This entry is inspired by actual events that took place one morning in the office. A client wanted us to add a widget to their website for an online lead generation service. The website already had a lead generation form and the service provided the code that needed to be included. So why would it take hours to make such a simple change???
Every change starts with a meeting. These are usually informal, impromptu get togethers to talk about what is being changed. In this particular case it included the quick get together to discuss the overall change followed by a phone call with the provider to see how the code could be obtained.
A website developer has to log in to the provider's website and obtain the code. Since there are a lot of things in the website besides the code, it takes a few minutes to get oriented and find it. In this particular case, the developer briefly called in additional help to try to find the code in the website.
Code in hand, the website developer logs in to the client's website admin and finds the appropriate location to remove the old form and add the new code. Realizing that the new code will also need some tracking associated with it, another quick meeting is held to discuss the tracking.
Changes made, tracking installed, let's look at the website. Uh oh! The new widget has a different size than the old form making the site look "off balance." A quick review meeting is held to discuss how the site looks and what can be done for a better layout.
If you are keeping score, you may have noticed that we already have about 1 hour 45 minutes into this quick change.
After discussing the layout changes, the developer went into the code on other areas of the page to make room for the new location and move some other stuff around. The simple widget replacement has now resulted in relatively significant redesign of the home page to accommodate. Thankfully the content management system we use for all clients allows these relatively significant changes to be completed rather quickly.
This caused a "good news/bad news" situation. The new location for the widget looked great and actually put it in a better location to convert business. The bad news was the shifting around required the testimonials to be moved to the opposite side of the page where it no longer fit. Now the module has to be adjusted to get it to fit, and since it is an "off the shelf" module it takes a bit to find out where the size controls are located.
This chapter remains unwritten for the moment as the final review with the client will be later this afternoon. In most cases the client will want some "minor" changes to the implementation. Seeing how the initial quick change has gone you can start to understand why a quick change isn't always so quick.
And the price of this change? $180. An hourly rate of only $78.26; less than an auto mechanic.