Finding a vendor to provide you with design and development services for your web project can seem like an overwhelming task. And if you’re building with a specific technology (such as Drupal), you'll definitely want to do your research. It’s important to get it right the first time and choose an agency that not only has experience doing what you need done, but one that will be a good fit for your project and organization.
However, there are a few questions you can ask that will help you get the measure of whether a web design and development agency is the right fit for you. Asking hard questions ahead of time will help you make sure you go with an agency that can keep your Drupal project on track, on budget — and save you from headaches or a painful vendor switch mid-project.
1. Tell us about your discovery process
A discovery phase is arguably the most important phase of any web development project. A well-run discovery phase thoroughly identifies your organization’s needs, your site’s current shortfalls, and determines a framework for addressing those problems. If a development agency doesn’t emphasize the discovery phase — or worse, skips it completely, then buyer beware. Neglecting the discovery will cost you precious resources down the line in terms of time, money, and trust.
2. How do you manage Drupal projects?
If you’re going with a full suite of design and development services for your organization, you must make sure there will be someone in the agency who will be dedicated to project management for your site. Project management is a specialty, and a good project manager will make sure that your digital platform is developed properly, according to the strategy laid out on the discovery phase, and according to your specifications. Treating project management like an afterthought is a surefire way to sink your Drupal project timeline (and your budget).
3. Can we see your Drupal.org organizational page?
Are you considering using Drupal for your site? Go with an agency that’s active in the Drupal community. Check out their profile on Drupal.org and see how they’ve contributed to the project. A good Drupal agency will have a long list of modules that they maintain, code commitments, core contributions, and projects supported. If you’re considering an agency for a Drupal project that doesn’t have any contributions on their page on Drupal.org — or worse, doesn’t have a presence at all -- it’s best to find a different agency. The Drupal community is vibrant and full of excellent shops (like FFW) that are familiar with the code, active in the project and the community, and have the familiarity with the software to make sure your project is a success.
Looking for more tips for running a Drupal project? Check download our eBook 10 Drupal Project Pitfalls to Avoid for great tips and tricks about working with Drupal.