Relationships with developers tend to be quite delicate at times due to a variety of reasons. There are certain situations where issues reach a level after which the result is a breakdown of the work relationship. This is especially true when pressure builds up in deadline-sensitive projects and a communication gap exists on both sides.

A developer quitting the job in the middle of a project can be quite a devastating challenge to overcome for you, as a business that is handling the task in the first place. Therefore, it is important to manage and streamline things from the beginning.

So what are the measures you'd need to put in place to get a developer stick to your project's deadlines and prevent them from quitting?

Let's dig in!

1. Communicate your expectations effectively

Some developer-client relationships don't go all the way to the end because of differing expectations or because one person or the other hasn't communicated things properly. As WordPress developer and Codeable expert Ashley Shaw explains:

Project deadlines are a contentious topic because the client's perspective of how long something should take and the reality, which is invariably what the developer would predict, sometimes do not correlate. When you hire a developer, ensure that you map out every detail of your requirement to understand the scope of your project and identify a realistic turnaround time. Clear communication between you and the developer on your expectations is essential..

Establishing a clear language between you and the developer you hired means, for example, agreeing on when the project will start. In fact, don't take for granted that a developer will jump directly into your project right after you hired them.

Another aspect that you should establish, if you're hiring someone on an hourly basis or a retainer is to make sure that your idea of working day reflects that from the developer. Do you need them to work on weekends? Are they clear on that? Will the developer even be working on weekends?

These expectations are vital to a successful development project.

2. Be aware of how time zones will affect your workflow

Time zones can sometimes cause great inconveniences in professional relationships. It is important to sort these out from the beginning. Ashley elaborates this further:

Differing time zones can quite often lead to delays in a project because if anything unexpected happens - and it will at a certain point - you might only get a response from the developer the next day, which is during the night where you live. However, this does not have to become an issue if you, as the client, are always aware of it and establish an understanding with the developer you're working with from the start about their availability during emergencies.

Prior communication can phase out this problem easily because once you make the developer aware of your working hours/your availability, you'll be able to respond to requests and questions at the earliest and the developer can schedule their workflow accordingly, minimizing any inconveniences.

If time differences allow is, you could even set an overlapping time slot in which you both are working on the project or in which you could have calls about it.

3. Ask to be informed about delays and barriers in the process

Even if you and your developer have planned everything out, things could go awry because of something completely unexpected. That's a hard truth you have to embrace about development. That's why having clear expectations shared up front, a detailed project brief, and a proactive approach is your way to lower the chances of project delays.

But when something unexpected pops up, the developer not only should try to address it at their best, they will need to inform you and make sure you're understanding how that is affecting the current project. In fact, Ashley highlights that it is a developer's job to do this and there is nothing wrong if you expect it from them:

When the developer identifies a problem, they need to make sure their client becomes aware of it and understands the complication. And by that, I mean how it could then affect certain aspects of their project and that there may be a delay in meeting their project deadline.

This is very important because, when each party is clear on the current state of things, they tend to be more patient and co-operating in all matters, mostly when these "hiccups" were likely unpredictable and hard to anticipate.

What to do if a developer quits?

Although it is very rare, a developer might become unresponsive or even quit on your project. Why that? Even though there's a wide spectrum of different reasons that could leave you without a developer during a project, there are still few things you could do to get things unstuck.

Let me just better define the possible scenario we're talking about: you hired a developer for your project, all was running smoothly when, all of a sudden, the developer tells you they can't complete your project as requested.

What should you do next?

Well, Codeable experts not only have been pre-screened for their development skill set and experience, they also go through a communications and client management testing phase where we assess whether they can manage clients professionally (read more about this process in our whitepaper). That means, if the developer can't follow through with your project, you should always expect to be informed in a timely manner and receive reasons on why they can't proceed.

If that's the case, Customer Support will jump in and after reviewing the current status of your project, they will match you with another developer who's perfectly capable of getting things back on track. If anything just outlined isn't happening, immediately reach out to Codeable's 24/7 support and inform us about that.

The other thing you should do, which I can't stress enough how important is, is that you need to determine why they did quit in order to move further and learn from that. Ashley points out that it might have been a shortcoming on your part and, as a result, you need to check what is what:

If a developer quits, you should look at how the project went down. Where were the problems with that developer? If they quit, maybe it was that you didn't provide enough information, maybe you weren't responsive enough to their request and unrealistic in expectations of the timeline.

In that instance, try to be truthful with yourself and look at all of the things that led to the situation and aim to avoid them with the next developer.

Do you know what are the top common reasons for developers to quit on a project, after they got hired? In no specific order, as they all are show stoppers:

Wrapping up

A developer might quit due to a variety of reasons that aren't under your control. That's something that might scare you, I get it. But If you want to take advantage of remote and outsourced developers, that's a feeling you'll have to cope with. That's not a curse, though, that's a habit you should be building little by little.

To facilitate that, there are several things you have control of you can do and it all starts with the outsourcing platform you're choosing. Then, it's about learning what working with a remote developer will require and always be open to improving your communication skills.

Don't forget: getting the best out of your client-developer relationship sits on both parties' laps. Take ownership and be responsible for yours.


This blog post features Ashley Shaw who is the founder of LightSpeed, a web agency that has been developing WordPress websites for over a decade. They can take care of and manage different areas of any business, such as frontend or backend development, WooCommerce support, MailChimp and Systems Administration.

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