Working with a software consultancy (often called a "dev shop") can be intimidating. As a researcher, you know that you need software that the dev shop claims they can provide, but you're not sure how to think about the actual contract negotiations.
If you've never worked with a dev shop before, you'll want to know what to expect before you pick up the phone. You might want to first read about the Top 5 Things a "Dev Shop" Should Deliver before reading this article.
Once you have had enough converation with the shop to feel confident in their ability to deliver the software you want, the software consultant will generally provide a detailed proposal that will include the following components:
Some contracts contain much more than what I can cover here, but you'll want to at least ensure that these essentials are covered.
To learn more, click here to learn about the two most popular approaches to negotiating with a dev shop.