Don't micromanage a developer

Two months into the new year I’ve experienced many new things, one of them being the first time I quit a freelance project.

It started out well. I was able to win over the client with my ideas and most importantly (to the client at least) agree on the cost. The next step was to create a design which is where the first signs of micromanagement appeared. Despite hiring me for my ability to develop pretty and robust web sites, this particular client felt the need to reduce me to a pixel pusher.

Now I can understand having a preference for how you want your website to look and providing a critique, but requesting changes such as “make the titles white” and “make the logo larger” are plain ridiculous.

As a client, you hire a web developer for their skill and ability. Good web developers will design things a certain way for a reason according to established design principles such as colour theory, grids and balance. If clients could do these things, I’m sure they would, but they can’t! Please, please, trust us. We know what we are doing (most of the time).

Being micromanaged doesn’t feel good either. I felt resentful and no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I could have given in and soldiered on or been a good designer and communicated to the client why I was doing things the way I was, but felt this was going to fall on deaf ears. In the end I felt it was best for myself to drop the project and move on.

I’m happy to report that the client has launched his new website and surprise, surprise, it’s yet another ugly, table-based, non-standards compliant, search engine unfriendly, unmanageable website. Is it wrong that this makes me happy?


hey yo, good for you for saying bye-bye when it wasn’t working. why not? good call.

kellie b - Tuesday March 17, 2009

Dude, you sound so badass!

Uruloki - Tuesday March 24, 2009

Good for you. I have someone like that at my inhouse job. Drives me up the wall!!!!

jj - Wednesday April 22, 2009

Thanks guys!

Tariq - Sunday May 3, 2009

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My name is Tariq. I am a twenty something website developer based in Toronto, Canada, working at kanetix doing what I love to do. Yeppers, I like turtles and get on (the TTC) daily.

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