The contract standard presupposes that the work to realize deliveries and solutions takes place through flexible processes, where only the overall goals of a target image and an assumed scope in time and cost are specified at the time of contract conclusion.
In 2013, we drew up a new contract standard for flexible development: “The Dataforeningen’s standard contract for contract-based flexible software development”, called PS2000 SOL (Flexible Contract-based software Deliveries).
Today, many agile development projects are carried out on the basis of hourly billing where the customer takes responsibility for the result. However, there can be many benefits to implementing agile development projects based on a development contract, even if the content is not well defined in advance, as it provides:
- Shared responsibility and financial risk
- Clearly predefined division of labor between customer and supplier
- Clearly defined requirements to the preparation for establishment and approval of deliveries on the part of both customer and supplier
- A basis for the followup up of quality requirements for development services instead of only following up on the supplier’s hourly consumption
- Commitments with regard to capacity and estimation model
Commitments to capacity and estimation model are central, as they ensure a stable and adequate staffing on the part of the supplier, in combination with an estimation model that will contribute to the most efficient system development, based on well-documented experience.
The PS2000, and the PS2000 agile version that was launched in 2009, have taken care of many of the above bullet points, and experience with these contract standards has been good. However, they require an overall agreement to a defined extent, based on the customer’s requirements. The change process in the contract must therefore be used for later identified change requirements related to scope. In many flexible projects one initially defines goals and frameworks for the project as well as some of the highest priority needs based on utility. The details of other functional and non-functional needs are left to define until experiences with the first deliveries have been made.
In practice, the new contract standard will be an alternative between the two extremes where there is not a well-defined scope at the basis for a PS2000 contract on the one hand, and, on the other, where hourly billing without result liability is not desirable.