What to do if your software developers have gone AWOL?

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Most software development projects run smoothly, with all agreed KPIs met. However, occasionally things do not go to plan, and while work starts with a bang, for one reason or another the work delivered is not quite what was agreed.

This is a guide on what your business can do if you find yourself in the situation where work is left unfinished by the software company you hired.

Firstly, lets cover the types of software work you may have had developed. This includes:

- CRM Development

- Database Development

- App Development

- Web Development

- Portal Admin System Development

and so on..

It might be worth defining what we mean by “unfinished”.  In software development, this generally means the project has not passed the User Acceptance Testing (UAT) stage. In some cases, projects may not even have completed the development stage! So, for the purposes of this article let’s confine the meaning to be any software project that has not passed or reached UAT.

Our best advice is to attempt to come to some form of agreement with the software company. This will require you to objectively negotiate with the software company and be prepared to leave emotions and past skirmishes in the past. 
However, depending on the costs involved, you may also want to read up on the agreement you both signed and see where you stand legally. If your down payment exceeds £50k then we would strongly suggest getting legal advice and possibly a professional mediation  company.

The simplest and best outcome is that the software company agrees on a finishing criteria and completes the work to a standard you are happy with.

This requires you to make an effort to contact the software company and ask them to put the matter right.

In some cases, the software company will have stopped work because it may have gone out of business. Or your relationship with the software company has completely broken down completely.

If this is the case, then you may want to consider cutting your losses and approaching another software company to pick up the code already developed and quoting on a finishing job for you.

Getting another software company to complete a job requires a little more work on your part. Start by creating a Request for Quote (RFQ) document which should summarise what has happened so far and what needs to be done. Now when you send this RFQ to software companies, it will not only speed up the process, it will also help both yourself and the new software development agency get off with a flying start.

In general, depending on what stage the job was stopped, you should expect to pay around 15%-25% on top of what you have already paid. This may be a bitter pill to swallow however our advice is to chalk it up to a lesson learnt.

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