The lost administration system
A few weeks ago i got a change request for a system i wrote about a year and a half ago, it was a little web system for working out an indicative insurance quote for some inputs from the user, blah, blah, blah.
Anyway, i get a few small change requests, a new option here, a different price for that, removing another option etc.
So i connect to the database and start typing my SQL and the queries seem very familiar and i dimly remeber doing this before so i go back to my browser and append /admin/login.asp and lo and behold there's a login screen, i put in the login credientials i use for testing in most of my apps and i'm in. The admin system was able to handle all the change requests without touching a single line of code or writing any queries. I can actually remember writing the admin system and giving training and documentation on how to use it but knowing the staff at this particular organisation as soon as it wasn't directly in front of them they would have forgotten about it.
So we charged them $180 dollars an hour for the change requests, and i didn't even type any code.
This isn't the first time i've had this happen with an administration system, it seems to happen in the sort of application that only need updating once every year or couple of years. Staff leave admins change etc. and everyone completely forgets it's there.
I work at a smaller company, and we have had more problems in the past than we do today with lost utilities. Since we do a web application, the best solution I've found is to make sure you have a central page everyone can get to that has links to every single tool you make. Something similar would be a good idea for desktop applications, I'm sure. Of course, it looks like it's in your best interest to let clients do what they're going to do.
We do customised business sites in a CMS as core business.
Sometimes clients ask us to do content changes.