Re: Do Customers Have Implicit, Unspecified Right to Documentation?

Subject: Re: Do Customers Have Implicit, Unspecified Right to Documentation?
From: "Sandy Harris" <sharris -at- dkl -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:47:15 -0500

Joe wrote:

> Here's the situation:
> * Custom software for one client.
> * Contract does not specify documentation of any sort...

So it appears you have no legal obligation to provide any.
Check this with your company's lawyers.

> nor does any project plan.

Ooops!

> * Customer now feels he should not have to pay extra for documetation.

I'd feel the same way in his shoes, and be kicking myself for
not putting it in the contract. On the other hand, I would expect
to be able to buy a car without specifying in the contract that
it comes with tires, and would never do business again with any
company that raised an objection to that.

Methinks if you want to keep this customer, you have to deliver
documentation.

> I have created a proposal to do ...

Right. Tell the client what he's getting. You've no contractual
obligation, it appears, to deliver anything. Tell him what you
plan to deliver.

> Client says, "We expect 'normal' documentation to be implied
> in the delivery of software."

Quite right.

> When pressed what "normal" means, client says, "Oh, you know,
> admin guide, user's guide, c/s online help...Word documents
> and stuff."

No.

Normal is whatever you decide is needed, based on your analysis,
to support users of the software. Of course the client has input
to that process, but all decisions at this point are yours.

If the client doesn't like your analysis, or wants things beyond
what you call for, your position is that anything else is outside
the scope of the contract.

It is then up to your management to decide whether that means
additional charges or they want to 'throw it in' to keep the
customer happy.




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