2000 - Volume 41 > Numéro 4

ISSN 0035-2969

Internal contract formalization in business and its limitsThe case of software design

pp. 719-746


Businesses are at the present time a place where there is a multiplication of internal contracts and a generalization of market reference. Such contract formalization is aiming to give greater responsibility to each operative unit as regards its costs, thus reducing waste. The study of the present case, relative to software design, reveals however the perverse effects of formalization and compartmentalization, likely to harm the correct running of software projects. In fact the success of these projects depends on a regular adaptation of software in order to integrate emerging needs or to resolve unforeseen problems. All software projects therefore lead to numerous amendments and successive contracts. However, the temporary close down imposed by these contracts prevents an informal redistribution of tasks and skills which are in fact necessary when trying to solve problems rapidly. The stability of contractual relations thus depends, on one hand, on the capacity of the parties to remain united in time for the correct running of the software and, on the other hand, on a regular adaptation of the contractual context in order to know the investments accorded to each party to carry out the project. Often confronted with the problem of excess in terms of delivery time and cost, it could be asked whether internal contracts are not just rather empty frameworks.



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