Agile method contracts: a start-up takes its IT provider to court 🤯
What are the legal consequences for disputes concerning Agile projects? 👀
It all started in 2014.
A start-up uses an IT service provider to create its 2 mobile apps and its website.
So far so good.
🗣 But, quickly, the startup criticizes slow deliveries, complains of malfunctions, and indicates that it no longer wants to work with the service provider on mobile apps, but continues its collaboration on the website.
Unsurprisingly, the client requests modifications and corrections from the service provider, who offers him an estimate for these modifications.
Come on, who guessed? 😉
The customer refuses. And even asks for the reimbursement of the sums paid. 🤑
➡ Head to the Commercial Courts!
In October 2020, the Paris Commercial Court rejected the client's requests, highlighting in particular the lack of specifications.
👩🏻⚖ By a decision of January 6, 2023, the Court of Appeal retains the same solution as the Court, considering that no breach is attributable to the Service Provider.
But then, why is this decision interesting? 💡
⚖️ In its decision, the Paris Court of Appeal tells us that it is not possible for a pro client to blame his service provider for having breached his contractual obligations, if he:
❌ Did not express their needs and objectives clearly and precisely
❌ Hasn't performed tests to verify functionality is working properly
🔍 The particularity of the Agile method, namely its great flexibility and its mode of operation by iterations, prevents the constitution of clear and established specifications. The expression of the client's needs is therefore not fixed, and is done over the entire duration of the project.
In an Agile contract, the obligations are necessarily obligations of means, and not of results. The client cannot therefore demand that a specific result be obtained, since it is simply not defined.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the obligation of advice and warning incumbent on the service provider remains important, especially concerning the possibility of continuing the project according to the terms and budgets set.
⚠️ The judges' decision therefore clearly shows us that it is more than preferable, in the context of an IT project, to pay great attention to the contractual documents and in particular those concerning the customer's needs.
A tailor-made contract, adapted to the needs, the method of realization, the objectives and the constraints of the project is a good solution! ✅
Better Call Eva