India grabs outsourcing lead with project management

India grabs outsourcing lead with project management

What do you do to build credibility when you set out to sell your outsourcing smarts? If you're India, you adopt Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) for its project management practices.

India, which as a nation has been the quickest adopter of CMMI, has become attractive as an outsourcing destination not simply because it is a cheap alternative, according to Angela Tuffley, senior consultant at (Qld) Griffith University's Software Quality Institute.

Tuffley, speaking at the recent IT Project Management conference in Sydney, said by adopting the best practice framework for software and system engineering, India has overshadowed the rest of the world leaving other countries in a precarious outsourcing position.

"When India first became an outsourcer it wasn't enough to just say we are a cheap alternative, the country needed something to hang its hat on," Tuffley said.

"Its use of software CMMI has made it so successful that it is now outsourcing its previously outsourced work to other South East Asian countries like Vietnam, Thailand and China.

"[Indian IT firms] also have a culture of going by the book, and Aussies are not known for following processes; the US first introduced it [CMMI processes] as new territory but now defence contractors cannot do without it."

Tuffley said the use of CMMI processes keep IP knowledge gained from a project in-house and allow it to remain there once key staff move on to other projects.

It also enables smaller organizations to capture and maintain key elements of a project. Tuffley said it is about feeding reviews back into the organization .

"There is no guarantee you won't make a mistake, but when you do you will know how to fix it and won't do it again," she said.

Tuffley cited one example of an Indian IT firm which uses the CMMI framework for software development, where the process enabled the company to cut a defect rate of 0.02 percent per function point down to 0.009 percent.

Project manager at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), Gregory Whitbourn, said CMMI is particularly useful in the nuclear industry where expertise is rare and very dispersed.

A single solution, he said, can involve 100 contractors.

"We need to write enough papers to cover the important attributes to an extent so they provide the blueprints for everywhere to learn from both our mistakes and successes."

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