The customer was a new media start-up launching a web based subscription service.
It needed a system to support the service and approached a well known IT supplier for help. We were asked by the supplier’s legal department to review the standard consultancy contract (absent the scope of work) for use with this new customer.
The sales person initially refused to show us the scope of work on the grounds that there was ‘no need to worry, it’s time & materials; it’s a no responsibility deal’.
When pushed, he sent through the draft scope of work which said: ‘provision of project management, technical consultancy and programming resource to assist in the design and build of a subscriber management system’.
We commented that this description seemed rather brief, to which the sales person retorted: ‘Isn’t it better not to have too much written down? That way, the customer can’t come back at us if things go wrong… don’t make trouble, this is a happy project’.
Further digging revealed that the supplier had agreed verbally to design and build a new system to manage subscriptions and billing for £1 million, and that the go-live date was critical as the founders had promised investors that the service would be launched by that date in order to secure further funding. We made sure that the correct form of contract was used and created schedules to reflect what was intended to happen.