On more than a few occasions I have heard stories from frustrated developers and sales people caused by the same department: legal.
Developers who have put in a lot of hard work in delivering a product before a deadline, but then see the launch months delayed just before the target date because legal has not yet approved it. Similar situations happen in sales, there is a verbal agreement with the customer and then the lawyers show-up…
Most of this is avoidable. You can do it by combining model-driven development, or whatever process you are using with (coining a phrase here 😎 ) legal-driven development.
How to do legal-driven software development and sales:
- Understand the job of the legal team. Legal is not there to make the upside happen, but their main task is to prevent the company from downside risk. This is a critical job as any loose ends on the legal side can sink a company.
- Collaborate. Help them do their job. Work with the legal team to review potential issues that could cause problems and propose ways to eliminate or minimise those risks.
- Prevention is better than cure. When you anticipate that the legal part might be complex send the potential customer a standard contract and ask their legal team to review it early in the sales process. Or, in the case of software development, discuss new products and features long before development is started and/or finished. This will allow you to smoothen out any issues before they become problems.
You can not control what another department will decide. What is under your control is how you work with them to make things as easy as possible for everybody. Adding legal-driven development to your process will save all involved a lot of time.