3 Key Components For Agile Contracts

Tax Day 2016 is quickly approaching. For many of us, Tax Day is one of those days we’d rather didn’t come around once a year. Some might say Tax Day creates stress and resentment, making us feel like we’re stuck in a contract that we didn’t negotiate, with rather inflexible terms we didn’t agree to undertake. All the more reason, we find ourselves appreciating the artistry and architecture of an Agile Contract.

So, put down your 1099 XYZ’s and take a moment to acknowledge the allure of a well-written, well-maintained, and well-understood Agile Contract.

1. Agile Contracts Follow The Spirit Of The Agile Manifesto

Conversation-Agile-ContractWhen the Agile Manifesto was developed, a key component was valuing “customer collaboration over contract negotiation.”[1] Of course, that is not to say that no negotiation should occur when establishing a contract, rather it should be a conversation between the two parties rather than a confrontational “my way or the highway” method. Framed as collaborations, these conversations should frequently occur, enabling an easy way to capture feedback throughout the duration of the contract.

2. Agile Contracts Understand Change Is Inevitable

Traditionally, many contracts are written with a Waterfall approach to project management. They are linear, sequential and bound by strict deadlines, leaving no opening for revision. This Waterfall method of contract writing does not take into consideration the realities of battling project constraints of time, cost, and scope that affect a quality product. In contrast, Agile Contracts are built on the foundation that if one of these constraints changes, the other two constraints must be flexible to change so not only is quality not compromised, but damages to both parties are also minimized.

3. Agile Contracts Aren’t Punitive

Collaboration-Agile-ContractThere is no “to the victor belongs the spoils” in an Agile Contract. When changes occur, the focus is not on determining which party is victorious or on crafting a way for one party to take advantage of the other. Rather, the focus is on reinforcing the collaborative working relationship between the parties. This collaboration fosters a flexible response to change. And this response gets the job done.


Even though Tax Day is anything but an Agile Contract, at least we can appreciate Agility when we have it in our work.

Looking to increase your know-how on Agile Contracts? We’ve got coaching for that.

As Always, Stay Agile.

Notes and Sources

  1. Beck, K., M. Beedle, and A. Van Bennekum. The Agile Manifesto. 2001.