Four Steps to a Successful Service Engagement

8- articleUsing an outsourcing firm with technical know-how and sound processes adds value from the very beginning.

Flexible outsourcing, in particular offshoring, can make the difference in achieving business goals within the boundaries of time and budget. Organizations rarely have a predictable, steady flow of work. Most test teams are under extreme pressure to get new products released and are working within highly compressed timelines. Hiring more staff is seldom an option, and even when it is, its time consuming, and even more so if when specialized skills or experience is required. Outsourcing, when used optimally, not only reduces the cost but also bolsters the existing processes and adds value in areas that are otherwise untouched. 

Organizations that are aware of the mindset and needs of current employees find better success in outsourcing. By knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the existing teams and identifying areas that need additional heavy-lifting, these companies are able to seamlessly integrate a strategic outsourcing partner into their existing ecosystem. Making internal teams aware of the rational for additional resources makes them part of the decision process and helps secure their buy-in.

Using a strategic partner provides a lot of testing leverage. Internal teams that do both the strategic planning as well as the nitty-gritty of day to day testing can take up the supervisory role of providing the necessary direction and ensure the operational success of the engagement. Using an outsourcing firm to provide the right sets of skills, technical know-how and understanding of the processes involved adds value from the very beginning and does not require a lot of hand holding. Following are the keys to maximize the benefit of outsourcing.

1. Don’t Think Cheap, Think Low-cost

There is a huge difference between low-cost and cheap. Reputable outsourcing firms hire and train qualified employees who are evaluated on both the speed and quality of their work. Looking for a sound internal structure and a robust business model in an outsourcing service provider is a great first checkpoint for any organization that is looking for a partner. You will want project managers and test leads that you can interface with on a daily basis who take care of overseeing the test teams.

The quality of a service provider can sometimes be assessed through their cost. Service providers that get into a bidding war rarely produce good quality output in the long run. Organizations that associate cheap labor to outsourcing often end up hiring the wrong teams and ultimately spend a lot of money for poor service. A quality service provider will be able to justify their cost through their past customer engagements, referrals and their expertise.

2. Service Level Agreements (SLA) Confirm Understanding

SLAs set the correct expectations for both the provider and the client and go a long way to establishing a good working relationship throughout the term of the engagement. Properly written SLAs will define roles and responsibilities for both parties as well as the deliverables. Good SLAs work for the benefit of both parties and even help avoid unforeseen issues.

3. The Third Arm

For companies new to outsourcing, internal staff can be wary at the start of the relationship and inadvertently cause delays by holding back information due to fear of losing their jobs or just plain lack of trust in the service provider. When engaging an outsourcing partner, organizations must consider the vendor as a third arm. By utilizing proof of concepts and automation trial services companies can quickly evaluate many important requirements such as technical competency, reporting, communication and, last but not the least, the value that the vendor brings to the table. The vendor is there to help and not hinder. For a vendor to perform better, the service seekers should provide access to all the essential systems and ensure that the internal team cooperates. The time and energy invested at the start pays off in the long run. Employees who feel their jobs are secure are seen as forthcoming in a vendor engagement and build the much needed relationship for a seamless integration.

4. Think Strategic Problem Solving Partners

Organizations should look for strategic testing partners that can solve the problem. Services providers are often found through word of mouth or referrals. Companies can also engage with service providers that are well known in the industry at international trade shows and events. The outsourcing project should start internally based on the business goals of your organization. Cash crunched companies that embark on an outsourcing adventure often end up spending months researching and talking to vendors to eventually find out that the project may not get approved. Also, sometimes the teams lose focus and deviate from the original path of the need for the outsourcing partner. This not only drains resources but also hinders them in the current duties. Organizations seeking service providers should establish the business goals at both the micro-level and macro-level as this will save a lot of time. A step-by-step partnership process ensures that the business level goals and application level requirements are all clearly defined for the vendor to start adding value from day one.


