February, 2002

On February 13, the NJSPIN welcomed Dr. Michael D'Ambrosa back for a talk on Software Subcontract Management, or what is commonly referred to as the "N/A KPA." Dr. D'Ambrosa led a highly participative discussion that injected bit of fresh air into this most neglected aspect of the CMM.

The presentation began with a brief overview of the pros and cons of outsourcing and three questions to ponder whenever this option is considered:

1. DO we outsource?
2. Which pieces do we outsource?
3. Which vendors do we select?

Some of the insights that Dr. D'Ambrosa shared were:
-Although most companies outsource to some degree, hardly anyone within those companies know who is responsible for managing the outsourcing relationship.
-There are no SEI rules that companies at a particular CMM should only outsource with other companies of the same or higher rating.
-When writing up an outsourcing contract, it is important for the buyer to include provisions for reviewing and approving project plans. Adding such provisions to a contract later on, though not impossible, can be very difficult. (One big bargaining chip for the buyer in negotiating contract changes is the prospect of future business for the vendor.)

The free-flowing discussion among the 30 meeting attendees was such Dr. D'Ambrosa was able to cover only half of his presentation. By a consensus vote, Dr. D'Ambrosa will present the second half of his material at a future meeting.

by Robert Zotti