The 3 Phases of Mobile App Testing Every Company Goes Through

This week, Head of Marketing from Global App Testing, Nicholas Roberts, shares his invaluable insight into the various mobile app testing challenges businesses may face. Global App Testing helps companies scale QA testing using a crowd of professional testers. No matter where a business may be in the development process, Global App Testing can help.

When you’re developing your app or first starting out, the process of testing can often seem like something you tack on or do with everyone at the company. Later, as your company matures, you realise that you need to put some investment, processes and thought around delivering a quality experience for your customers.

As you start to lead your industry and become more stable, it becomes clear that you need to devise a world domination strategy.

We’ve seen so many companies, big and small, go through this same trajectory and we finally put a name down to each of the phases in the upcoming book, QAOps. Pioneer, Defend and Dominate are the three phases that define the stages each company goes through as they develop their mobile apps and deal with different testing needs.

Phase I Strategy: Pioneer

QA is often low on your list of tasks and priorities during the Pioneer stage. Testing consists of everyone grabbing their devices and giving the app a bit of a thrashing with no clear QA owner. When everyone is responsible, no one’s responsible. At the same time, it’s not uncommon. You have to move so fast to keep up with the market that you wait to until problems arise to fix them. Like any problem, though, the longer you wait to fix it, the bigger it gets. Young companies often just want to find the critical issues keeping them from releasing their app or next update, getting users to keep coming back to the app, and/or getting good reviews on the app stores.

The tools and types of testing companies need in the pioneer stage are primarily flexible (because things change so quickly) and don’t require a lot of resources (chiefly time and capital) to implement. They don’t necessarily need a lot of scope; they really just want to make sure they find the mission-critical bugs that might impact their release or App Store rating. That’s why pioneers often take the same route and won’t hire a dedicated tester in the early days: they can’t justify the cost of an additional employee.

app testing bugs in code

Top strategies for companies at this point:

  • Work on identifying the most crucial parts of your apps and created user flows for them to track
  • Investigate working with a QA partner like Global App Testing to advise you on what you can do to be bug-free before your next release
  • If you “dog-food” (that is test with people who aren’t testers but work at the company) your app, make sure you test as much as possible!

Phase II Strategy: Defend

Now that you’ve made it past the Pioneer phase you’re more likely fitting into a small to mid-size company size with a relatively stable product. Small- to mid-size companies (even Facebook was at one point) usually have a stable product. They’ve created their ideal user flows (a.k.a., “happy paths) and they’ve written a number of test cases. They have structure. Now, they’re looking to speed up time and the overall process of development without compromising their QA.

That is, they want stabilize their growth. With an established user base, known user flows, and sufficient resources, defenders in phase II often begin to look at investing in QA processes and tools that will allow them to optimize their current testing needs as well as scale for the future.

automated app testing

Top strategies for companies looking to defend:

  • Hire full-time, in-house testers to help fill immediate testing/QA needs
  • Invest in crowdsourced testing to help scale growth opportunities
  • Automation testing (although the upfront investment can be quite steep)

Phase III Strategy: Dominate

You’re mobile app is doing well, you have a large user base in your region and you’re finally ready to build the monster company you were destined to build. Logistically, there are of course problems with just executing this kind of strategy and thanks to the proliferation of the internet and mobile devices, going global in today’s market can almost happen from day one. But this isn’t just about going global. This is about truly capturing an entire market by studying consumer decisions in the area, benchmarking competitors and ensuring you are building exactly what the consumer wants in each individual market.

If that seems like a massive undertaking, consider the BBC. Not only is their market segmented by tech but by geography, culture, and language. Imagine pushing quality software on Android, iOS, and the web not only in the U.K. but Uganda, Uzbekistan, and the Ukraine.

Facebook just hit two billion monthly active users—over a quarter of the world’s population. To grow any further, they have to increasingly look to underserved, segmented markets. And, in order to do this, they need to work with the local people in these markets to understand their needs.

This is where mobile app testing quality really hits a stride because it requires localised knowledge and skill to determine the best approach.

audience segmentation app testing

Top strategies for global growth monsters:

  • Test where you need your users to come from
  • Work with a testing provider who can source not only the people but the devices as well
  • Identify your top competitors and find ways to beat them

Not every company will fall into one of the three phases. In fact, I can hear people thinking in their heads right now that they are the exception for this. And, it is mostly true. Although, it is not that they are not in one of these phases but rather, more broadly, they are straddling multiple parts of the phases. We’ve tested over 6,492 apps and only a handful haven’t been in one of the three phases. So, as a reminder, here are the three phases:

  • Pioneer: where you look for structure
  • Defend: where you look for stability
  • Dominate: where you look for growth

Want to know more? Head to the Global App Testing website or contact them directly via

Want to find out more about optimising your app and keeping up with the latest OS capabilities? Make sure to subscribe to our Mastering Mobile Marketing video series. You can also get in touch by visiting the Contact Us page. Follow us on LinkedIn, chat with us on Twitter @yodelmobile, and join our #mobilemarketingUK LinkedIn group

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Smokehouse Yard, 44-46, St John Street, London, EC1M 4DF 🇬🇧