Here’s a story¹:
“We’ve got a problem. E-comm Co. is threatening not to renew their FullStory contract if we can’t address their performance concerns.”
“What performance concerns? We’ve been live on their site for a year and everything has been fine.”
“They ran a Google Lighthouse report and they’re saying we’re slowing them down.”
“Okay, right—I’ll get an engineer on this ASAP.”
A brief overview: FullStory
, you can actually see them.
Now, any code you add to your site will have a performance cost, even if it is imperceptible to the user
. But “imperceptible to the user” might not matter. If Google Lighthouse—the performance profiling tool that has the world’s largest search engine in its name—shows some murky numbers and says you’re slow, and if this causes a problem for your customer—even if you have a very reasonable explanation
for the numbers!—your customer’s problem is now your problem.
Probably the worst way to experience this problem—aside from the customer not renewing—is having to do a fire drill with the engineering team to save the customer. Fire drills are expensive. Engineers and other team members have to interrupt what they’re doing to do research, write emails, and get on calls. Even if the end result is “everything is by design; the numbers in the report aren’t providing a complete picture; here’s why”, it’s still not good that you got to that point in the first place.
How can we prevent this issue from happening again by doing a better job of setting expectations? Let’s walk back the customer journey from the point where we first saw the problem.