Taking stock

Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and try to look at things objectively.

About four months ago talks started with a client. They needed a major overhaul of their online space, ideally for it to coincide with the launch of their product. It was a big project, probably the biggest I’ve worked on in a freelance capacity.

And here we are. Two weeks post-launch, and it’s officially safe to say I botched it. While their website is working better than ever, their community is burning. It’s not good. There are many reasons for this (an extremely tight deadline, several assumptions that have turned out to be wrong, and miscommunication about expectations, to name but a few). But none of that matters in the end. I botched it.

Yesterday my client contact and I started exploring alternative options. Which would mean scrapping the entire community part of that’s been built so far. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but letting my pride and ego get in the way of doing the right thing will only make an already strained relationship even more unbearable.

The good part is that it doesn’t look like they’re ready to cut ties with me just yet, which I must admit is surprising to me. I’m not sure I would have had the same patience if a provider of mine dropped the ball as spectacularly as I have.

It’s not that I don’t see where I went wrong. I was too ambitious, combined with an extremely tight deadline with very high requirements. But damn if it isn’t an orbital strike to your confidence being forced to admit that not only was a recommendation you made horribly and woefully wrong, it’s been actively damaging to clients relationship with their community.

My usual mantra; Simple is Complex, and Complex is Simple, has quite simply screwed me over. It still holds true, except when it doesn’t.

So where do we go from here? Hopefully, we’ll be moving forward with an entirely new solution to the community issues, and hopefully they’ll want to keep me on board for that process. It’s not a total disaster after all. The hosting setup that’s been built for them seems to hold up fine, though it has it’s own set of challenges. Secondly, the website is purring like a kitten, and has several fairly impressive features and integrations that seem to work really well for their workflows.