In public IT procurement, the current trend is to favour agile implementation methods. This should be reflected in the bidding process and the final contract. Agility in IT projects means that the goal may change along the way and this can also affect schedules. Invitations to tender with fixed schedules and very well-defined functionalities are all too common. Strict schedules and precise operational requirements do no facilitate agility. In this regard, lawyers should develop new ways of controlling contracts or accept that an agile project inherently contains more uncertainty than the traditional waterfall model. On the other hand, customers should understand that choosing an agile method requires more from customers than the traditional method. In agile delivery, the customer cannot wait 9 months for the supplier to bring them a complete system. Instead, they must attend meetings every two weeks to determine the direction and functionality of the project.
In general, acquiring a large IT system is difficult and risky. Procurement law does not particularly support good practices in IT system procurement, but careful preparations and investing in both the bidding process and the actual contract can facilitate successful procurement.
Arto Lindfors is a lawyer at Fondia, specialised in IT related matters, and has been involved in the drafting of the IT2018 terms and conditions.