If that weren't enough, the final product -- a redesigned site -- "looked so average it might as well have been beige."
As it turned out, the new CIO had outsourced not just development, but project management and QA as well.
"There was literally nobody on our side proofing the work. They just kept showing her screenshots and she kept approving them until the day the redesign flipped," recalls Aubrey.
The volume of customer complaints about the site's new look and lack of functionality was put to a stop by the site itself, which crashed twice on the first day.
"The CEO ordered her to pull the plug and go back to the previous design," Aubrey says. "When they added it all up, she'd spent about 75 percent of the original project budget and had nothing to show for it."
"Normally, we'd have just snickered as they walked her out the door, but this was a down economy and this crap just cost us about five months of competitive advantage," he says.
The company never recovered. And though our intrepid offshorer was the first out the door, the rest of the crew followed by year's end.
"I'm not saying outsourcing doesn't work," Aubrey says. "But it takes a hell of a lot more planning than just comparing staff costs."
Solution: Go back and reread No. 3, and then realize that this submitter didn't go far enough. Web site development doesn't have to be isolated to be cheap.
Moral: If the Web site is a key revenue stream, do not entrust site development to a single exec.
Stupid user trick No. 7: Duct tape doesn't fix everything
"This one still makes us laugh over beers," says H. Foreman, an admin at a Midwest-based organization.
"We were growing pretty well in 2004 and 2005, so we opened an office across the street," Foreman says. To connect the two offices, they decided to buy two microwave bridges.
"The setup is easy enough that we were able to do the job ourselves, though we had professional carpenters install the bridges to the walls of each building, just under the roof, pointing through double-paned office glass, so we would have no weather worries."
Success carried over into 2006, when the company decided to extend its leases.
"As part of the deal, they get permission to put up a fancy sign near the top of both buildings -- indoors but facing outward through the windows," Foreman says. "The day the sign goes up, our network goes down for about 15 minutes. We're still doing the basic set of troubleshooting diagnostics when it suddenly comes back up. Our guy shrugs, verifies everything again, and lets it go."
The next morning wasn't as forgiving. The network went down and stayed down.
"The basic software diagnostics aren't working, so we go to physical link monitoring," Foreman says. "Pretty quick, we see that one of the bridges isn't responding anymore. Upstairs we go."
Apparently the bridges had been in the way of the signs.