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Verifying Third-party Quality

By Rex Black

Suppose you went to a restaurant for dinner, sat down, and told the waiter, "Bring me dinner and a drink." You didn't provide any further details, though you had something specific in mind. What are the chances that you'll get the dinner and drink you expected? While no one would ever do this in a restaurant, it happens sometimes on projects that involve third parties.

If we have certain expectations and requirements for an engagement with a third party, those should be defined and clearly communicated between the parties. The best practice is to have that definition and communication before the project starts and to put the agreed-upon terms into the contract. If the third party is delivering software, then these requirements should include quality targets, including measurements of those targets. The measurements should be objective and not subject to distortions.

In addition to defining the requirements, the point at which those requirements must be met should be defined. This can be done by defining entry and exit criteria that establish quality gates for deliverables. Because these quality gates will control the start and end of project phases, they should be synchronized with the phases of the project and aligned with project schedule milestones. 

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Categories: Management, Test Data, Testing

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