Improving Vendor Quality 
From- Joe Larizza 

Joseph (Joe) Larizza is a Quality Manager, for RBC Dexia Investor Services. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Toronto Association of Systems and Software Quality and is an Advisor to the Quality Assurance Institute. He is a Certified System Quality Analyst and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics. 

Vendor Quality - what does it mean to you and your organization? Many of us today are dealing with third parties whether overseas or just around the corner. The software solutions that are delivered to us are key to our overall businesses. How may of you have experienced delays caused by the headaches of third party code? These delays can have many root causes such as poor requirements or a lack of understanding by the third party. 
This article will address what we can do specifically around testing to help increase the quality of third party code and reduce unwanted delays. There are many options and opinions regarding the quality of vendor code or lack thereof. Albeit not all vendor code is of poor quality; however it does imply room for improvement and the guidelines suggested here, applied with a little common sense, can make a difference. 
This article will focus on structuring pre-acceptance testing, but the work done here has paybacks for the overall quality of the delivered code. 
Often the contractual arrangements between the organization and the third party specify a certain level of quality that needs to be delivered. If the code does not meet the specified criteria, remedies are often prescribed. Invoking these remedies is not a preferred option because they may involve time delays, haggling and sometimes a souring of the relationship. The ideal option is that the code is delivered up front with a much higher level of quality and this can be achieved by working together. 

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