Selecting the Right Service Provider
Selecting the right service provider
This brings us to the final factor for successful outsourcing: selecting the right outsource service provider. As I mentioned earlier, just looking at CMMI levels won't suffice. But even if you satisfy yourself that a vendor is mature, efficient and delivering quality, remember, as an investment prospectus would say, past results are not necessarily indicators of future performance.
In other words, just because a vendor has had good results on past projects doesn't mean they will succeed on your projects. Here are seven other questions to consider:
1. Who are the specific people who will work on your projects, how long have they been with the vendor, and what measures are in place to prevent turnover?
2. Does the vendor have experience with technologies, business domains and projects similar to yours?
3. Does the company have sufficient infrastructure to handle your projects?
4. If you anticipate growth in your use of the vendor, do they have the ability to scale up their staff without compromising the quality of their work?
5. Are the technical and managerial leaders of the company well-established in the field, with a good reputation and perhaps even a record of thought leadership?
6. Are the vendor's corporate culture, work habits and ethical standards consistent and compatible with your own?
7. Does the vendor have competencies in specialized areas such as testing or requirements engineering, or should you consider using specialist vendors for those elements of the project?
If all of this seems difficult and complex, keep two things in mind. First, even relatively small projects can have significant costs, especially opportunities costs, if they fail. So outsourcing is always a decision to be made with care. Second, in most cases the real efficiencies of outsourcing will only kick in after a few projects. Organizing for outsourcing success is worth doing well because, if you do it right, you only have to do it once. Once you have established a successful working relationship with an outsourcing vendor, you will find yourself reaping the benefits, project after project.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.