When Bad Things Happen to Good Projects

As consultants, developers and professionals, we would be lying if we didn't admit that not everything that transpires between us and our clients is wonderful and inspiring. Things go wrong. Great projects get derailed. Relationships sour.

It's not always possible to prevent problems, or even be prepared for them. But we can certainly learn from our mistakes.

Recently, we were working on an e-Commerce store application for a client. We started development on our server before their hosting company was finalised. By the time we were ready to move the site to the clients' hosting space, we realised there were several problems with their hosting setup. They had chosen CrystalTech, a Windows Server environment to host what was basically a PHP/MySQL driven application. Obviously there was only a minimal support for these technologies. The craziest aspect of this setup was that for some strange reason they did not allow subdomains. As parts of the site were already live, we were finding it difficult test the payment gateway and checkout processes without disrupting the rest of the site.

After spending a lot of time figuring out what to do, we broached the subject to our clients. They didn't want to believe us that there were real issues that needed to be considered. Instead they were relying on advice they got from their friends who kept saying how great CrystalTech was in hosting applications. Maybe they were, but this setup wasn't exactly suited to the way we had developed the app.

The project has now come to a stand-still. We will figure out something, but it has somehow ruined relationships with our clients.

The lesson we have learnt: never assume anything regarding hosting. If your client wants to arrange for hosting, then make sure the hosting is setup before you start coding anything or committing to a certain technology. Factor in a certain amount of time and hassles in having to figure out how the hosting company has setup their control panel and
what they support and what they don't. Only after a thorough research should you make a final proposal. Otherwise, failure to do so, will have you end up in the same tight spot as we just found ourselves in.

{ Filed in:  Blabber }

 Shashwat Parhi
13 Jan, 04:17 PM