2012 in PHH

There’s more than few things we haven’t progressed with PHH this year and actually in some respects we’ve moved backwards:

– scalability. We went down on number of machines and deprecated load balancing which has impaired the ability to respond at peak times and made the whole system vulnerable to outages.

– availability. Wrong implementation of intergration with external data sources meant many hours a day the website was down or unavailable to users on a daily basis. Day after day the data wasn’t even there until the next overnight reload and several times even that hasn’t resolved the problems or even has brought new ones. We’ve managed to deflect the source of the problem to the external teams, however for our customers it brought no comfort at all.

– Quality. We’ve received a number of complaints from users after wrongful implementation of external data source beginning of this year. The project was ran on a impossible deadline meaning the implementation went in without any (!) testing by a switch of one developer’s button. This has lead to many months of data outages, customer resignations and multiple angry e-mails. Crucially the geolocation part of data integration has failed so greatly that for many months finding properties by location was impossible and the whole implementation has been beyond repair and wasn’t repaired even until the end of the year.

– performance. The performance of the website has deteriorated greatly over the course of the year. This is mainly due to the fact no one coordinated the changes required for the website back end with the work of integrating new feeds and external data sources. There was no impact analysis as different developers worked in different projects and no one was looking after how those project impact each other in terms of performance.

– usability. We’ve made the initial design much more complex and confusing with property details enhanced with a number of confusing actions like: Enquire, Book, Book Now and guiding user experience thourgh many external iframes. We’ve also stated opening tons of popups, pop unders and what have you making the website look “spammy”. Many of the features added throught the year were inconsisten and overlapping. Due to lack of product development oftentimes we’ve tried to add functionalities of every other competitor on the market dragging the product in all directions at once.