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An inside look into how we manage multiple vendors

05 January 2017
Bram Nawijn

Regardless of the preferred sourcing model and the mix between in-house and outsourced management, we believe it is important for companies to develop an effective operating model to manage multi vendor.

This structure will be required to support the integration of the communications technology portfolio with the wider IT eco-system and facilitate the interaction between external vendors and internal business units.

For us, the creation of such a model came over time through trial and error. It’s a framework that we're constantly revising and updating to match the needs of the businesses and projects we work with.

Our outsourcing partners, Maxcode and Dilato, are an integral part of this framework. We work together with Maxcode when we need to increase the capacity of our teams with new financial development talent that scales our current operation, or when we need to find development skills in technology areas where TJIP does not have prior expertise. Our other partner, Dilato, manages most of the functional testing and automated regression testing. They provide us with real-time access to key metrics related to TJIP’s SLA, the analysis and retesting of production incidents and defects, as well as an automation system that measures the status of the live systems we deploy - all areas that enforce our reliability as a supplier.

Also read: Multi-Vendor outsourcing [Whitepaper]

Defining the scope of the project

In any given project, we will start off in our particular operating model by having a Service Delivery manager from TJIP, an Architect from TJIP and a Consultant from TJIP meet with the new client. In this initial phase, we work with our clients to map out the scope of the project, as well as to bridge our understanding of the context with the business case the client has for the project.

Our goal is that within a few weeks, we will have defined a high level picture of the project vision, the required skill sets, the technology we’re going to be using, and the main requirements for the success of the project.

At this stage, we set up a small internal team that takes on the following activities. This team will later become the management team for the development process.

Scope analysis

The team works to define the general boundaries of the project, establishing key areas of focus, assessing what team members are required and setting up procedures for how completed work will be verified and approved. The documentation may be referred to as a scope statement, statement of work (SOW) or terms of reference. During the project, this documentation helps the project team remain focused and on task.

Technology investigation

  • High-level architecture
  • Defining the main technological plan, technology stack, the architecture of the final solution.
  • Project planning
  • Even though we employ the Agile methodology, this initial step ensures high-quality planning.

Project kickoff

The project team is now comprised of a Service Delivery manager, an Architect, a Quality manager, Developers, and an Analyst, all from TJIP, together with the Dilato QA team.

During this first phase of development, we focus on creating a prototype. This allows us to test and validate technical assumptions and potential development paths, as well as to offer our clients a chance to review and analyze key project components.

We use this initial period of 1 to 2 months to define the requirements of the team and we introduce the first of our vendors - Dilato. As the project takes shape and the first backlog of requirements is being defined, the team at Dilato starts planning and implementing a testing framework.

By the time we have our first official deliverable, the quality assurance process is already set up and the testing framework is operational. This allows us to scale up the software development team, knowing that quality assuring processes will already be in place and that tests will be running as we increase the speed of development.

Ongoing project

Once the initial prototype is in place, we start growing the team and setting up the structure to deliver the final project. We find the best internal talent available for the project and we involve Maxcode, our second outsourcing partner, to provide the missing team members.

Furthermore, Maxcode has a team assigned solely to TJIP projects that can be scaled up whenever a new set of skills or expertise is required, all under Maxcode management. We put a high emphasis on collaboration and delivery and we use virtual collaboration platforms to integrate our team at Maxcode with our day-to-day operations.

Regardless of their location, team members are present at meetings, virtual or physical, and they work towards a common goal.

If you’d like to find out more about the specific steps that we undergo when selecting vendors and what our vendor management strategy is, download our Case Study On Multi-Vendor Outsourcing For The Financial Industry.


Also read: Multi-Vendor outsourcing [Whitepaper]

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