Does compliance with rules ensure better program performance and accountability? Since the 1980s, many scholars have answered no to this question, arguing that as managers attempt to comply with a growing thicket of rules, they often lose sight of the performance of their agencies and programs. Even the defenders of a rules-based approach have tended to view it as a necessary, though inconvenient, means of ensuring that democratic values and public rights are protected in the functioning of government. But does compliance with rules inevitably result in a loss of efficiency and effectiveness in the performance of public projects? This essay presents a case study of a public works project and three additional case summaries to demonstrate a theoretical proposition that compliance with rules for contracting and competitive selection of contractors can be an essential element of both a project’s success and its accountability.