Agile methods

IT projects require a clear and robust contractual framework. The traditional approach (Waterfall) therefore recommends to define the deliverable specifications within the contract, prior to its signature.

This traditional approach has the key advantage to delineate upfront the subject of the services to be provided. However, it removes flexibility which is a basic of IT projects. Indeed, clients frequently change their mind during the performance of an IT contract (changes in external requirements, identification of new needs through the review of intermediary deliverable, etc.).

In this context, the Agile manifesto was adopted, in order to promote project management that is more based on interactions between the customer and the supplier and that provides greater flexibility. Agile manifesto has been translated into project management methods which split the development phase into short cycles (sprints). During these sprints, client-service provider interactions are organized in order to assess the match between delivered work and expectations/needs. The Agile process also allows the customer to regularly update its needs and the list of specifications, so that the final deliverable is closer from the final expectations.

These interactions and the flexibility induced by Agile methods raise legal questions which have to be properly addressed when drafting and negotiating contracts. Indeed, “standard” contracts may present gaps or inconsistencies with Agile methods. This may result in unclear scope of obligations for the contracting parties (subject to interpretation) and dispute. The contract therefore fails to achieve its fundamental goal of legal certainty.

For an overview of some key points for Agile contracts, see the news here below:

The Lexing firm has among its members lawyers specialized in legal support for Agile projects (certification in Agile project management). They can advise you throughout your project, including in the event of performance issue.

In order to secure the use of Agile methods, it is recommended to reflect the Agile specificities in the contractual provisions.

For additional information on Agile methods and their contractual framework, you can download our free brochure.

The slides of the online seminar presented by Alexandre CRUQUENAIRE on June 2, 2021 on Agile methods are available here.

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