Project Management

Managing Quality and the Contracted Supplier

Dr. Andrew Makar is an IT program manager and is the author of the Microsoft Project Made Easy series. For more project management advice, visit the website TacticalProjectManagement.com.

Outsourcing a project to a supplier and IT contract management is fairly easy to understand. Companies write contracts and suppliers fulfill them. The complexity is found in the terms and conditions, service level agreements, supplier responsibilities and defined project deliverables.
 
Quality management is just one of the deliverables that need to be defined before outsourcing a project to a supplier. The following recommendations will help keep quality management in mind before the company contracts with a supplier for services.
 
Recommendation No. 1: Ensure quality management is defined in the statement of work
If the organization is contracting with a supplier to deliver an IT product or service, quality management requirements need to be defined in the statement of work rather than a contract assumption. During the sales cycle, everyone provides smiles and promises before the supplier is selected and the contract is signed. During project delivery, issues, misunderstood expectations and requirement changes will often occur. To resolve any disputes, both parties look to the contract to clarify the agreement. In order to manage the overall quality of solution, quality needs to be contract deliverable.
 
An effective approach is to define the quality management plan, test cases, test scripts, defect logs and other quality management work products as…

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"If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts, he shall end in certainties."

- Francis Bacon