Auditing Vendors Work and deliverables

Would you ever consider walking into the showroom at your neighborhood car dealership and buying a car without at least looking at it? Most of us probably wouldn't even consider turning over any cash without taking the car for a test drive, kicking a tire or two, and pretending to catch a glimpse at what's under the hood.

The same concept applies in the case of paying vendors for their work and deliverables; you should perform an audit to verify that the work meets all the documented requirements of the software project.

Of course, you wouldn't want to wait until the final phases of your project to ensure the vendor understands the project requirements and is conforming to them. Throughout the project you should conduct meetings with your vendors to ensure the work is progressing appropriately. You should also create and distribute documentation, such as performance reports, after these meetings.

Before a vendor can send you a payment request, you must ensure that the vendor has completed all of the stated requirements on the testing. Check out Chapter 12, in which we provide a detailed example in which the software project manager contracts with a vendor to perform each phase of the system testing on a software project. For such a vendor relationship, where the responsibilities include creating quality testing software, the audits would include making sure that a vendor

1 Performs all appropriate testing phases

1 Documents all issues discovered during testing

1 Assigns each issue a priority — low, medium, high, critical

1 Completes and distributes all required performance reports to the appropriate stakeholders

1 Creates and distributes the appropriate reports from the testing issues database

This list of audits will vary depending on what kind of vendor you're working with and the specific tasks the vendor has been given.

You may also conduct periodic inspections and audits of a vendor's work so that you know whether there is a problem long before the project is completed. These inspections and audits could be either scheduled or random — or both. You will also be viewing performance reports outlined in your communication plan.

No matter how you perform audits throughout the process, you must still perform a final audit at project closure before you formally accept the vendor's final deliverables. If you're the vendor, expect the client to perform an audit on your work.

The vendor audit could be something as simple as a checklist or as elaborate as a formal meeting with a presentation of all appropriate deliverables. See Table 16-3 for an example of data that you should capture in a vendor audit. This checklist is for a vendor company that's been hired to perform all phases of the testing for the software you've been hired to create.

Table 16-3 Vendor Audit of Software Testing for

Vendor Testy McTesty

Table 16-3 Vendor Audit of Software Testing for

Vendor Testy McTesty

Deliverable

Date Completed

Notes

Unit Testing

02/01

Two outstanding low-priority issues to be resolved by Technical Team by May 2.

Functional Testing

03/02

No outstanding unresolved issues.

Integrated Testing

04/02

One outstanding medium-priority issue to be resolved by Interface Team by May 15.

Volume Testing

04/04

Conforms to stakeholder requirements.

Testing Summary and Documentation

05/20

All documentation completed in appropriate format.

Testing Sign-off Sheets

05/22

All sign-off sheets completed by appropriate stakeholders

In this example, the vendor has several unresolved issues discovered during the software testing. Unresolved issues may be acceptable to you if you hired the vendor to expose issues so that your team could resolve them. If you hired the vendor to expose and then resolve issues, you may not want to sign off on the project. Your expectations would certainly have been outlined and agreed upon at the beginning of the project when you signed your contract.

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