Eight Page Web Site Takes 7 Months

Yesterday we wrapped up the final change requests for a web site project. The project was supposed to take 6 weeks, but it took 7 months.

It is an 8 page web site.

What is it about web site projects that they often take so very long? We try every technique in the book to keep them moving quickly, but every once in a while the client has other plans, and the web site takes a backseat to their other work.

The project we just wrapped up was pitched in early April, and by April 20th we had a site design which we presented. After a series of refinements, we had the site design completed for every page by May 15th. On target to meet our 6 week schedule.

Flash forward 6 months to today, when we have finally finished the project, after months and months of delays due to endless design changes, content edits, and indecision.

Is the site any better today than it was 6 months ago? No, it’s actually worse.

Could the site have launched 6 months ago, and proved effective in securing a customer for this company? Possibly.

In an industry where our customers ask us to constantly monitor their web sites, and be on the ball for countless project deadlines in a typical year. Why do so many projects get out of hand despite every effort on our part to do them right?

9 responses to “Eight Page Web Site Takes 7 Months”

  1. been there, done that, I feel your pain.

    That’s why you charge hourly. That way you don’t care how many redesigns it takes or how much indecision the client has.

  2. EVERY project is like that… clients want a website to be amazing, but when it comes to them making a decision or supplying some content the the wheels grind to a halt.

    We now adopt a strict policy.

    the client gets time to review a design then ONE instance where they can provide feedback on a complete website, we then go through their changes to finish the project. we then give 2 months free warranty that covers bug fixes and typos BUT NOT new content. so far it seems to be working well.

    see http://www.markrushworth.com/template_permalink.asp?id=104 for our new workflow!

  3. I don’t suppose we could hope for a link…

    Sheesh – I feel your pain. I’ve currently got a project that was supposed to be finished in February that’s still floating around unfinished. And I didn’t charge hourly. Big mistake.

  4. I agree with Mark Rusworth. How did this get out of hand? Well usually the designer(s) allow it. I do freelance(in my spare time) and I admit I used to have the same problems. Basically my work flow is like that of Mark Rusworths chart now except I like to have most or some of the content supplied before the design is created. I find that actually helps in the design process. But this can not always be done most customers like to see a layout before hand. So instead in the meetings I try to get the main points they want to present on their site, and a general idea. And having the customer write up one checklist is real time saver. I do notice the site tends to come out looking and feeling better also.

    Letting too many people on the clients end critiquing the design or content really makes the site horrible as well, let the client know that you have experience in this area and tell them they need to pick one representative.

  5. Virgil: thanks for that – yes one checklist does make it easy. i also give the client an indefinate amount of time to create this checklist but stress that once its presented theres no moer changes (and changes to the design or infrastructure at this point are charged out as phase 2 in order to complete, and get paid for, phase 1).

  6. The problem is not you…like you said it has to d owith the client. Sometimes clients think that making a website is as easy as drawing with a pencil and paper. They do not realise the amount of work that goes into actually making eevrything work. This is why an eight page website can take from 6 weeks suppossed deadline to 7 months..despite all you try to do to stay on schedule..lol and like you said about the site actually looking worse…that is what happens..because the client begins to see thins that are not needed, and now makes you add them, and those things probably were not included in your design…so now that the site is coded you just try to find quick fixes and spots to put them in making the site go from your creation to a MESS!!! But, (sigh) like a friend of mine always says…The Client is always right…

  7. Yeah I always beleived the client was right and still do till a point. I meant it is the designers fault for not clearly outlining the proceses or putting it in the contract. I explain the process(smiliar to marks chart) to the client to let them now when they can make changes and all the changes need to be once, unless the notice a mispelled work or inaccurate info etc..

    Now I don’t have as many client problems that I used to have. I think I might just print our Marks chart since it explains it so nicely as well. It pays to have the client know the order things are done and it outlined in your contract, as well as when they are aloowed to make changes.

  8. Great tips everyone. We have formulated a few changes internally that should help us avoid situations like this, or at least try to prevent them again.

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