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Art and Logic - outsourceguide (Page 9)

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Art and Logic - outsourceguide

How to Develop Software Better and Faster:
A Guide to Strategic Outsourcing
Art & Logic
software engineering and design
Characteristics of good
as defined by Prof.
Joseph Demasco of John Hopkins
University, Whiting School of
Engineering, 2000.
The key to a successful partnership with an outsourcing firm is clear expectations,
open communication, accountability processes, and teamwork.


The most often cited reason that software projects fail is inadequate definition of
requirements. Often, your company understands better than anyone else the purpose
or need for the software. Take the time to define the scope of the project as
accurately as possible. You may find that identifying the requirements is more difficult
than you expected. Allow the outsourcing firm additional time and resources to
research the project requirements and prepare a thorough scope document on which
you can sign off.

Internal projects are rarely adequately documented. In outsourcing, both the task and
the performance level should be defined. Agree on the specifics of what role each of
you will have in the development of the project. Scheduling, budget, and deliverables
should be clearly stated. A comprehensive understanding of your goals and their
relative priorities is crucial. Although the initial stages of any software project can be
time-consuming and challenging, clear expectations result in superior products.

Once you have completed all the preliminary arrangements, focus on clear
communication for the remainder of the project. Designate a project `champion' from
your company that will be the single point of contact with the outsourcer's technical
lead. Maintaining a consistent information exchange increases the quality of the end-
product and reduces delays and confusion. Your key internal staff member should
plan to interface with the outsourcing firm for weekly technical status meetings and
be available to answer daily questions. Agree on a preferred format and anticipated
duration for updates and stick with it.

The champion should also consolidate feedback from your internal stakeholders so
that the instructions to the outsourcing firm remain focused. Projects lend themselves
to different levels of involvement but open, honest communication ensures your
project will proceed smoothly and without surprises.
330 North Brand Blvd.
Suite 280
Glendale CA 91203
Phone: 818-500-1933
Fax: 818-500-1533

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