Focus On The Results: Scoping and Supporting Better Outsourced Partnerships

Executive Coaching: Smart Sourcing Transitions

The specialist know-how of an experienced Scope Manager affords the strategic CIO vital insight into effective IT-business alignment. While such insight is valuable for better management of in-house IT services, it is a key catalyst for brokering effective, results-focused outsourcing partnerships.

The smart business strategist will consult a knowledgeable Scope Manager as early as possible in decisions affecting IT sourcing. The lack of knowledgeable and independent input to key sourcing decisions can be shown to be at the root of many of the IT outsourcing issues apparent in business today.

The Scope Manager brings to the decision-making process significant experience of software-intensive systems which will enable a non-technical executive team to evaluate the options from an informed standpoint. He/she draws on many years experience in the IT profession to advise the Board on the implications of sourcing decisions, and will conduct feasability studies to provide evidence for the impact of pursuing a given strategy before significant decisions have to be made. As an independent expert witness, the Scope Manager is invaluable in assisting your executive team to make the right sourcing decision for your organisation – rather than one which is best for the IT supplier.

A successful outcome for your business is the only successful outcome for the independent Scope Manager.

Contact DCG-SMS Managing Consultants, experienced providers of Independent Scope Management advice:
+44 (0) 843-289-5174

Scoping Supply and Supporting Better Partnerships

Are you paying above or below the average for software development?
(Hint: if you don’t know, it’s probably more.)

Smart Risk Management

When you outsource ICT you are handing over stewardship of a key support service. With it goes a lot of knowledge of your business domain and your customers. The biggest risk is that these assets will be lost to your organisation and you may be locked into a supplier regardless of the performance levels the supplier delivers.

Of course, a good supplier will be seeking to provide a good quality service, but by engaging an Independent Scope Manager the customer retains informed management control of the partnership at all times, radically reducing risk.

The Scope Manager will also be able to assess the kind of supply you are looking for and give you guidance on pricing which will support really results-focused negotiations with potential suppliers.

Smart Procurement

Before engaging with potential suppliers, the smart customer will spend some time understanding what they really want from the partnership. This should then inform the contract terms and procurement approach to be used.

The Scope Manager will facilitate the management team’s understanding of the role of the outsourced function in the business value stream. This is necessary to ensure an intelligent procurement process which delivers the partnership the buyer wants.

Perfecting process performance Measuring Value: The Scope Manager will assist the management team in quantifying the strategic objectives of the business. By defining quantified objectives, the benefit and value delivered by outsourced services can be accurately measured in terms meaningful to the management team. This in turn enables activities to be aligned to the delivery of the desired outcome.

Procurement Readiness: The Scope Manager will facilitate the necessary studies, data collection and analysis to ensure the buyer has clearly defined and understood the scope of the service to be outsourced. The Scope Manager will work with the management team to ensure they are satisfied that they understand the role of the outsourced service in delivering value to their own customers and have confidence in their governance process. Competitive tenders can then be sought.

Smart Supplier Selection.
The Scope Manager will facilitate baselines of current productivity, quality and effectiveness against which to measure benefits delivered by outsourced suppliers. Independent capability assessments of preferred suppliers can also be conducted, providing the buyer with sufficient insight to make an informed choice of supplier.

Smart Contract Terms

Traditional IT contracts attempt to specify requirements in detail and monitor progress against prescriptive service level agreements. There is general agreement that this approach has not been particularly successful in delivering the desired business outcomes. This is hardly surprising, as the pace of technological change increases and the life of a software requirements specification gets ever shorter – without any commensurate reduction in the size or schedule of software projects. Back in 1982, Daniel McCracken and Michael Jackson observed: “Requirements cannot ever be fully stated in advance, not even in principle, because the user doesn’t know them in advance, even in principle. The development process itself changes the user’s perceptions of what is possible.”

If the buyer wishes to contract a specified service for a specified price, to deliver to an essentially stable set of requirements, a more traditional-looking service level agreement can suffice. The buyer should be aware that any changes to the specified set of requirements are likely to be costly.

If however the need is for a flexible and innovative supplier (or portfolio of suppliers) who will work with their client to identify benefits and deliver desired outcomes to the client’s business, a different contract approach is needed.

OUTPUT-BASED CONTRACTS define the commodity to be produced in terms of the output of the software development process. They provide an objective performance baseline which enables a joint management team to focus on aligning IT activities with the business requirements. The Scope Manager brings to this process the necessary expertise and measurement know-how to identify meaningful measures of output which will facilitate outcome-focused outsourcing partnerships.

Smart Performance Management

In a perfect process alignment, work flows continuously, piece-by-piece. Value is always delivered “just-in-time” without excessive stock-piling. Perfecting process performance in an outsourced context requires collaboration between customer and supplier.

A Scope Manager will work with retained IT and outsourced supplier teams to identify and prioritise improvements in the end-to-end development process. He/she will facilitate a constructive collaborative dialogue which works to discover and address the root cause of problems rather than resorting to an adversarial, blame-seeking approach.

Process management can incorporate compliance with established models and standards (CMMI, ITIL/ISO, etc.) if required.

The Scope Manager may also audit output measures and measurement practice to provide an objective overview of contract performance, thus pre-empting potential disputes.


Terms of engagement

Like any other professional service, Scope Management advice is there for the business to call on at need in accordance with agreed pricing schedules. The Scope Manager will not be a full time employee of your organisation. If you would like to engage a DCG-SMS Scope Manager for your business, please call us to discuss further how our expertise can support your strategic business goals.

Contact DCG-SMS:
tel. +44(0) 843 289 5174

Working in Partnership: The Trusted Supplier and the Intelligent Customer

What’s New

DCG-SMS Webinar: Outcome Based Metrics 9th July 2013. Alan Cameron considers how project metrics need to change to keep pace with today's approaches to applications development.
Register. >>

DCG-SMS Webinar: Contracting for Agile
17th September 2013. Susan Atkinson of Keystone Law considers how the approach to contracting for software needs to change to leverage the business advantages of Agile.
Register >> 

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