How to Make a Clear Agreement With a Software Developer?

How to make a clear agreement with a software developer?

You want to develop software, but you do not have the expertise in-house. Then you hire a software developer. But what should you consider when making agreements with a developer? In this blog you can read five tips for making good (and, above all, clear) agreements.

1. Describe what activities the software developer will perform.

It often happens that parties sign an extensive contract, but it is not stated anywhere what work will be carried out. General descriptions such as '20 hours of development work' provide no guidance if no results have been achieved after those 20 hours. Therefore, discuss carefully with the developer in advance - and record this - what expectations you as a customer may have.

2. Analyze and mitigate risks

Contracts often, but fortunately not always, are very one-sided in favor of the supplier or the customer (usually the supplier). The result is that parties argue with each other about the conditions under which the work is carried out. Instead of such an approach, you can also consider emphasizing the project risks in the contract and agreeing on measures to limit those risks (as much as possible). In other words, if you have made good agreements about the design of a backup and/or fallback facility, the liability clause is less important.

3. Who is responsible?

In line with the previous tip, it is striking that many contracts do not specify who is responsible for what. To illustrate: the software developer will program the desired software, but also needs information from the customer. It is also obvious that the software developer ensures that his software functions, but correct operation also depends on the systems and infrastructure (internal network, connection to the Internet, etc.) of the customer. By making clear agreements about the division of responsibilities, you avoid discussions about who is responsible for the non-functioning or insufficient functioning of software.

4. An assignment does not create an owner

Customers (and sometimes also software developers) have the assumption that they become owners (copyright holder) once they have paid for the software development. But that is not correct according to the Copyright Act. The software developer is the copyright holder and the customer receives a license or right of use to use the software. If you, as a customer, want to become the owner of the software, a written transfer of copyright must be included in the contract with the developer.

5.Ask yourself whether customization is really necessary

Many software suppliers now offer standard solutions. The advantage of this is that the supplier only has to maintain one product and therefore costs can be lower. If functionalities are missing for a particular use case, custom software is often used. But how do you deal with the maintenance and support of that custom software, and what if the supplier wants to change its standard solution, making the customization no longer relevant? So this needs to be carefully considered. A good alternative to a custom solution is to expand the functionalities of the standard solution.