The mantra in website project management circles when discussing the quality of a project with a client is: "Fast, cheap, good — pick two." Web design companies with many concurrent projects and deadlines need to make sure client expectations are realistic. Plus, those teams are also used to doing everything then handing over a finished product, so their working style and frame of reference for how to manage a project tends to be quite limited.
Let's consider the life cycle of a house for a moment. The cycle begins with the house in the construction phase. Once the home is ready to be lived in, the cycle shifts from construction to the maintenance phase. Finally, after the home has been in use for a while it's time to modernize and upgrade old fixtures and design elements.
The life cycle of a website works in the exact same way.
[Graphic showing the three main stages: construction (initial build), maintenance (content updates, technical updates/bug fixes), upgrades (functionality/design changes)]
When it comes to creating a website, regardless of how involved you are in the actual building of the website, it's important to know what your different options are, what they mean for your website ownership experience, and how to pick what will work best for YOU. Plus, it's always handy to understand some of the industry lingo so you can communicate more easily with your friendly neighborhood web developer.