This may be a better fit for a different site, but I couldn't really find one that served the intersection of software engineering and business norms. My primary concern here is about something I thought was a business norm: a couple of hours of post-handoff cooperation when a new developer is brought in to start work.

I was brought on as a subcontractor on a project. That project continued for several months in active development, and was (very abruptly) canceled without notice -- literally just 'invoice your remaining hours and goodbye'.

The code base was handed over to the super client, as were the working Heroku instances. Moving on, I've discovered that my client has been getting some support requests -- basically an hour or so's phone meeting with the new developer to run him down on what has been done.

I always thought that a reasonable amount of handover support -- an hour or two on the phone to give a quick rundown on the code, how it's laid out, why it's laid out that way, current issues, etc etc -- was a norm. But my client is refusing to do any such thing. I am worried about how professional it does (or rather, does not) make him look, and how that may reflect on me as a subcontractor.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that, late in the project life cycle, the decision was made to shift me from sub-contractor to contractor. My client was basically shifted from a contract to develop software to a contract to manage a team of contractors doing further development. I haven't been contacted directly by super-client, but I now technically have my own relationship with him and want to plan ahead in case he reaches out to me.

  • Did you sign any contract with super-client ?
    – user4521
    Mar 19, 2019 at 8:23
  • @HarryCover no, just IRS paperwork for contractors. (I can't never keep the form numbers straight, but it's the W9 that feeds into a 1099 MISC, right?)
    – RonLugge
    Mar 20, 2019 at 23:36

2 Answers 2

  1. I don´t think there are any "business norms" on support after cancellation of a contract. As already stated by @candied_orange, if it's not in the contract it doesn't exist

  2. I think it would seem unprofessional to hands-down reject a request for support. If any service is requested upon by the client, the least would be to talk to them about the conditions for fulfilling that request or - if it is totally out of question to support them for whatever reason, send them a polite refusal.

  3. If there are no binding agreements with your former contractor which prevent this (anymore), you could also extend your offer of services directly to the super-client. You don´t have to wait until they come to you directly. Approaching a company where you have good reason to think they could benefit from your services is good business practice.

  4. Any work done professionally should be paid at professional rates. Especially if it´s a short handover: you are giving away valuable knowledge, small volume - (big overhead cost), with no good perspective of further assignments. So the rate for that can be on the high end.


In the world of contracting if it's not in the contract it doesn't exist.

That said, if people come to me with questions about systems I've touched in the past I'm generally willing to provide a few answers. But if that's not in a contract that's not something anyone has any right to expect of me. That's just me being a friendly nerd who likes to talk shop. Test my patience and, well, we need a contract.

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