So, you have a coffee ...

What to do about that contract?

As a contract manager I like projects to proceed with an agreed scope, clear sequencing,  milestones and pre-defined deliverables. I want a fixed price with things of value arriving at a planned date, ideally within this financial year.

Now I'm told that agile works through a continual process of review, in a series of small increments or sprints, and with requirements that may change as the project progresses.

Bam, my brain blew up! I can't do a fixed price but if I do time and materials we carry all the risk, and have to pay whatever the supplier delivers, even if nothing!

Let's think

What could make this work?

I need to balance creation and collaboration and allow for continuous delivery approach that embraces  change, with the provision of sufficient commercial  protection. I need to incentivise all parties to work together and take shared   responsibility for success.

Let's see, this is what I need to do:

Describe the interactions, not the plan: describe the interactions that will take place between the customer and supplier  to achieve the objective. 

Define clear quality standards: be clear on quality standards and thresholds, “definitions of done” and what level of defects are acceptable. It must be possible to hold suppliers to account for quality in a fair way.

Set out the commercial principles up front and manage through governance: describe  how risk will be shared and define a governance mechanism that  requires the parties to come together if speed or quality  fall below agreed  thresholds.

Define Outcomes; not requirements and specifications: requirements, and more so specifications, are specific and easy to measure and trace but they are often wrong or incomplete. Also, circumstances can change or new insights and learning can drive the need for change.

Outcomes are about what needs to be accomplished. They are concise and measurable but not specific on how.