Kurzor Stories #2: Why proper contracts matters

5 minutes read

If your business outsources web development, and you are not sure why you should waste time writing bulletproof contracts, this article can save you from a big headache. We learned it the hard way…

The excitement from our first big project

It was a hot summer of 2011. The only people at Kurzor were its three founders, trying to get new clients and make their new business successful. The usual project was a small website with a limited budget.

Then came inquiry for building a large portal offering language courses at discount prices. Finally, our break into complex projects! Two cool guys operated the company, so we got along with them pretty well.

This project was much larger than the previous ones, so we were pretty stoked and already planned our yearly revenue goals if the projects like this kept coming.

We quickly ironed out a contract, and because the initial specification seemed good enough, we dived in the production. At those times, agile development was still a new concept, so we started checking off items on our waterfall list. (Spoiler alert: Huge mistakes!)

Specification or implementation error?

After a couple of months at MVP delivery, we found out that client specifications had left out many functions of the platform or described them in very vague way. The client didn’t say it at the start, but they expected us to create and deliver them on our own, with a high level of precision on top of that. What a surprise.

And that is how the battle over what is a mistake of specification and what is a mistake of our implementation had begun.

It took us almost a year to finish what should have been 4 months. Our excitement from future revenues was long gone. Happy, friendly relationships seemed to be gone as well.

Key contract points to cover

It was the first project the client outsourced to an external company, and it was our first large build, so the errors were made and lessons learned.

The single biggest mistake and our lesson were not having a clearly defined contract ensuring that:

  • both sides knew without a doubt what should be the end result
  • how will the functionality be evaluated
  • how will be disputes settled

So if you are new to the outsourcing development, learn from our mistakes and save yourself some headaches.

Take the time to make sure everything is clear to both parties and write a well-defined contract.

The happy end

Maybe you are curious how this all ended. Luckily, it's like a Hollywood movie…

We delivered the portal, it worked, and we all sat together and talked about the mistakes that happened. After that, all the hard feelings and tensions slowly went away.

One of the owners from the client's side remained in the company, and we still work with him on his other projects 9 years later.

The second partner left the company and became an expert on tenders for large IT projects. Thanks to his recommendations, we won bids for several exciting clients.

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