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Onshore/Offshore: What is the ideal testing mix?

What does your testing organization currently have for the onshore/offshore testing mix?  I was recently asked what the ideal mix of onshore/offshore testing mix.  My answer was…it depends.  From my experience, if you are setting up an organization from scratch, you want to have a higher onshore ratio in order to get the testing processes established.  I would think either an 80/20 or 70/30 would be a good start.  If the overall company embraces the offshore model 70/30 would work, but if it is the first time, then it would be a safer option to go 80/20.

From my experience, if you are setting up an organization from scratch, you want to have a higher onshore ratio in order to get the testing processes established.  If your organization has mature testing processes and either a solid testing partner or employees based offshore, you can be more aggressive.  A good onshore/offshore balance is 60/40 or 50/50.  I typically will move maintenance testing, automation testing, and manual execution testing offshore.

After the testing organization has been operating for 2-5 years, you can get more aggressive with the onshore/offshore model to help save costs.  Onshore/offshore testing ratios of 40/60 or 30/70 are achievable.  It requires solid processes and great communication to make it happen.

Can an onshore/offshore ratio of 20/80 be achieved?  I am sure it is possible but I haven’t seen it work effectively.  It would require a similar development and IT support organization.  I would also recommend that you have a partner in place that knows how to operate within a high offshore ratio.

There are many companies that use the onshore/offshore testing model effectively.  It takes most companies a little while to figure out what works within their organization.  Skills and budgets play a major role in determining the ideal mix.  The good news is there isn’t a wrong answer!

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