Aligning flexibility with uncertainty in software development arrangements through a contractual typology Academic Article uri icon


  • Purpose The motivation for this study is to identify a typology of procurement contracts in the context of software development projects that allows firms to align design flexibility with design uncertainty at the project level. The theoretical lenses of contract theory and software engineering are used (i) to explain why the five archetypes in the proposed typology provide gradually increasing levels of design flexibility, and (ii) to develop hypotheses about the associations between design flexibility and a set of project cost dimensions. Design/methodology/approach The hypotheses are tested with objective contractual data from 270 software development contracts entered into by a leading international bank over a period of three years. Findings Data analysis confirms the existence of the proposed typology and shows that design flexibility is negatively associated with control, and …

publication date

  • March 31, 2017