Managing Contracts for Outsourced Testing

Paul Gerrard, Gerrard Consulting

In large outsourced projects, the contractual aspects of testing are often poorly defined even though testing may be half the overall project cost. Why is this? Test activities may be split between the development organization, customer, and test outsourcing partners. When things go wrong, the test process and the contractual obligations relating to testing will come under close scrutiny. Unfortunately, many projects get their contracts wrong with regard to testing. In Paul Gerrard's experience, few organizations’ contract and legal experts know how to structure a contractual testing schedule that is fair, unambiguous, explicit, and comprehensive. As testers, we may need to help our own “experts.” Paul describes the critical aspects of a contract that must be included to ensure supplier obligations for testing are documented and will be met. He also describes a framework for supplier negotiations and proposal evaluation including examples from actual contracts.

  • Key aspects of well-written contracts for test
  • Specifying testing activities and results in contracts
  • Making contracts fair, objective, and measurable

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