When you are drafting your Software and Website Development Agreement, it is extremely important to have clearly defined development phases with deadlines included. When you are having a website developed for your business it is important that you know when different parts of your website will be functional. Your development phases schedule can set out the expectations of both parties and what each party needs to contribute or do at each phase. Expectation management is important and can assist both parties in making the experience of working together a pleasurable one.

Development phases

It is important to have a clear development schedule so that both you and your developer know what the expectations are.

The development schedule should generally cover the following:

  • what services will be provided in each stage;
  • how long each stage will take and what the deadline is;
  • what milestones need to be met for the completion for one stage; and
  • if the developer is charging per stage of development, what the relevant fees are.

Delays and notifications

If a development schedule is set out in the Software and Website Development Agreement, there should also be a clause in the agreement dealing with delays. This clause should set out the process that needs to be followed if there is a delay. Generally, if the developer is aware that a particular development stage may take longer, and a deadline cannot be met, the developer has a responsibility to provide you with reasonable notice explaining reasons for the delay and a re-estimated date of completion.

On the other hand, if you have caused the delays, for example, by not providing the required content, images or other material, then you will be expected to agree a new deadline with the developer. The developer may also request that you may additional fees if you have provided incorrect or corrupt material which has caused significant delays in the process.

As delays are a common cause of dispute between customers and developers, it is very important that this clause is included so that each party understands their obligations and rights where deadlines are unable to be met.

Acceptance testing

When you are drafting your Software and Website Development Agreement, it is important to set out the procedure for acceptance testing at each stage of the development process.

Firstly, it needs to be clear how testing will be conducted. This is dependent on the type of software and website that is being developed, and needs to be agreed between you and your developer.

Secondly, the clause should set out what happens after the acceptance testing. Generally, if you are satisfied with the testing results, you will be required to notify the developer in writing within an agreed timeframe, confirming that you are satisfied, and the developer can then proceed to the next stage. On the other hand, if you are not satisfied with the testing results, you are also required to notify your developer and provide an opportunity to rectify this.

Finally, if you were not satisfied with testing results, and you have provided your developer with an opportunity to repair it, and you are still unsatisfied with the testing results at the next testing stage, you may want to cease all further development and terminate the agreement. If you want to have the right to do this, it should be clearly drafted in this clause.

If different stages of development require a different acceptance testing process, it might be a good idea to set this all out in the same schedule.

Conclusion

Having a clear development schedule which sets out phases, timing and specifications, and an acceptance testing clause which sets out exactly how testing will be conducted, will help avoid disputes down the track between you and your developer. If you require any legal assistance in the preparation of a detailed Software and Website Development Agreement, or if you have any other legal issues associated with intellectual property or information technology services, contact LegalVision today on 1300 544 755 and speak with one of our experienced contract lawyers. 

Priscilla Ng

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