What to do when your existing web developer bungles badly
Posted on 15th February 2017

Recently we had the experience of visiting a prospective client whose website project had been badly bungled by their current web developer. Although the developer seemed reputed, he had done a terrible job on the client’s website. Hence, the invitation for us to pitch.

It is our policy in such cases to insist that we start from scratch and we cannot use anything the current web developer has done. The only thing salvageable was the product information on the site.

However the CEO of the company was adamant that we should pick up from where the current developer left off and correct the mistakes. I can understand his reluctance to start new. Clients put in a lot of time and money and it hurts to waste it. It also reflects badly on them that they selected the wrong vendor in the first place.

However, there are many good reasons we don’t try and correct a bungled job. Wading through work done by someone else looking for errors is far too tedious and time consuming. Even if you manage to make a lot of corrections, there is no guarantee that all the bombs have been diffused. Errors could crop up later which were not caught.

Work which is bungled is usually planned poorly. There are inherent structural difficulties in the website that are difficult to correct or change. Starting from scratch allows us to use our own systematic approach to plan and execute the job.

So here is our advice to those clients whose current website has been bungled badly.

  • Have a clean break. Don’t try and salvage what you can from the old project except for raw data. It creates more problems in the future.
  • It's a good opportunity to be more innovative and ambitious, especially with your hard won experience. Improve the scope of the project.
  • Have an internal session where you note all the things that went well, what went badly and things to look for ahead. This helps with clarity when briefing the new web developer.
  • Release all emotional stress about the project. Start fresh, start positive.
  • Do trust the new vendor you select after doing a lot of due diligence. No one likes to work under a suspicious client.
  • Don't penalize and second guess the new vendor for mistakes made by the earlier one.

In a nutshell you have to ‘turn a frown upside down’. Don’t let the experience go to waste. Use it to create an even better and effective website.

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