Open Source Legal Documents Part Two

Posted by Jason Dunlap

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The engagement agreement you make with your clients is one of the most important documents that you sign in business.

If both parties involved are not clear with the scope of the project, the results can be devastating.

Our engagement agreement is typically setup into two main parts. The actual agreement, then Exhibit A. I will go over both briefly.

The Agreement

What made the most sense to us was to basically keep anything related to the development of the project in Exhibit A. Then we keep all of the more legal, contractual stuff in the agreement. On the first page there are two main things I want to cover. These are the payment terms and timeline. Depending on your business type, a fixed fee could be horrible for you. Projects are dynamic and constantly change. With that being said, we typically give a range or estimated cost. We are adjusting our company agreement to be more Agile. It's important to let your clients know that things typically change, especially with requests from them. This brings me to the next thing to be careful of, the timeline. A fixed timeline could be problematic too. We typically either finish projects much earlier or later then a specific date. These delays can be from waiting on deliverables from client, change in scope, etc. My advice would be to give a specific date range for when the project should be completed. This is fair for both parties. The way that this agreement is structured, is that any changes outside of the initial scope must have a development modification plan.

Exhibit A - Development Plan

Here is where you need to spend time and be specific. List your deliverables and at most, five key features of the product. This will ensure that you aren't building a bloated product with a ton of features that no one will use. We always build products with simplicity in mind. Its critical to get user feedback right away and be able to make changes. If you plan on being more Agile, it needs to be specified in the development plan.

Hopefully these documents can help you out. We are giving back to small business this year and we mean it.

If you have any questions, I would love to help.

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