In Part I of this series, we identified
the gap between the expectations of traditional procurement specialists and
the realistic needs of the software development community and introduced a new "progressive
acquisition" approach that can help bridge this gap.
Part II provided a high-level description of how to modify
the traditional contracting process to fit a progressive acquisition model that meets the needs
of both acquirers and suppliers in a simplified scenario. We walked through the process of obtaining
a system, software product, or software service, through
legal contract, from an independent supplier.
In Part III we will begin looking at what actually goes into
a contract. First, we'll examine basic elements required for an effective contract, and then
look at hurdles that tend to get in the way of constructing such a contract. Finally, we will
see what specific content is required for the contracting approach we suggested in Part II,
and look at the reasons most companies use a centralized acquisitions approach. We hope this
information will help software developers obtain what they want when they negotiate with their
own organization's procurement and legal people, as well as with contractors/suppliers.
In this article, we describe conditions that prevail mostly at mid-sized to
large organizations. They typically have highly procedural acquisition
policies and processes that apply for all major acquisitions, whether it be
buildings, infrastructure, systems, hardware, or software.
1. ISO/IEC 12207
International Standard, Section 3: Definitions
2. Software Acquisition Capability Maturity Model, 1999: Appendix B: Glossary
3. Note: This article is not intended to offer definitive legal recommendations
and advice, since these vary from country to country and jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In practice,
all contract wording, whether "boilerplate" or specific to a contract, should be reviewed by
competent acquisition personnel or legal advisors. For a detailed discussion of contract law,
refer to legal texts on the subject that are relevant to the governing jurisdiction