Can anyone point to some links or books which provide some recommendations relating to how third party companies can be managed during integration testing phase?
We have working with a partner company for over a year now and have found theor development process lacks maturity.
Here are some of the things we have had to contend with:
- No professional test team
- Test Environments are not baselined - they invalidate our tests cycles regularly
- Requirements are not scoped - changes are written down in an email and added to the code very close to the live date
- If they use configuration management we have yet to see any sign of this. Code is not baselined.
- Defects are hidden from us
- They fix their defects are do not alert us which result in new failures during out testing.
Prior to working with them, I would have thought IT teams like them did not exist!. The added problem we face is that the Project Managers at our side seem to let them away with this lack of professionalism and this is seriously affecting morale of our testers.
Has anyone dealt with this type of working relationship before, and if you have, can you supply me with some pointers on how things were fixed.
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Prior to working with them, I would have thought IT teams like them did not exist!
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Someone in your company either didn't do their homework, or simply doesn't care about the issues you have listed.
Possible ways to get these issues fixed include
- ask the partner company directly to do things differently
- have management on both sides discuss the issues and possible solutions
- find a different partner company
I think the problem stems from the fact that the supplier is severely under-resourced and does not have the skills or time to fix their environments or development process. This issue also appears to be compounded by the fact their operations people are unwilling to understand the real need for following a proper software development process or the problems associated with not following a correct process. Our business people (and theirs) frequently change their mind about what goes into the release right up to days before the live date. Imagine testing software developed against that kind of culture! [img]/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
Both parties understand there are significant costs associated with the numerous delays, releases getting pulled at the last minute, damage to reputation etc but nothing effective is done to stop the problem.
The managers at our end are not perfect in managing them either. I no longer manage testing teams and do not get involved with fixing things, however it appears our senior managers are not strong enough to force change with the people from the business who pull the strings. Various Project Managers have escalated the need for things to get done better but nothing ever happens. Its a bad state of affairs and I feel my testing team members will eventually move on as a result.
Personally I think we should start being heavier-handed with them but this would not be supported by our operations and business people. Perhaps some staff secondment from our side to their side would at least help them better understand the correct way? Maybe a Business Analyst and an experienced tester? They could then be educated about need for scoped releases, documentation, proper configuration management, release candidates, release management etc. I fear suggesting secondment, however, in case I get sent over and end up banging my head off a brick wall and then strangling someone! [img]/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]