Why A Quick Change Takes So Long

Chapter 1: Website Change Meeting

What's with the wierd times?We track time in our system in .1 hour increments or 6 minutes. For the purposes of this entry we thought it better to report times people are more familiar with.

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.

  • 18 minutes * 2 people = 36 minutes

Chapter 2: Website Change (Round 1)

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.

  • 6 minutes * 2 people = 12 minutes

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.

  • 18 minutes * 1 person for updates + 6 minutes * 2 people for tracking meeting = 30 minutes

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.

  • 12 minutes * 2 people = 24 minutes

If you are keeping score, you may have noticed that we already have about 1 hour 45 minutes into this quick change.

Chapter 3: Website Change (Round 2)

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.

  • 30 minutes * 1 person = 30 minutes

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.

  • 18 minutes * 1 person = 18 minutes
Epilogue The total time for the quick change came in at 2 hours 18 minutes, not including any administrivia tasks like creating the task in our project management system, invoicing, sales and account management discussions with the client to initiate the work, etc. which are not tracked on a per task basis.

Chapter 4: Final Review

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.