One of my clients has asked me to update a half-dozen different web sites– for their various brands– to provide a single “unified” mechanism for accepting comments and questions from their customers. They have a well-defined schedule describing when each of these changes should take place. In other words, on such-and-such a day I have to be prepared to “switch over” a particular web site to the new system, and then a few weeks later I’ll repeat the process with another one. Eventually, in September, all of their sites will be using the new system and the world will presumably be a better place.

So far, so good. I finished the first two sites, and was prepared to do the third in about two weeks. Today I received an e-mail from the client:

We went live with the site today, but it’s not working…

I responded and told him it’s not working because I haven’t set up the new programming for the site (since I didn’t expect it to be needed for at least another few weeks). His response is classic– truly a mind-bending peek into the way some businesses operate:

For a variety of reasons, we made a business decision and moved the start date up. ¬†Sorry we didn’t communicate that to you.

Now, clients often change schedules and so forth… but when I’m the integral piece, and nothing works without my programming changes, it’s a little surprising they went ahead with a bunch of things and then, oops, “didn’t communicate that”.