Saturday, November 24, 2012

Agile Contract Scan

This is part 2 of 2 of a post on Agile contracting. Part 1 is called Top Ten Reads on Agile Contracts.

A lot of publications on Agile contracts handle payment models or topics for the contract but not the mindset it reflects. When starting a new Agile initiative however, wouldn't it be nice if the contract would reinforce the Agile mindset as well? In this post we suggest elements for a scan you can use to assess a contract. Involving stakehoders in such a scan will spring improvement ideas that they will themselves support.
The basis for this scan are Agile principles and values . In previous posts we talked about the Agile Manifesto and the Manifesto for Software Craftsmanship as value systems that can be used for this purpose. We talked about six XP practices for maintaining stability on a daily basis and XP’s Bill of Rights. We also introduced the Nokia Test as a set of prerequisites for a team to be Agile. Furthermore RUP has 6 key principles that group twenty-five patterns for Business-Driven Development, OpenUP has four core principles grouping twenty-four practices. Using these value systems we devised a set of Unified Principles for Iterative and Agile IT Development. Since contracts often form the starting point of and provide direction to IT development initiatives it makes sence to use these Unified Principles as a startingpoint for an Agile Contract Scan. Using these values we came to the following list of statements about a contract to assess its support of an Agile way of working:
  1. The contract reinforces that scope is negotiable.
  2. The contract reinforces that self-organizing, hybride teams are formed.
  3. The contract reinforces embracing of change.
  4. The contract reinforces openness and transparancy.
  5. The contract reinforces a continuous focus on improving the teams effectiveness in delivering business value.
  6. The contract reinforces iteratively delivering a usable, production quality (part of the) solution.
  7. The contract reinforces that it will be adapted on a regular basis.
  8. The contract reinforces that costs and benefits are weighed on a regular basis to guide decision making.
Let every participating stakeholder assess the validity of each statement on a scale from 1 to 5, 1 meaning 'I totally disagree' and 5 meaning 'I totally agree'. Furthermore let them pinpoint parts of the contract to underpin their assessment of each statement. Then bring all stakeholders together, discuss the results and come up with improvement suggestions as a group.

Tell us what you think. Any comments and improvement suggestions to this post are more than welcome.



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