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  1. #1

    Service Level Agreement

    Hi everyone,

    I have been asked to come up with parameters for an SLA (Service Level Agreement)

    a) Test Quality
    b) Test productivity
    c) Reduction in resource/cost...
    The last point may not be actual reduction in costs it can be hypothetical reduction cost based on increased quality....

    Need help and pointer, industry accepted parameters... I would appreciate if you can reply to this posting or send me a sample SLA to my email address s_guduru@hotmail.com, s_guduru@yahoo.com.

  2. #2
    Moderator JakeBrake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    St. Louis - Year 2025

    Re: Service Level Agreement

    SLA between who or what types of organizations as in supplier/maintainer versus customer with whom the SLA exists?

    It makes a big difference in the content of the SLA. My SLA with my cellular service provider is going to be vastly different than what you would find in an SLA between an application hosting service and its customers, or an IT help desk and its customers.

  3. #3

    Re: Service Level Agreement

    Remember that the corrollary to SLA is penalty in relation to non-compliance / non-conformance. You have got yourself one hell of a rotten assignment my friend. The SLA is a contractual commitment to perform services to a specific standard, not some lofty reference to CMM-# level performance.

    Test Quality - typically related to the number of flaws remaining in the code that could cause it to fail in production. If you have any idea how hard it is to find all flaws, you will appreciate the potential for problems from this SLA item as, in their eagerness to land the testing contract, salesfolks are known to make outlandish promises that in this case are contracted in.

    Test Productivity - this is another gotcha, since a large component of the test productivity is the performance of the development organization when advised of program errors. You have to be very, very clever to define the "whereas and therefore" clauses that limit your SLA exposure in reference to work that is external to your organization.

    Reduction in Resource / Cost - typically refers to the charges for your services, but it can also be related to the support costs for the resulting software. How can you establish performance goals that ultimately will be used to limit what you can charge for your services?

    Asking you to come up with these parameters is an incredibly stupid idea, this sort of reference is what lawyers get paid the big bucks for. Alas, if your company is attempting to cut corners to save on lawyers costs that could turn out to be a big, expensive mistake. If anything goes bad you will be the scapegoat for defining the wrong parameter values and I bet you are not getting paid a bonus to take that risk, am I right?
    Frits Bos, PMP

  4. #4

    Re: Service Level Agreement

    Thanks Frits, You kind of summed up my issue at hand. I do agree the need for legal review before things get ratified. Is it not the operations folks the come up with straw man for the SLA based on the organizations expertise and maturity to deliver? I am kind of stuck in a place where the organizations has some of experience is Test related activities but not really in a managed outsourced model. I am trying to put a straw man together and try to pull in any best practices or experiences of the test community out here...

    All help would be appreciated.

  5. #5

    Re: Service Level Agreement

    Maybe some other people have more experience in the SLA aspects of testing: I have only seen SLA agreements pertaining to on-going operations that provide support, such as web hosting, as part of their service package. I am not a lawyer, so that limits my advice to a "beware" type of message. I suggest you bring this to the attention of your boss to make sure he/she knows the limitations of the kind of information you may be able to find on the web.

    However, another idea is to look at other firms. I am taking a stab at the possibility you are in India, or else have access to Indian web sites, where there are a lot of outsourcing firms. They have SLA documentation in place, and there may be government agencies that offer guidance in how to construct such documentation. At least if you can find a formal source like that you do not have to put your neck on the line, if you get my drift.

    Give it a shot, and share the results...
    Frits Bos, PMP



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