True story, from my glorious agency days:
*Receives email about a critical bug*
*Notifies relevant parties that I’m on-task, fixing said bug*
“Did you see my email?”
“Yes, I’m working on a fix right now.”
“OK, it’s really important that this gets sorted out fast!”
“I know, I’m working on it; I’ll let you know when I’m done.”
Five minutes later, another call…
“Is it fixed yet?”
“I’m working on it. I’ll call you when I’m finished.”
“OK, it’s just the client is getting anxious.”
Five minutes later, my phone rings again…
“The website is still broken; how long is it going to take to fix it?”
“I’m aware that the site’s still broken because I’m still fixing it. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take. That kind of depends on how often you’re going to call me, asking for updates.”
“No need to be snippy, the client is chasing me!”
This was the bane of my I life whilst working for design agencies. In instances such as this, the project manager should have handled the client, rather than pestering the dev for updates.
In my experience, clients are normally fairly calm once you acknowledge the issue and reassure them that the company is doing everything in its power to rectify the situation.
Unfortunately, it can be really hard to give a time estimate when debugging a problem. Sometimes it’s something small and silly, other times it’s an unforeseen gotcha with system-wide repercussions.
The absolutely worst thing you can do is keep bugging the person tasked with fixing the problem for updates. Most often than not, the developer will not be able to estimate a time-frame with any level of accuracy. All you will do is distract and slow down their progress.
I really do not miss agency work.