You’ve decided to part ways with your developer and you’ve found your new one. Now it’s time to tell your soon-to-be-ex that you won’t be needing his or her services. Here are some tips for getting started and ensuring a successful transition to your new developer.
Keep It Professional… Especially At First
Even if your developer has completely wronged you, fight the urge to scorch the earth. A scorned developer with nothing to lose can make your life a living hell. Forget trashing you on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter. I have heard stories of irate developers who have locked their ex-clients out of their own sites or engaged in Black Hat SEO.
To paraphrase Breaking Bad, tread lightly. Note that I’m no Pollyanna. I realize that an amicable separation might not always be possible. I broke up with a developer last who clearly performed some shoddy work. A Facebook group of WordPress folks agreed that this developer “shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near a website.” Equipped with this knowledge — and the stubborn refusal of the agency’s founder to admit one scintilla of wrongdoing — this got testy pretty quickly.
Arrange A Call Between Developers
Your new developer might be the bees’ knees, but odds are that she’ll have a few questions about what happened before her arrival. Oftentimes a five-minute conversation obviates the need for hours of discovery, never mind a torrent of e-mails. If at all possible, try to schedule a call between your new developer and your old one. The latter may very well need information on file structures, design decisions, or other things probably not formally documented.
Remove Permissions And Change Passwords
For obvious reasons, you don’t want your developer to be able to access key information after the breakup. These include your developer’s current:
- WordPress user account
- SFTP/FTP access (Equipped with this back-end access, a developer can render a site virtually inoperable.)
- Third-party accounts: These may include sites for social media, newsletters (e.g., MailChimp or Constant Contact), e-mail services such as Google Apps, and the like.
What’s more, to the extent that most developers can log in for their clients, it is critical to change your password with your hosting company and registrar. In the words of seasoned WordPress developer Todd Hamilton,
“There is nothing worse than being locked out of your own accounts. It’s essential for clients to know all of their account details and to be able to change them during the transition phase. This is the most secure way to facilitate a successful a hand-off.”
If you aren’t happy with the work that your developer did for you, then you’ll want to reassign their posts and pages. Fortunately, this isn’t hard to do in WordPress. You’ll also want to change any attributions in the footer or the About page.
As Ronald Reagan once famously said, “Trust, but verify.” There’s no surefire way to guarantee a seamless transition, but following the advice in this post should minimize problems during what is often a sticky situation.
What say you? Share your thoughts in the comments below!