RE: Do customers have implicit, unspecified right to documentatio n?

Subject: RE: Do customers have implicit, unspecified right to documentatio n?
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2000 08:59:08 -0500

Joe Sokohl asked about providing documentation for custom software:
> <<Here's the situation: * Custom software for one
> client. * Contract does not specify documentation of any sort...nor does
> any project plan. * Customer now feels he should not have to pay extra for
> documetation.>>
>
Geoff Hart responded with the question:
> Sometimes, remembering the golden rule really does put things in
> perspective. Would _you_ want to receive any product without
> documentation?
>
I understand Joe's dilemma a little differently. It seems to me that Joe's
question revolved around contractual obligation. As I read it, I couldn't
help but think back over several difficult customer situations I've been
involved in. Joe's situation seems like one that the lawyers and management
need to sort out.

Of course, since we write documentation for a living, we would agree that
products need documentation. One of the questions that comes up frequently
these days is "What constitutes reasonable and customary documentation?"
That sounds like lawyerly language to me. I would caution the writer
against promising something to a customer that company management did not
commit to in a contract, that the customer may have agreed to do without and
is now reconsidering its position.

I'm not sure of exactly what is happening in Joe's situation, and while I
agree with Geoff in principle, I really think this is one situation where a
company's management/legal people need to be involved in.

Tom Murrell





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