Sourcing, Lightning and the Lightning Bug


    Dian Schaffhauser writes a very interesting article "Outsourcing Best Best Practices: The Sourcing Model for Clients from Carnegie Mellon" in the magazine part of this web site –

    Dian brings out the essence of sourcing models and maturity levels in companies when it comes
    to sourcing. Very useful information and right on target!

    Unfortunately, models like CMM, ISO-9000 fall into a "mechanical process" approach where a vendor
    gets certified for one of their processes (say, ISO-9000 for their own internal accounting)
    and advertises widely as ISO-9000 certified giving you the false impression (often by design)
    that their entire organization is ISO-9000 certified!

    Hope the sourcing model does not fall into this process trap!

    Whether it is CMM or the Sourcing Model, what is absolutely key is that the sourcing company
    and the vendor have the right communication skills to pull it off successfully!

    The vendor may be Level 4 CMM but still the software delivered could be way off the mark!
    There is nothing wrong with the process or certification but what people have learned painfully
    over the years, is that it is not technical skills or project management skills that make
    sourcing arrangements successful but COMMUNICATION!

    Whether it is IT sourcing or BPO sourcing, communication seems to be the one that makes or
    breaks the relationship!

    The sourcing company thinks it is an outstanding communicator, the vendor thinks that they have
    understood what they need to understand perfectly, but the very nature of communication
    creates problems.

    Human communication is inherently fraught with distortion. The more people you have
    doing the same communication the more the message gets distorted and misunderstood!

    You may have the process right but if the process efficiently implements a misunderstood
    requirement or implements a requirement that does not solve a business problem, guess
    who gets blamed? The Vendor! No sourcing company is going to stand up and own up to
    wrong requirements!

    For the Sourcing model to truly reach the highest levels both for the sourcing company
    and the vendor, they will have to first come up with communication mechanisms that
    work well for them!

    The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference
    between lightning and the lightning bug
    — Mark Twain