Opinion

Take the pain out of outsourcing

Software development is part of your investment in your business, so decisions to place contracts offshore should not be taken lightly, says Ross Bentley.

India-based developer NIIT has issued a practical guide to ensure successful offshore software development. Below are some of the key points. To request a full copy e-mail practical-guide@niit.co.uk

What to ask a supplier
  • What will be the costs involved?

  • What kind of arrangement will be best: offshore, onshore or a combination?

  • How will quality be ensured?

  • What level of professionals will work on this project?

  • Will the offshore developer's resources be scalable?

  • How will the project be managed?

  • What will be the reporting structure?

  • What are the delivery times promised?

  • What level of maintenance will the outsourcing company provide and over what length of time?

  • Do the cultures of the two companies match?


Nine ways to win at outsourcing
  • To gauge the offshore developer's capabilities, insist on a visit to their facility overseas

  • Select an offshore developer only if it has the SEI CMM Level 5 certification

  • Remember that price is not the key criterion for selecting one offshore developer over another

  • Ensure the offshore developer has a UK presence

  • In the contract, insist on a clause that addresses the responsibility for documentation, knowledge transfer and intellectual property

  • Appoint a core team with a project manager to oversee the entire project

  • Work out a detailed project schedule and monitor it closely

  • Ensure full buy-in from your senior management for the project

  • Set clear definitions of success and failure.

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This was first published in February 2002

 

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