9 Replies Latest reply on Oct 7, 2013 6:39 AM by RubenVanDenBoogaard

    Assurance for my client


      From time to time I get to work on a big project as an independent FileMaker developer. For the first time in my career I'm teaming up with another independent developer, because the project is too big to handle just by myself. The only obstacle that stands in the way right now, is that my client requires some form of assurance, so that the project will be completed and supported, even when we are not be able to.


      What I always do with every project, is to make sure there is proper technical documentation. Projects are always well structured and accommodated with instructions and additional information for the developer. I make sure that the details of the project are clear to anyone may take over from me in the future. Often I get hired to continue development of the FileMaker solutions I've built in the past. When that's the case, it doesn't take me much effort to continue where I left off, even when I don't remember the specifics of the solution. In this situation however, my client states that it's not enough. Someone needs to be able to take over the project in case we are not able to and provide this in writing.


      Two questions: What are my best options to accommodate my client and provide some assurance? Which organization or person might be able to help out?


      —— Dutch version below ——


      Zekerheid voor mijn opdrachtgever


      Als ZZP-er heb ik van tijd tot tijd een grote opdracht in de ICT. Nu sta ik voor het eerst samen met een andere ZZP-er op het punt een grote opdracht binnen te slepen. Deze ZZP-er komt in beeld, omdat de opdracht te groot is voor mij alleen. Het enige obstakel is dat de opdrachtgever een borging wil, de zekerheid dat het project voltooid en ondersteund wordt, ook wanneer wij om wat voor reden weg zouden vallen.


      Wat ik sowieso bij iedere opdracht doe, is zorgen voor goede technische documentatie van het project. Projecten altijd gestructureerd opbouwen en voorzien van instructies en aanvullende informatie. Verder houd ik er rekening mee dat er voor een opvolger duidelijkheid moet zijn. Vaak is het zo dat ik na een lange tijd opnieuw voor dezelfde software oplossing word ingehuurd. Dan kost het weinig moeite om de draad op te pakken. Voor mijn opdrachtgever is dit in deze situatie echter niet voldoende.


      Twee vragen: Wat zijn mijn opties om een bepaalde mate van zekerheid te bieden? Welke organisatie of wie zou mij hierin van dienst kunnen zijn?

        • 1. Re: Assurance for my client

          Teaming up equally with another developer really needs for you to have a contract that clearly deliniates who is responsible for which parts of the project.  Or else, one developer should be a sub-contractor to the primary developer.  I personally recommend one developer be the primary contractor and the other be a sub.  That makes it clear who is making decisions when issues come up.  Equal partner developers without clearly assigning roles is asking for conflict and problems. 

          • 2. Re: Assurance for my client

            Never having been in the situation you're asking about, I can only suggest possibilities. However, perhaps you can find another firm that would be willing to take the project in "escrow". In other words, you provide them with access to the source code (clones of the databases), along with the full access account information, to be used only in the event of your and your partner's incapacity, death, or direct authorization. Otherwise, you have no control over the source and no protection for what you've developed.


            This really, IMHO, needs to be looked at by an intellectual property attorney. Such contracts can be difficult to negotiate without such assistance.





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            • 3. Re: Assurance for my client

              This is a matter of 'incase I die'. (not that I wanted to say that)


              I have a relationship with another developer who has me as his backup plan and assurance for his clients. AFAIK he has my details with his will.


              I have my master password lodged with my company accountant... and a link to the FM Consultants list.


              One of these strategies might suit your circumstances.


              As far as the relationship between you and the second developer, I agree with Taylor & Mike. Sub contract to him so there will never be a power struggle between yourselves. I sub-contract to other developers all the time. They take a %age of what the client is charged for the management and I take the rest. Works well... as other developers working in the city have much more contact with potential clients than I do. ;-)


              - Lyndsay

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              • 4. Re: Assurance for my client

                I agree. I am the primary developer. It's my client and the other developer is a sub-contractor.

                • 5. Re: Assurance for my client

                  The way I work is completely open, based on mutual trust. All source code, passwords and technical information is available to my clients at all times. My point of view is that it's the responsibility of my clients to understand they have enough assurance already. They can to turn to other developers, at any time, in case I quit the business, or something else happens that makes it impossible to me to finish or support the project.

                  • 6. Re: Assurance for my client

                    The one thing that was not mentioned yet is that you can state that you follow the established best practices and adhere to a known naming convention (provide a link to it) so that any other developer can step in without too much difficulty.

                    • 7. Re: Assurance for my client

                      That's part of the technical information.

                      • 8. Re: Assurance for my client

                        It sounds to me like you have provided the client with ample assurances and honestly stated the support you are prepared to provide. It sounds like you have a track record of providing support when needed with other clients but this client wants more.


                        Maybe getting the client to talk to other clients will give them some comfort that what you are suggesting is workable and adequate.


                        If he wants assurance that they will be first in line or get to jump to first in line maybe you should ask them to pay for that kind of service. Maybe a premium hourly charge or a set fee that gets paid every month, regardless of whether you provide any support, so that they can be assured you will be at thier beck and call.


                        It is hard for some clients who have had previous non FileMaker development projects to appreciate how you can jump in and out of projects or even the level of support that is needed. They need this type of assurances and it is part of the initiation stage. Talking to other clients might really help.


                        I hope this is helpful.

                        • 9. Re: Assurance for my client

                          Hi Leon,


                          That is a common question I get from time to time.  I provide my customers with the developer access, and the names of 2 collegues with whom I have the agreement that we cover each other in case of disaster,or death :-)


                          In your case it seems that the client wants to have more then that. What you could do is to propose to your customer to get an outside FM party to get into the project so he/she can take over in case something happens to you or your subcontractor.


                          Hope that helps,


                          Best regards,


                          Ruben van den Boogaard

                          Infomatics Software