If you’ve ever seen Office Space, you most likely know that all TPS reports (that’s “Test Procedure Specification” for the uninformed) require cover sheets. The painfully ridiculous incident in the movie has become both a critical fixture of anti-corporate culture and a quintessential example of the eccentricities of bureaucracies of corporate America.
At HostGator, there are no TPS reports and cover sheets aren’t required to be put on anything. However, we do keep track of quite a few numbers and metrics and one of the metrics we do watch closely is chat volume.
The graph below is an average of the number of chats we completed per hour on any given day and at any given time throughout the month of March. The numbers are averaged, meaning that every Monday at 1 PM was averaged together to create a collective Monday at 1 PM metric. Our week-to-week variation is usually pretty negligible, so what you see on the graph is a fairly good representation of our chat volume for a given day. Note that the Y-axis starts at 30, meaning we never average less than 30 chats completed per hour.
(Click to see the full size version.)
The graph is a fairly normal distribution and makes it quite clear that we’re usually busiest right around noon central time on Mondays and Tuesdays. Our slowest times (on average) tend to be during the very early mornings on the weekends. 2 AM on Sunday is almost always dead and weekends in general tend to be fairly quiet when compared to the busy weekdays.
Keep in mind that all of these numbers are averages and they have to be taken as that. At the time of writing this post, things are actually slower than usual here. This morning was much busier than our typical Thursday morning and we only guess what tomorrow will be like. Our data indicates that it will be fairly busy for most of the day, but it could also end up being unusually quiet.
The hosting industry is an industry characterized by some amount of unpredictability. We do our best to staff our live chat and phone support departments according to the volume we’ve seen, but there are always going to be days when we’re overstaffed and days when we’re understaffed.
Unpredictability in a constantly changing industry like web hosting and at a constantly changing company like HostGator is a fact of life and much to the disappointment of the executives at Initech, not something that a cover sheet on a TPS report can mask.