taking over where someone else left off

R

Robert Blackwell

Hey, I have a question for you web devs out there. How much of a hassle is
it to take over where another programmer left off.

I have a commerce site that was designed to my specs and I approached the
company to do some upgrade work on it. However, I'm canceling the project
with them because they are basically accusing me of scope creeping even
though my specifications clearly define the features I am asking them to
correct. I asked them to make a customer account area where customers can
manage there account info such ass billing/ship to address AND credit card
information. This was the first stage of the project and when I reminded
them that all pages with sensitive customer data need to use SSL they told
me that wasn't in my requirements. Now its true that I didn't actually
specify that... but I assume that SSL encryption where sensitive customer
data (**especially**credit cards) is just common practice and common sense.
PLEASE correct me if you think I'm out of line or have assumed too much. Now
also, they are trying to tell me that in order to accomodate the features I
requested it will take a significant amount of time and they have to see if
it will even be compatible with the site. When really I believe they are
just trying to get me to back off of making the changes so they can leave it
as it is even though its their mistake.
Anyways, I'm requesting to cancel the project and only pay for the time they
spent.

I had communication problems with them the first time around and I'll admit
some of the problems were because I didn't communicate full specs the first
time, but I did pay for the extra time with no argument. This time I figured
it should be a lot smoother because I spent a few weeks ironing out my
specifications and making sure I had everything I wanted and even explaining
everything in detail before I even approached them.

Anyways, so to go on and on but I wanted to give you a little background
info.
Thanks
Robbie
 
D

darrel

Hey, I have a question for you web devs out there. How much of a hassle is
it to take over where another programmer left off.

Depends on how well the original app was written, how complex it was, how
well it was documented, and if the code is well commented.

Typically, I'd say that for any project of even medium complexity, it's
often better to start from scratch than to figure out old code.

It's like home remodelling. Doing a complete remodel of your house can often
be twice as expensive as just building a new house from scratch.
PLEASE correct me if you think I'm out of line or have assumed too much.

Pulling out the remodelling analogy again...I've learned to never assume
anything with contractors...be it sheetrockers or web developers. ;o)

To be fair, it's often not entirely their fault, but, yea, I would assume
that passing CC info over the internet would be using SSI...I wouldn't
expect someone to have to spell that out.
Anyways, I'm requesting to cancel the project and only pay for the time
they spent.

Well, that's fair. However, in all liklihood, you'll want to/have to start
from scratch with the next developer.

-Darrel
 
J

Jacob

Non-encrypted CC data = no one would use your site = site is useless. I
guess you paid them not for the site but to not have to go through all
the legal hassle. I think we've all tried customers who try spec creep,
but some things should be done as a matter of course.

I agree that a lot depends on what code and documentation you have. You
will probably have to pay for a new coder to get acquainted with the
code at the very least, and you might have to accept some more
development time for working with outside code.

Have a good talk with your new developer and make sure you see things
the same way.
 
W

William Buchanan

Yes, you need SSL (that is obvious to everyone).... but that shouldn't be a
big job (change a couple of links), so I don't see why anyone would make a
big deal of it.

I think to say that "SSL is not in the requirements" is a bit of a cheek
really!
 
R

Robert Blackwell

Well, thanks for the feedback. I suppose I can live without the changes and
maybe just wait a little while longer and redo the whole site again. Anybody
know a freelance type website where people can post jobs? I found these guys
on elance.com but most of the bidders are out of the country and that is
another communication problem I have in that a single message takes about 2
days... 1 day to send, they read it when they wake up which is when I go to
sleep, the reply when they go to sleep/when I wake up. The communication
overhead when outsourcing wastes a lot of time.
 
D

darrel

I found these guys on elance.com

That may be your problem. No offense, but it sounds like you're looking for
the lowest bidder.

Find someone local. Ask around. Talk to vendors. Create a formal RFP. Have
someone help you with the RFP if possible. To go back to the remodelling
analogy...same thing. Ask friends/neighbors/business aquaintenances, etc.

-Darrel
 
R

Robert Blackwell

I don't take offense and I know what you mean. I know all about Cheap Fast
Good
If they want it fast and good, it ain't gonna be cheap.
If they want it cheap and good, it ain't gonna be fast.
If they want it cheap and fast, it ain't gonna be good.

I dont have any friends that would know anything about this kind of stuff or
have any contacts. That's why I resorted to elance (which I even found by
accident)and while I didn't choose the highest bidder I didn't choose the
low ballers either. I went with upper middle bid
 
D

darrel

I dont have any friends that would know anything about this kind of stuff
or have any contacts. That's why I resorted to elance (which I even found
by accident)and while I didn't choose the highest bidder I didn't choose
the low ballers either. I went with upper middle bid

And to be fair, the literal lowest bidder isn't necessarily a bad thing.

The problem with software is that there is no correlation between price and
quality. In fact, the opposite is often true.

So, that doesn't help you, of course, but I can sympathize with the
situation.

-Darrel
 

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