An outsourcing relationship is not a cheap alternative but a strategic low-cost partnership. Organizations should embark on the journey with clear set of goals and take their time in finding a suitable partner. The engagement process should start with a great conversation where the service provider’s knowledge and skills are assessed. Service level agreements establish a good understanding between the companies and outline the responsibilities of both parties. Organizations should utilize benefits such as proof of concept, and promotional trial services for automation etc., which will give them the time to assess the technical competencies of a service provider. Strategic outsourcing/offshoring can add value by aiding you in achieving your business goals faster, with no compromise in quality and without disrupting your existing structure.


Subu Baskaran

Subu Baskaran has over 11 years of experience in leading large, complex outsourcing projects both from onsite and offshore. He has a Bachelor’s degree in electronics and instrumentation engineering from Sastra University, India and an MBA from Cass Business School, London. He can be reached at

Subu Baskaran
Subu Baskaran has over 11 years of experience in leading large, complex outsourcing projects both from onsite and offshore. He has a Bachelor’s degree in electronics and instrumentation engineering from Sastra University, India and an MBA from Cass Business School, London.

The Related Post

A lot of people still think primarily about cost-cutting as the main motivation to outsource software development projects to offshore or nearshore providers. However, in recent years the industry has greatly evolved and many providers have greatly invested in the quality of their services.
 LogiGear_Magazine_December 2014_Talent_Sourcing_The_State_of_Outsourcing_Today
Rich or poor, rain or shine, hot or cold, chè is one of Vietnam’s most unique culinary offerings. Is it a desert? A breakfast? A snack? Chè, a variety of sweet soup, is one of Vietnam’s most versatile foods, consumed by the old and young, the rich and the poor. There are literally dozens of ...
BJ Rollison, Software Test Architect for Microsoft, is planning to speak at the Viet Nam International Software Testing Automation Conference 2010 (VISTACON 2010) hosted by LogiGear Corporation from 20 – 22 September 2010. Mr. Rollison started working for Microsoft in 1994, becoming one of the leading experts of test architecture and execution at Microsoft. He ...
Hong Mai has always been interested in computers since the beginning. She recalls having written her first script and thought it was amazing. “Writing a script and having it run successfully is a good feeling,” says Hong Mai. Hong Mai’s parents were high school teachers but have since retired. It was certain that their two ...
Ingenuity reigns as the Vietnamese prove that cars are second best when it comes to transporting heavy loads and entire families.
How can IT offshore outsourcing vendors in countries such as India gain knowledge of their western clients such that they become able to work more effectively for the benefit of their clients? This question lies at the heart of offshore outsourcing, but it is one that is often misunderstood.
Following highly sought out native-English speakers for teachers in Asia, are Filipinos. They’re strong presence in the US medical profession as hardworking and professional employees stand in equal measure within English teaching courses in developing countries. In the Philippines, English is the medium in which all courses are taught from the sciences to the humanities. ...
Introduction Global Test Automation is a strategy that integrates Manual Software Testing, Test Automation, and global resource strategies to maximize the benefits of Software Testing while minimizing the costs. For executives, there are 10 key points to remember when embarking on a strategy of Global Test Automation, which are enumerated in this article.
Today, many test team leaders must continue to successfully ensure the quality of their applications under test (AUT) while dealing with the increased challenge of having some or even all of their team members located offshore. This article, part 1 of a 2-part discussion, will take a look at the unique risks faced by a ...
Authors: Hung Q. Nguyen, Michael Hackett, Brent K. Whitlock Paperback: 164 pages Publisher: Happy About (August 1, 2006) Language: English Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches “Software is complex but I’m tired of finding bug after bug that a 5th grader would have turned in. Virtually every technical product these days includes a ...
Internet-based per-use service models are turning things upside down in the software development industry, prompting rapid expansion in the development of some products and measurable reduction in others. (Gartner, August 2008) This global transition toward computing “in the Cloud” introduces a whole new level of challenge when it comes to software testing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay in the loop with the lastest
software testing news