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fixed-price testing

Outsourcing testing related risk

Organisations try to outsource operational areas and projects for a variety of reasons. A key objective is often for a specialist outsourcing company to take responsibility for a significant element of risk at a fixed price.

Specialist companies will readily fix price provided the client company can give them something meaningful to fix on. This raises interesting questions when outsourcing testing, as testing will always be part of a wider project or programme of work. Outsourced testing is not the same as independent testing, as the desire to outsource risk will often result in a different demarcation of roles and responsibilities. At its worst an outsourcing approach can result in frequent and acrimonious negotiation relating to who is responsible for testing overruns. At its best outsourcing will add significant value as a result of the risks relating to overruns being either avoided or minimised.

This presentation was presented at the EuroSTAR conference in 2002. Areas covered included common pitfalls, how to draw the boundaries when fixing price, and the use of automation frameworks to reduce the impact of key risks that are outside the tester’s control.

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