Rainforest QA’s tracking technology enables members of these SWAT teams to be identified, said Russell Smith, co-founder and chief technology officer. “One of the key bits of magic is that we rank testers globally,” he said. “We know what they’re good at, and we can elevate the best up to be extraordinary testers.” The results of exploratory tests can be used for more focused regression testing.

Crowdsourced software testing has grown in popularity as an efficient way to accomplish tasks of limited scope using widely dispersed groups of people with common skills. Smith said Rainforest QA, which was launched in 2012, has grown 15-fold over the past two year. Among the more than a dozen other companies that offer such services are uTest.comusertesting.com, mob4hire.com and 99tests.com. Spare5 Inc. uses the approach for data cleansing.

Rainforest QA’s core clientele are software-as-a-service and other commercial software vendors. The company trains and coordinates testers on its website. About 6,000 testers were active on a recent weekday. “Hiring an internal team gives you no scalability,” Smith said. “You’re bottlenecked by how many people you’ve hired. We can give you on-demand testing when you need it without your having to manage the process yourself.”

The company charges an average of $5,000 per month for Web regression testing.

Photo: James Cridland via Flickr CC