Measure Testing Supliers Efficiency

Give examples of metrics to control the efficiency of the testing suppliers.

Questions by fmanhani

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The first question to ask is "Who supplies deliverables to a test team?"

Suppliers to test (varies across industries, companies, and projects):
1) Business analyst (or equivalent) provides functional requirements.
2) Software Development team provides the technical specifications.
3) Marketing provides branding requirements.
4) Legal provides End User License Agreement (EULA), copyright, etc.
5) Software development provides the software application. 
6) A builder provides the build to test.
6) Operations provides the test environment.
7) Partners provide content (if applicable)

What are the factors used to define supplier efficiency?
1) Does the supplier deliver on time? 
2) Is the deliverable accurate?
3) Is the deliverable complete?

Note:  It can be argued that items 2) and 3) are indicators of effectiveness.  Nevertheless, I will add them here as indicators of efficiency because they cause a test team to become less efficient as well as less effective. 

What is the weight of negative impact on the test team when deliverables are 1)delivered late, 2) inaccurate, and 3) incomplete?   For example, a Business Analyst delivering the requirements late may have much less negative impact on a test team than when the requirements are delivered on time but are not accurate or thorough.

This weight depends on:
1) The time it will take to recover from a particular deliverable gap.  Recovering from inaccurate or incomplete requirements will take much more time than recovering from a code error. 
2) The current time constraints on the test team.  For example, the test team will have more time to recover from deliverable gaps before test execution begins, but will be pressured to execute test cases in order to meet their goals during test runs. 

Assign a weight to each deliverable gap for every supplier.

This next step will be performed over several projects.  Document how your suppliers perform throughout each project.   If there are any deliverable gaps in 1) time, 2) accuracy, or 3) completeness, document how these impact the test team.  This will give you a feel on how to weigh these factors in the future.  

After several projects, you have a baseline from which to measure supplier efficiencies.  

Beyond this, you may want to begin thinking about contingency plans when things don't do as expected. 

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