Dev Agencies, Drop the Fine Print! It’s Plain English That Reluctant Product Managers Need

Terms and conditions facilitate understanding between lawyers, but not between the product and development teams, where understanding is most needed. A handbook with 16-point type is the way to go.

Why is fine print in software contracts bad?

When you as a dev agency are in contract negotiations with a product manager with limited experience in software development, you have a huge information advantage.

Especially when it comes to the legalese in the fine print of a typical contract, the product manager usually doesn’t have enough context to fully understand it.

Of course they could ask legal counsel or a lawyer to join the conversation, but lawyers look at a contract from their own perspective. Just because a lawyer understands what it says doesn’t mean that the product manager does.

Why is this bad? Because misunderstandings are most likely to arise between you and the product manager, not between the lawyers. Lawyers usually get called in when the relationship has turned sour already. You want to prevent misunderstandings from happening in the first place.

It is therefore much better to have an agreement in plain English.

The solution: a handbook that provides context to terms and conditions

Instead of a document with 8-point legalese, you want to give your client a handbook that lays out, in 16-point type and plain English, exactly how the software development process works. Explain tasks and responsibilities, and let the terms and conditions follow logically from them.

It’s a change in perspective that will set the tone for the rest of your collaboration.

If you’d like to see an example, check out the E-accent Handbook.

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