Trust and Communication

By Rex Black  |  Posted 2010-01-28 Print this article Print

Trust and communication

Successful outsourcing also involves good working relationships with mutual trust and open communication. Studies show that simply locating people on separate floors in the same building can dramatically reduce communication and relationship building. Having people located thousands of miles and half a dozen or more time zones away is even harder on relationship building and maintenance.

However, successful outsourcing requires that people actively nurture good working relationships across the organizational and geographical boundaries. If relationships are weak, trust is missing and communication is infrequent, every project challenge becomes harder to manage. In the long term, relationships sour and morale suffers. In addition to creating an emotionally unpleasant working situation for everyone, quality and efficiency both decrease.

Capability Maturity Model Integration

Successful outsourcing requires understanding what Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) does-and doesn't-tell you about an outsource vendor's capabilities. Properly applied, CMMI will lead to more orderly, consistent practices-which can increase quality and efficiency. There are those who use CMMI to improve their processes, reduce costs and deliver better software. That said, the jury is still out on whether there is a statistically valid and reliable correlation between CMMI levels and the cost per delivered KLOC (Thousand Lines of Code) or Function Point, or between CMMI levels and the reliability or defect density of the delivered software.

If that seems to contradict what I said earlier about some companies, my point is that it is a logical fallacy to say that, since some companies have success with CMMI, therefore every company that achieves a high level of CMMI maturity will produce better, cheaper software than another company with a lower level of maturity. Even Dr. Bill Curtis of the Software Engineering Institute, one of the fathers of CMMI, admitted at the ASM/SM 2002 conference that, when used purely as a marketing device, CMMI does not significantly improve quality or efficiency. So, if an organization says they are CMMI-accredited (at whatever level), dig further to see exactly what that means in terms of their daily practices, and look at solid metrics for efficiency and quality.

Rex Black is President of RBCS. Rex is also the immediate past president of the International Software Testing Qualifications Board and the American Software Testing Qualifications Board. Rex has published six books, which have sold over 50,000 copies, including Japanese, Chinese, Indian, Hebrew and Russian editions. Rex has written over thirty articles, presented hundreds of papers, workshops and seminars, and given over fifty speeches at conferences and events around the world. Rex may be reached at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel