Contract for the implementation of a mobile application and a web application - what should it contain, what should be noted?

We find a client or, in an ideal scenario, he reports himself to us. We offer, negotiate, set the scope and date of implementation and it seems to us that you can start with the project.

Hola, hola! Come back! Is everything settled for sure ?! Nothing could be more wrong. When it seems to us that we are already on the threshold of the start, the most important thing is to sign the contract. I know from experience that a contract can keep you awake at night, and even not so much a contract as negotiations and "flipping" with legal provisions.

Each party strives to make the provisions as favorable as possible for them, but the old proverb says that "business is successful when each party is satisfied ..." In short, it means that the contract should be equivalent for each party and protect the interests of the Ordering Party and the Contractor.

Below are some points that are worth paying attention to when signing the contract.

Subject of the contract

The subject of the contract is the scope of work and specification for the contract. The specification should list individual modules and what functionalities are included in the implementation. It is necessary to describe in detail each functionality and the principle of its operation, because it will allow to avoid misunderstandings at a later time and will positively affect the smooth implementation of the project.

People responsible for communication in the project

An extremely important point, because there must be a Project Manager delegated to implement the project by Software House and the Employer. If there are many people responsible for the project on one side, it is only a matter of time when communication chaos will arise and each side will have enough of cooperation. No more than one person should be delegated to implement the project.

Work schedule

The schedule should include the time needed to perform the work on the part of the contracting authority, broken down into each module. Of course, the work will be proportionally extended by the time needed to respond and consult with the Employer.

If the project will be implemented in the Scrum methodology, this point should also be added to the contract, because this methodology has a significant impact on communication and work schedule. In the case of large projects, shifts are possible because many factors are independent of the contractor, e.g. issues that are the responsibility of the Employer.

What to do to have a positive impact on the work schedule? From my experience, the Scrum methodology will work. Thanks to regular meetings, we are able to work agile and dynamically adapt to changing requirements and circumstances. Work is based on regular Sprints (meetings), usually every 2-3 weeks. They consist of planning, execution and work review. However, I will return to this topic in a separate article, because it is very extensive.

Delivery of materials (files, descriptions, accesses)

An extremely important point, because it is difficult to start cooperation without a complete set of materials or, even worse, materials will be sent during the work.

I do not need to explain that this has a huge impact on the deadlines and work schedule. It may turn out that the lack of materials that from the customer's point of view may turn out to be of little importance, and are extremely important for Software House and affect the overall project.

Terms of payment

Payment terms should be in line with the work schedule. This protects the interests of each party. The client pays for what he receives and Software House for what he does. It is a fair approach to billing and each party can feel secure.

Each implementation should start with a prepayment for the implementation of the order, because the projects are long-term and many people are involved in them.

Payment deadlines should also be predetermined as programming work is very expensive and setting payment terms will avoid backlogs.

Transfer of files - intellectual property right

Depending on the settlements, files can be transferred to the ordering server after the completion of implementation or after each completed stage.

However, prior file transfer should be preceded by an invoice payment for the stage completed.

In addition, it is worth noting that the copyrights are transferred to the ordering party after all works have been settled. Which is equivalent to paying the last invoice. Until then, the contracting authority uses the software under a license.

Information on the prohibition of employing the Contractor's employees by the Employer

Usually, the subscription is concluded for a period of 3 years and is associated with a financial penalty in the event of employment of a contractor's employee by the Employer or a related company. It is also worth noting that it can be any type of contract. Not only an employment contract, but also a mandate or specific-task contract. What if the customer thinks there is no way to verify it? There are many ways to verify. E-mail inquiry to the Ordering Party or verification via LinkedIn.

Disclaimer of warranty defects

Why such a provision in the contract? Even if the Contractor makes every effort and makes the application based on the highest standards, the error may occur by external software and it is obvious that this is not a Software House error, as it has no influence on it.

Handover protocol

The protocol should be signed in writing after each stage is delivered. The second form is the provision in the contract that the payment for individual stages is the confirmation of signing the handover protocol.

How to efficiently conduct negotiations with the other party?

E-mail switching between the parties leads to the extension of the contract procedure and not infrequently without explaining the reasons for the misinterpretation of the comments.

The fastest and most effective method is to organize a working meeting between the two Parties, which will also be attended by the offices of the Contractor and the Employer and the most important provisions of the contract will be established.

Allow me to make two remarks apart from the main threads that I raised in the article above

Who is preparing the contract?

The contractor, because he knows market standards and has developed patterns that are backed by years of experience.

When should the red light come on?

When the contract is not equivalent for each party, and on the other side there are only requirements, e.g. contractual penalties, deadlines and unspecified points of the contract, which can be interpreted in any way.

The second point is "Non-competition" without financial compensation. Read: ban on projects for the same industry. Many customers consider their products to be innovative and unique on a global scale, and applause for him because he believes in the success of his product. The other side of the coin is that if we signed a ban on competition in the same industry with each client, after a year or two we could close the business and switch to an agritourism farm in the Bieszczady Mountains.

So much for the theory. One thing I warn you about is the use of generally available patterns on the Internet. I recommend using a law firm that specializes in copyright. Proven patterns and years of experience will pay off in the future.

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