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155

Yes, that should absolutely sound alarm bells. Had I been in the position, for my personal entertainment, I would have asked the manager to sign a contract freezing all requirements. I imagine the manager would likely bail. Then I would leave.


122

The first thing to keep in mind is that source code has value separate from the binaries. It is perfectly reasonable to either refuse to sign a contract that requires source code delivery, or to insist on extra payments for source code delivery. Contracts are two-way documents. Do not let the other part dictate what is required just because they are "big ...


105

My question is, should this raise a red flag about the manager? Yes. It means it is time for you to get your resume/CV up to date and start looking for a new job. Or it means that your manager is about to start playing some very nasty games with you. Is it common practice for a manager to lock-in time estimates of a software developer with a ...


57

Well that's simple. Just tell your manager that you'll sign to lock-in your time estimate when he will sign to lock-in the specification. Because you can't, for sure provide any estimates for something that is unknown. Full project spec before you start, no changes - and you can finish it in time :) One change to spec => contract is void. Probably the thing ...


51

"No" is a perfectly fine answer, actually it's an incredibly useful answer which for some reason I can't understand is very underrated. "Hi, we have suddently decided we just want source code too, free of charge." "Hi, no." It's not that difficult, really. Then, if they wish to pay egregious amounts of money over what they already owe you, you might give ...


43

The clauses you mention come from several different standard contracts. An NDA basically covers "anything we tell you, you can't tell to anyone else, no matter what". There are some standard exceptions to this (which should be explicitly listed in the NDA). These standard exceptions are: Publicly available knowledge from some other source. Things that ...


40

Who is the client and what does he/she do? Do the services they need mesh with what you offer? Do they understand the type of services you offer? Do they understand your rates (and not question them)? What are they looking for in a provider? Do they understand your work process? What is their communication preference? Are there any hurdles that will ...


31

Yes, this is a red flag. What it tells you is that the manager does not understand how to manage risk in software projects. What he should be doing is figuring out what exactly caused the delay in first place and then start to instrument a process to effectively manage schedule risks that will inevitable happen during a software project. NEVER in any ...


30

I would tell them that you can't sign that without legal counsel, and as you didn't know they would be asking you to sign anything additional, they should cover your legal costs. Explain that you simply can't sign something that complicated without an expert to advise you. If they refuse, don't sign it. If they cover your legal costs, let your attorney hash ...


26

This is not a red flag, this is weapons-grade stupidity. If estimates and deadlines are consistently blown, the rational thing to do is identify causes and improve processes. If you blame and kick the horse because you don't know where you're going, don't be surprised if the horse bites you and runs away!


21

Your question is, "what is the best way to circumvent this issue?" But what do you see as the issue? Others have correctly pointed out that it's a matter of negotiation: everything has a value, and it's up to you give the client a price for providing what's asked for. But you must also carefully consider—and write into the contract—the ...


20

Intellectual Property Clauses Such clauses may state that the employer owns all intellectual property rights for any creative work produced during employment. If this is something that is important to you then make sure all vagueness around the definition of intellectual property and creative work is clarified and/or removed. As programmers we write a lot ...


20

While IANAL and YMMV, I would suggest two things. First, get over the emotional attachment as quickly as you can (yes, easy for me to say), as that may cloud your judgment going forward. Second, would be to avoid a specific retainer type contract, and to go with a simple time-and-materials contract for work done. What if you get a new job that entails ...


18

While the manager was out of line with his demand. He's not fully to blame. If you were working in fully unfamiliar territory, there is nothing wrong with saying "I don't know." It took me a while to realize that "I don't know" is a perfectly acceptable answer, so I know how much it stings to utter those words. But if you truly don't know then that's the ...


18

Ownership of the code means that you will be assigning copyright to them. In practical terms, that means that you will not retain any of their source code when the project is finished. That way, you can't be accused of reusing the code you wrote for them in other projects. This is a fairly typical arrangement; they are paying you to write code for them, ...


16

In your contract, you should specify an explicit list of supported browsers. This will save you a lot of trouble, if later the customer complains that the page looks broken on his stone-age Windows XP notebook with IE6. (Read what happened to this guy.) Since you use libraries, the intersection of their browser compatibility lists (jQuery, Bootstrap) is ...


15

When freelancing, I typically did 33%, 33%, 24% 10%, with the following milestones: 33% due when the client accepted the proposal 33% due when a working concept was delivered 24% due when a production concept was delivered 10% due 30 days after the delivery of a production concept This gave me cash to start, cash when I finished the bulk of the work, ...


15

I emailed the recruiter back and asked them to remove this clause That was your first mistake. Recruiters don't want to do anything that would jeopardize their fee, so they'll tell you to sign anything, regardless of how bad the contract is for you. Talk to the hiring manager instead. Is this worth sticking to my guns on? You can only negotiate ...


14

Don't rely on legal advice from random people on the Internet. You haven't even said where you are, and this particular question varies from state to state in the US. In California, the copyright would almost certainly be yours; in Texas, it would almost certainly be your employer's. You need to talk to a lawyer in your jurisdiction that knows something ...


14

Design by Contract and defensive programming are in some sense opposites of each other: in DbC, you define contracts between collaborators and you program under the assumption that the collaborators honor their contracts. In defensive programming, you program under the assumption that your collaborators violate their contracts. A real square root routine ...


13

Be very careful of contracts that state that you can't work for any competitor for x number of month after leaving the company. Companies use the word competitor generously, so for a web development company this could include any company providing web based services. This puts you in a terrible position if you get a better job offer or if your job ends up ...


13

No. The gating questions should be: "what is your experience in setting up e-commerce sites and optimizing for search engines? Show me your portfolio of those sites and let me know your references so I can contact them." I set up an e-commerce site over a 3-day weekend from scratch (after about 2 weeks of research) and most of that was in figuring out how ...


13

Remember that any source code requires a license. If you hand over source code, the company can use the source code to do anything that the license allows, and anything beyond that is copyright infringement. So if you hand over source code, you would have a contract that makes absolutely clear that you retain the exclusive copyright of the source code, and ...


12

As James McLeod remarked, whether you can have "side projects" all depends on the company, and how the local legal jurisdiction treats employer/employee relationships. For instance, Texas supports companies in enforcing these aspects of employment agreements. I knew a programmer in the '70s who worked in Houston for a company that said, "any creative work ...


12

This sounds pretty normal to me. The startup is being careful to be able to show that they fully own all of the code in their solution. This is very important if they are eventually purchased by another company. That other company needs to know that no one is going to later claim ownership to the software they thought they bought. You might want to ...


11

How do experienced developers make the decision of whether to take the project or just let it go? Do I need the job? If so, I "take" the project. What are some good metrics to make the decision easier? How many choices do I have? More than 1? I can choose between the alternatives. Only 1? Well. That's it then. The "stress in my life" ...


11

From my experience: Never do work involving money for family members that you have to spend holidays with or friends that you want to keep. One of the parties involved will always feel like the other party is either charging too much or not paying enough and that they did the other party a favor. When the deadline comes up, they are usually the least ...


11

By asking this question you are basically underlining the fact that the project in question is indeed important enough to justify a contract. Really, all projects where money is involved, and even some where it's not, need a contract. Drafting a basic contract which covers the scope of delivery and payment is probably less work than devising and ...



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