The contracting world is rapidly changing in response to this high paced Digital/Agile transformation. And the sourcing community is actively exploring the different ways & fit for purpose Agile contract models.
In spite of the best intentions to support the Agile transformation, we observe – two key anti-patterns in the market, that slow down or impairs the progress of the shift towards the Agile contract models.
1. Old wine in a new bottle or the contract model is a mere adaptation/change of names but a replica of the old model
2. New jargon (and tools) was introduced but no mindset change
Three prominent reasons for these anti-patterns are :
- Vast experiences & successes in the past with the traditional contract models. In many instances instead of best practices reuse becomes more of carrying a heavy backpack.
- This is new and with the fear of the unknown, getting perceived as not done & dusted yet, so not for me thinking
- Organizations are in the mid of the transformation journey with some of the ideas that might seem or be perceived as not practical yet, due to which often good ideas perceived as “Not for Us“
To successfully overcome these anti-patterns and to tackle these reasons, the new way of contract has to involve not only the focus on contractual clauses, risk mitigation, follow up of the contract, etc., but an important factor to interleave in the day to day thinking & working – the mindset change.
The new way of contract has to involve not only the focus on contractual clauses, risk mitigation, and follow up of the contract; but an important factor to interleave in the day to day thinking & working – the mindset change.
While there are many very good artifacts, articles and contract models available, we strongly believe that in a world where change is the only constant thing and rapid adaptation to change is the key to success, an Agile contract manifesto, can be one of the keys connecting the dots or the GLUE.
The Agile contract manifesto has been drafted with the aim of serving the global Sourcing community (CXOs, Head of Procurement/Vendor Management, delivery teams, service providers, Agile coaches….) as a lighthouse. The approach was to co-build it by-the-community and for-the-community. The Manifesto aims to highlight the core identity of any agile contract by defining a set of values and principles. It is based on the ethos that a contract must serve execution/delivery, not the other way round. At large, it’s a reflection on what it means to be an agile vendor and an agile customer.
A good analogy can be the scrum framework and agile manifesto. The Agile manifesto doesn’t talk about any process, practices, role, or ceremonies, rather it has key values and principles that enable an agile mindset. All the practices, roles, ceremonies of the scrum framework are well aligned with these principles; and that makes scrum an agile framework. Any framework that adheres to the agile manifesto is an agile framework. The same may apply to agile contract frameworks OR any contract for the agile delivery; if it is aligned with the Agile contract manifesto, it is an agile contract, else it may look like one, but in reality, it’s not. During the pre-contract inception phase itself, the Agile contract manifesto can be referred to and would act as an enabler to foster the agile mindset in contracting.