Offshore outsourcing became an integral part of modern business efficiency. However, cooperation with another company can be accompanied by some risks. "No unforeseen contingencies" is one of our main principles of relationship with customers and partners. Here are several typical risks and measures we take to mitigate/eliminate them.
Risk 1: Remoteness
In this case our principles are "Communication, openness and collaboration". We widely use up-to-date communication channels (email, IMs, phone, VoIP systems). Also, software for collaborative work (such as online project management tools, remote team control systems, bug trackers, etc.) is very important to mitigate the effect of remoteness.
For the customers from European countries TestFort is a nearshore company (more in Outsourcing to Ukraine: Advantages of nearshore). As a result, business trips to each other's sites are actively used for processes adjustment, trainings, and general project supervision:
- there is no significant time difference (up to 2 hours);
- there are no visa restrictions ;
- we are very easy to reach.
We also have representative offices in France, Malta and Czech Republic to make collaboration with our clients more comfortable and smooth. In order to facilitate communication with North America customers we also have a representative office in the USA.
Risk 2: Security issues
These aspects are very important for successful cooperation. To mitigate/eliminate these risks we have been implementing and regularly improving our security policy which includes:
- Organizational measures:
- special trainings and meetings for workers and managers;
- regular top-managers' supervision;
- Legal measures:
- proper contracting;
- non-disclosure agreements (NDA);
- Technical measures:
- physical access: control of access to the office as well as to the computer equipment;
- access control: mandatory user identification and authentication, account management;
- networks, servers, Internet security;
- virus protection;
- If necessary:
- creation of a separate local network for a specified project;
- allocation of a dedicated server for a project;
- movement of the project participants into a separate room;
- direct work with dedicated servers on the customer's site (bug-tracker, application servers), and other.
Risk 3: Cultural differences
Ukraine is a European country. Western business mentality and business culture become more and more customary here. Many European and world standards are adopted as national ones.
TestFort QA Lab has been working with customers from the USA and the EU since 2001. We try to follow Western business rules. Regular visits to our customers' sites and close collaboration with their teams help us to successfully overcome any cultural barriers.
Risk 4: Different business processes
It often happens that in customer’s and vendor’s companies established different business processes. The measures to mitigate or eliminate it:
- comprehensive discussion and adjustment of managerial and production testing processes and documentation templates;
- if necessary, trainings for a project team on the client's site or at our office;
- a dedicated person on the customer's side to communicate/control/manage the project team;
- regular status reporting and everyday communication (chats, audio/video conferences);
- prompt discussion and resolution of all problems and discrepancies.
Risk 5: Different understanding of the requirements
Usually this risk is considered for software development projects. Nevertheless, careful planning, project preparation and unified understanding of all the tasks are vital for testing projects too. To reach such understanding we use:
- iterative approach in preparation and agreement of the requirements specification;
- formal and informal reviews at all stages of the project;
- check lists helping to ensure consistency and completeness in carrying out a task;
- close communication, permanent virtual customer's presence.
Moreover, flexible pricing schemes mitigate contractual risks and allow the customer to choose the most convenient and profitable for his/her company business model of cooperation.