12 Jan 2011
Web Developers going AWOL is a surprisingly common problem
A company will have a site built, and perhaps a backend management system setup, and then they want some amends or tweaks but they cannot contact their web developer. I think this happens because many developers are used to working through an agency and have an agency mentality – “job done, get paid, end of story” – and they don’t think of ongoing support for existing customers.
Reasonable enough if you’re a contractor, and you do work via an agency, but not so great if you are the sole technical support for a small company. I’ve had work (and some nice work) from panicked customers who just cannot get in touch with their regular guy. In one case the programmer had gone on a cruise to the Carribean and not told anyone, but my favourite missing-in-action is:
“Our web developer went to the Burning Man Festival and he never came back”
Yes, you are allowed holidays and breaks, but give your customers plenty of notice and at the very least setup an email responder so people know what’s going on – don’t disappear on them just as they’re trying to ramp up for Christmas. And if you’re going off to live in a yurt, help them find a replacement developer.