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What would a 'software guarantee' look like in practice?
I commented favourably on Managed Object's "software guarantee" here - but also commented that such a "guarantee" has to be worded carefully if it isn't to have unintended consequences.
Well, Managed Objects has sent me a sample contract which it would use as a basis for "milestone payments" from its customers. Milestone payments are what implement its idea of a "software guarantee". See what you think.
Milestone-Based Contract - SAMPLE
1st Five Deliverables
- Project kickoff meeting: to be completed during Week #1 (Beginning the week of 8/28 – upon receipt of signed contract by 8/24)
- Managed Objects workshop – Basic administrator workshop: To be completed during Week #1 (Begin on 8/24)
- CMDB vision definition workshop: To be completed during Week #1 (Week of 8/28)
- Installation of Managed Objects' BTI appliances and software components: To be completed during Week #2 (Begins 9/4)
- Base Managed Objects configuration: To be completed during Week #2 (Begin and complete during the week of 9/4)
Final five deliverables
- Visualisation/reporting of the service catalog – To be completed during Week #3 (Week of 9/11)
- Testing/acceptance – To be completed during Week #4 (Week of 9/18)
- End-user workshop – To be completed during Week #4 (Week of 9/18)
- Advanced admin workshop – To be completed during Week #5 (Week of 9/25)
- Project management – To be completed by project end (Week of 9/25)
Payment will be made to Managed Objects, upon acceptance, by customer as follows:
- Thirty-five per cent upon delivery of appliances and software
- Thirty-five per cent upon completion of deliverables one through five as defined above and in the attached SOW
- Thirty per cent upon completion of the final five deliverables as defined in the attached SOW
- There will be no cost for the development system as long as customer remains current on maintenance for the production system.
- Professional services – training – and implementation packages will be provided to customer along with an actual statement of work. The above professional services quote is a fixed bid and includes travel and expenses.
Managed Object Solutions, Inc. 7925 Westpark Drive, McLean, VA 22102
I think this goes a considerable way towards making the company accountable for the quality of what it supplies. However, without denigrating this in any way, I suspect it isn't a unique approach – I'd be interested in hearing from other companies that offer similar contracts.
If there aren't any, it must be time for a customer power revolution in the software industry. ®