The Essentials of a Custom Software Development Agreement

PublisherSol Minion Developmenthttps: softwareproject managementsoftware development

If you have decided to move your business forward with a custom software strategy, there is one element of the project that does not involve digital wizardry but is essential to protecting your investment, and that's the custom software agreement.

Unlike the terms and conditions printed in microscopic font size on off the shelf software, the custom software agreement between you and the developer spells out how the developer sells and transfers the software to you and how you will incorporate the software into your products, services, or processes. That's the basics. There is much, much more, and you need to stay engaged when this agreement is being prepared.

Must-Haves in a Custom Software Agreement

There is no such thing as a "standard" custom software agreement because the software is "custom." The scope of work, development process, testing, and other elements will vary depending on the design of the software.

That said, there are categories that need to be included. The content of those categories should be designed to reflect the unique nature of the project. Successful agreements call for mutual responsibility where appropriate, which promotes a teamwork approach to the effort. Full engagement by both the client and developer is an important factor in creating a win-win agreement.

The essential elements include:

  • Software Design and Development Processes. Scope of work, your level of involvement, how changes will be handled, timeline, and cost.
  • Acceptance Testing. What tests will be used, when, how will they be evaluated.
  • Intellectual Property Rights and Licensing. Who owns what, are third party licenses required, what licensing model will be used, will you have access to source code.
  • Software Installation and Integration. Who will do the work (development team or inhouse or both), how will technical issues be dealt with (and paid for).
  • Warranties and Indemnification. Terms of guaranteed performance, assurance that software does not impinge on the rights of third parties.
  • Support Services. What type of support will be provided, will the training be included, under what fees (if any) are applicable.
  • Termination of Contract. Nobody plans for failure but under what terms can the contract be terminated and what costs will be borne and by whom.

If you have a large IT staff or a Chief Technology Officer, the custom software agreement can be complicated, and if you or one of your team isn't versed in software development, it can be intimidating. There is, however, a way to develop an agreement that you fully understand and trust.

Don't Find a Developer, Find a Partner

What you need is a developer that understands business. Specifically, you need a firm that understands how each element of the system provides "lift" to the business's success. Sol Minion Development is that development team. We take a project management approach to each project, but beyond that, we've been there. We started as a single developer and built our business into a team of local talent who all buy into the idea that our projects have to provide a measurable contribution to our client's success.

Our own growth comes from being active in our business community. Our founder serves in the Tempe Chamber of Commerce (Chairman Emeritus), the 2013 Business Development Council, and has been recognized as Finalist 2015 Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year Award. We know what the right software can do for your business, and we are committed to being a part of your success.

Contact us now and let's discuss your ideas.

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