Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Agile Contracts

:: Questions

Lately I've been curious about how one would structure an agile development team within a consulting organization which typically sells fixed-priced projects.
  • Can an Agile development team really work effectively when the fixed-priced contract, which governs the deliverables produced, is signed upfront before the project has started and therefore before the requirements have been adequately understood by either the consultant or the client?
  • Should a fixed-price contract be avoided entirely or can the incentives somehow be lined up properly such that both the consultant and the client have a large enough stake in producing the best possible outcome together?
:: Resources

I have scoured the web and found the following articles which deal with Agile development and how to structure contracts around it's development methodology:
:: Conclusions

In an ideal world one can try to structure an agile development methodology around a fixed-priced contract in various ways but most of them only work well when the project is running smoothly. As soon problems start occurring most of the contracts start looking like the wrong approach. Eventually when the rubber hits the road and scope starts screeping, money runs out and/or deadlines loom, something has to give and invariable its the agile methodology because fixed-price contracts are less malleable than the underlying development process. This would be all well and good unless the abandonment of core agile practises during an emergency period of the project did not have adverse effects... but unfortunately time and time again I have seen adverse effects push projects even further into trouble.


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:: Update

I recently came across a 44 page PDF titled Agile Contracts Primer