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Technology Information and Project Management:

Offshore Technology Capability :

Technology is a great enabler and technological infrastructure is the foundation on which delivery capability for successful outsourcing models are built.

The vendor's technical expertise should be thoroughly scrutinized. Substantiate vendor's claim with case studies. Personal visit to vendor's site will help to understand their technology set-up. The offshore facilities must be scalable to meet immediate project needs.

Offshore team's adeptness in different technologies and their level of willingness to acclimatize to latest technological developments contribute significantly towards successful and timely project completion.

Quality Concerns:

QA forms an inherent part of any offshore project. Coding standards followed and third party authentication denote vendor's commitment towards continuous improvement and attempt to meet world-class quality standards.

  • Coding standards:
    The coding standards used by vendor should ensure accomplishment of quality guidelines set by you, alongwith easing maintenance and understanding of project at a later stage. The coding standards to be used depend on programming language used for coding. The Software Development Standards (SDS) document should list out all the coding standards that an offshore vendor is expected to follow during the project.

  • Certifications :
    The quality of deliverables that can be expected from vendor can be assessed from their CMM Level and ISO certifications, a pointer towards the standard methodologies and practices used. Find when was the last assessment done at the offshore location? Carrying out a small pilot project will indicate the importance attached to quality by the vendor.

Project Management:

Ineffective project management can end up in offshore venture being a costly affair rather than being a cost saving endeavor. It entails looking beyond the technical forte. Project management, by taking care of the following issues, should ensure timely project completion within the expected budget alongwith desired deliverables.

  • Change management:
    Your endeavor should ensure that the concept of outsourcing IT offshore goes down well with members of both teams. Change management involves predicting hurdles, like resistance from employees, et all that may emerge during subsequent stages of offshoring and adopting measures to overcome such constraints.
    Success of this phase is an important pre-requisite to smooth transition phase.

  • Transition management:
    Outsourcing proposal should include the framework for transition stage. First phase of transition involves knowledge transfer related to various internal procedures and processes & involves a systematic documentation of all transferred technologies, applications, tasks and procedures to be followed. Training the offshore team for the technology transferred comes in second part of transition.
    Factors like project intricacy and size, maturity of processes followed, the work environment, et all decide the time for complete transition.

  • Relationship management:
    Having single point of contact at both ends go a long way in nourishing the offshore business relation. The project managers from both teams should be at the center of all communication between the two teams. Outsourcer's project manager is responsible for double-checking that the project progresses along the desired line.

  • Resource management:
    Vendor should be capable enough to scale up his resources, both infrastructure and personnel, as per project needs. Having multi skilled personnel adept in multiple tasks would be an added advantage. Vendors, especially those following global delivery model with an onsite or offsite team, offer additional advantage by ensuring project continuity in case of any catastrophe offshore.

  • Communication management:
    Sustenance of an offshore relation depends, to a large extent, on the nature of communication taking place frequently between the teams. The vendor should have requisite telecom and Internet facilities to support direct and indirect interaction. A robust communication infrastructure is the backbone of efficient reporting and tracking structure.

  • Tracking & Reporting:
    Tracking entails monitoring the project's progress periodically by the outsourcer. For effective tracking, work out a coherent system which assures systematic flow of information between the two teams.
    Standard reporting mechanism includes having a well-defined communication protocol. Periodic visits to offshore site would get you the first hand review of the project's progress. Use online tools for fast and real time reporting.

  • Performance Measurement:
    Vendor should agree to the framework of performance measurement outlined in contract. Techniques employed should ensure conformance of project's progress with standards and procedures defined in SLA. Recommendations for continuous improvement in procedures and standards should ensue this stage.

  • Risk management:
    Contingency planning is an integral part of project management. Security measures to tackle issues like preventing data tamper, maintaining confidentiality of data, et all should be decided and implemented upon from start.

Effective project management should create such a blend that the offshore project appears as a unified venture.

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