Maintaining Outsourced Development Quality

Many firms that outsource want to reap all the savings from cutting costs on developers without accounting for the additional overhead they’ll need to manage developers who aren’t right down the hall. All the informal code reviews, requirements clarification, etc. that was done real-time and face-to-face must be made explicit and conducted remotely…often across multiple time zones. Furthermore, the project management performed by the outsourcing company is done for the benefit of the outsourcing company, not one’s own firm.

This overhead can only be ameliorated a bit with tools and technique: there is effort inherent in making inarticulate or tacit knowledge explicit. My heuristic is to add from between 25 and 33 percent more project management effort (beyond the typical in-house estimate range) to such projects.

From my comment on a long-standing LinkedIn post, this one on outsourcing QA.

How can cloud computing help transformation projects?

I commented on a LinkedIn post re: cloud and “innovative” financing models. My take was that:

I’m wary of getting too close to full capacity on any potential constraint, as it means we can’t respond quickly enough to a potential business requirement. Zero slack often becomes a rationalization for a zero change or “we can’t do that” mindset.

Also, per David Kerr [a fellow commenter], the idea that the cloud will solve “speed bumps” driven by topics external to the project is dubious. If nothing else, you have to have this specific contingency in place during the project contract discussions. You’ll then have to navigate the flood of change orders that will cascade from invoking that contingency mid-project.

Thomas Otter on HCM SaaS/On Demand Procurement

If you’re involved with SW procurement and aren’t following Thomas Otter (@vendorprisey, Gartner blog here, personal blog here), then please do so.  I saw his post on HCM SaaS/On Demand negotiations (here) and silently nodded my head in agreement.

As SaaS HCM deals come up for renewal, and procurement gets involved, it is now crystal clear that most HR departments have been contracting for HCM software without IT procurement involvement. One of our findings is that most of the time, HR departments are rather poor negotiators.

If you’re a Gartner client, then check out the research note (here, subscription required).

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