This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of The Rational Edge E-zine on-line magazine, copyright 2002-2003 IBM and Max Wideman.

The Rational Unified Process (RUP) is a rigorous software development process advocated by the Rational Software Corporation.

The downloadable PDF file of the paper on this site is the one prepared by the Rational Edge editorial staff with the special assistance of Ms Marlene Ellin.

Published here August, 2003.

PART II | Recap | Elements of a Valid Contract | Impediments to Successful Contracting
Progressive Contracting Overcomes Impediments
Advantages of Centralized Procurement | PART IV


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,[1] through legal contract,[2] 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.[3]

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 of Terms
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
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