Friday 5 May 2017

Software Outsourcing Hacks (3/7) - Walking on Water

Welcome to Software Outsourcing series in PsiberTech Blog. If you are stumbling over this series for the first time, then I suggest you look here for the first and second post on this series. Now let’s get on with today’s topic

Walking on water and developing software from a specification are easy if both are frozen.

This is a famous saying amongst the development community and on a much serious note the quote also serves as a reminder about evolving requirements. Often requirements documentation forms one of the major hurdle while outsourcing software development and there are various reasons for that.

1. Realistically, companies can’t document entire system upfront.

2. Documentation is often subjected to multiple interpretations, so the outsourcing consultant may not be in the same page as you are (no pun intended)

3. By the time the project gets into motion, the changes to the external and internal factors happens so quickly and the documentation in no more relevant or complete.

4. Requirements tend to evolve, as the understanding of the system grows, several factors may be omitted or included thus making it difficult to freeze the requirement process.

From IT consultant point of view, changing requirements often brings in more effort not just in terms of man hours and changes to exiting development package, but also in terms of time spent in understanding and analyzing involved with changes requested. Hence, most consultants would refuse any deviations from the originally agreed requirements and often charges more for change control process.

In this tug of war between the outsourcing company and consultant, the actual essences of those requirements needed to deliver the system successfully gets lost. 

Documentation are often overlooked element in software development project and creates negative consequences while outsourcing software projects

Documentation Hack

1.Draft RFP can minimize requirement documentation issue, please read here about draft RFP.

2. It is vital to have some wiggle room for requirement evolution. Have a discussion with the consultant to ensure there is some variance included in the estimation.

3. A good IT consultant would be able to find the grey areas in your requirements and would be able to point them out to you and /or include that in estimate.

4. Only document the crucial elements of the project and let your requirements evolve using a brain storming session with the consultant.

That’s all for today, let me know your thoughts about documentation of requirements in the comment below. If you have questions regarding outsourcing your next project, please head over here.

   Srivatsan Aravamudan

   Telephone:+65 62689551
   Fax:+65 62689858
   Business Analyst - Snr Software Consultant.

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