Agile Contracts: Effective Procurement

for Enhanced Project Success in the Entertainment Industry



By Sarra Messai

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Carrying great promises, Agile methods nevertheless imply rights and duties, which must be enshrined in an adequate legal framework; especially in an industry like the Entertainment where large risks are at stake, contract and trust-issues are numerous, and flexibility is a key to remain competitive. Thus, we will explore Agile contracts to evaluate their ability to cope with the main issues that often hurdle entertainment projects and be an asset to support projects within the entertainment industry. Throughout this paper we will consider five types of contracts; to rank those feasible alternatives, we will evaluate them using several criteria and undertake a qualitative and quantitative analysis. In the end, we will observe that Target-Cost and Incremental Project Delivery contracts stand out, as both strongly support the implementation of Agile methods, while being singularly helpful for Entertainment companies. Indeed, those two types of contract can be a shield against many pitfalls and foster some vital key success factors. In addition, we will study some best practices regarding performance monitoring. Ultimately, we will state a simple yet essential idea: where proper Contract Management goes, project success follows.

Keywords: Agile, Contract, Entertainment, Incremental Delivery, Target Cost, Risk, Flexibility, Collaboration, Project, Management


Agile contract. Those two words may easily seem utterly antithetical. On the one-hand contracts revolve around rigor and obligations, on the other hand Agile methods are all about iteration and adaptability. Thus, it seems hard to fathom what an agile contract could be.

Nonetheless, the legal area has not been spared by the Agile trend sweeping throughout every sector over the past two decades. Indeed, from start-ups to big size companies, from local to international businesses, it feels like everyone is talking about Agile and integrating those methods into their processes.

It all started seventeen years ago during a ski weekend in Utah. 17 software developers gathered to exchange ideas and try to improve the traditional Waterfall project management approach[1]. Inspired by the Scientific Method[2] of the 12th century, and determined to operate a shift in project management, they ultimately created the Agile Manifesto to describe the Agile philosophy, values, and principles[3]: “a focus on delivering value for customers, working in small teams in short cycles, and networked organizational arrangements rather than top-down bureaucracy and silos”[4]. And to this day, the adoption rate of Agile methods keeps growing[5], as explained by Stephen Denning: “The Manifesto remains a landmark in software development but increasingly also for management innovation more generally, a radical new way of managing business complexity”[6]. Three companies out of four (71%) report using Agile approaches for their projects[7]. In 2017, Forbes interviewed more than 500 senior executives around the world and the results are unequivocal; 92% said they believe organizational agility is critical to business success[8].


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Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Messai, S. (2019). Agile Contracts: Effective Procurement for Enhanced Project Success in the Entertainment Industry, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue II (February).  Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/pmwj79-Feb2019-Messai-Agile-Contracts-featured-paper.pdf


About the Author

Sarra Messai

Paris, France





Sarra Messaï is a young Project Manager and a former PGE Student at SKEMA Business School where she did the MSC Project and Program Management and Business Development. She has a strong international background since she lived in France, Brazil, and England.

After graduating from High school and passed her scientific “baccalaureate” with honors, she did a Preparatory class for competitive entrance into French Business School during 2 years in Paris. She integrated the “Programme Grande Ecole” of SKEMA BS in Management in 2015. During her time in SKEMA BS, Sarra also had several significant work experiences. She started from being President of the main Student Club of her school in Lille, then did an internship for an Oil&Gas startup in London and worked as a Project Manager Assistant for Publics Conseil in Paris afterward. She is now working as a Project Manager for a consulting company based in Paris specialized in Project Management and Business Analysis for IT projects.

Sarra Messaï lives in Paris, France, and can be contacted at [email protected], you can also send her a message via her Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarra-messai-57801312b/


[1] Jim Highsmith, for the Agile Alliance, History: The Agile Manifesto (2001). Retrieved from: http://agilemanifesto.org/history.html

[2] Dr Jaap Van Ede, Scientific Method: Core of all improvement methods (2017). Retrieved from:  https://www.business-improvement.eu/worldclass/scientific_method_process_improvement.php

[3] Agile Alliance, Manifesto for Agile Software Development (2001). Retrieved from: http://agilemanifesto.org/

[4] Steve Denning, Why Agile Is Eating The World (2018). https://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2018/01/02/why-agile-is-eating-the-world​​/#19ed085a4a5b

[5] Max Steinmetz, 9 Agile Statistics That Actually Empower Teams (2018). Retrieved from : https://www.targetprocess.com/blog/agile-statistics/

[6] Stephen Denning Updating the Agile Manifesto (2015). Retrieved from : https://www-emeraldinsight-com.ezp.skema.edu/doi/full/10.1108/SL-07-2015-0058

[7] Project Management Institute, Pulse of the Profession 2017 (2017). Retried from : https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/pulse-of-the-profession-2017.pdf

[8] Forbes Insights, Achieving Greater Agility (2017). Retrieved from : https://www.forbes.com/forbes-insights/our-work/achieving-greater-agility/