“We had someone working on our site, but we had all sorts or problems.”

I hear this kind of statement from people a fair amount, and it always raises my eyebrow a bit. Is the problem really with the person you hired? Or is the problem with you? Or is there a problem with the communication between the two of you?

At some point, I’m going to make a mistake.

I feel pretty confident about my abilities. I’m confident in my ability to get things done, and to get them done quickly. I do good work. But I’m far from perfect, and at some point, I’ll make a mistake. On my own project. On a client’s project. On something.

Mistakes happen. But what defines me, as a developer, isn’t my ability to do everything perfectly the first time. What defines me is how I handle mistakes. If I make one, I admit it. And I fix it.

Mistakes can happen for a variety of reasons, but what I mostly notice, when it comes to mistakes, is that it’s a communication error. Sometimes a request comes in, and it’s not very detailed and I have to try to sort out what is needed. Sometimes, I just don’t understand what the client wants, because email is not always the best medium to relay ideas. I love email and hate the phone, and I just admitted that email is not always ideal. Sometimes the client isn’t even sure what they want which can lead to misinterpretation. There are lots of reasons why mistakes happen. But they always happen.

Don’t be dismayed if I, or whoever you have working with you, makes a mistake. I don’t promise perfection. But what I do promise is that I’ll do my best, and fix problems that may arise.

What to do if you find a mistake?

Be calm. Let us know about the problem. Send an email and explain what went wrong. Don’t berate or yell or use ALL CAPS. Don’t assume that it happened because of incompetence or laziness.

Everyone makes mistakes. Who you are isn’t defined by your lack of errors, but by how you respond to those errors.

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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