New Client Onboarding Process
MichiganLabs works primarily with businesses and organizations ranging from 100 to 100,000 employees. Often, their project with MichiganLabs will be their first venture into custom software development. The following is an overview of what to expect as a new client of MichiganLabs.
The majority of our clients contact us through our website or by phone. They usually send us a quick email with their requirements or ideas and request a call-back. These notes are typically broad but helpful for us to have a heads-up on what they are trying to accomplish with their project. It is usually just a list of bullet points with features or ideas. It may even just be a problem without a known solution. Based on this inquiry, we setup a time to meet in person or have a 30-minute conference call.
2. Introductory Meeting or Conference Call
The next step in the process is for an introductory meeting or conference call. During this meeting our primary goals are to listen, document, and clarify requirements. We will ask the client to describe the business goal and walk us through what happens when their user opens the app or uses the software. We will have a notepad full of requirements when we leave this initial meeting. We will use these requirements to write user stories. These user stories will then be used to help us prepare an estimate.
Once we have a solid understanding of the idea or the problem, we will draft a proposal for the client. The proposal is a PDF document which will list out the deliverables for the solution along with an estimated effort to complete. This is given as a range of hours along with an hourly rate. The goal of the proposal stage is to provide detailed information for the client to make a decision on MichiganLabs as their software development team.
4. Verbal Acceptance
Our clients will oftentimes need to discuss the project with various internal stakeholders to gain acceptance of the project before hiring MichiganLabs as the vendor. Once a decision is made, they will call or email us to say “YES!” and we will move forward together. This is where the real fun begins.
5. Documentation Preparation
Once MichiganLabs has received verbal acceptance, drafts of two documents will be provided to the client: the MSA and SOW. The term MSA stands for Master Services Agreement. Typically, the MSA specifies generic terms such as payment terms, product warranties, intellectual property ownership, dispute resolution, and the like. The term SOW stands for Scope of Work and is an agreement where the work to be performed is described. The SOW contains deliverables, milestones, and end products that are expected to be provided by MichiganLabs. The MSA and SOW are often reviewed by the client’s legal team to ensure the documents are agreeable.
Once the documents are reviewed and agreed upon, the client will sign and return to MichiganLabs for countersignature. A fully executed copy is provided back to the client and the project will kick-off.
An in person meeting with all of the key people will be scheduled. The goal of the kick-off meeting is to introduce the members of the project team and the client to each other. At the kick-off meeting, other base elements in the project that involve the client may also be discussed such as schedule, status reporting, etc.