After many weeks and months of meetings, the decision has been made to finally replace your old website with a shiny new one. Out with the old static site from several years ago and in with a new robust, modern web application which will form the hub for your online presence. You have done your due diligence and your platform of choice is Drupal (good choice we say!).
You, as the project owner, are now tasked with finding the right vendor. You know that this decision is such a critical one and can make or break your project. Selecting the right vendor will ensure a successful project, triumphant jubilation, and large bonuses based on your awesomeness (it’s good to dream a little). However, selecting the wrong vendor means project failure, sideways glances from the bigwigs, and no overtly incredible pay bonuses. You have to pick the right partner. How?
Follow these 3 steps to selecting your Drupal partner
Make sure they are Drupal specialists. We cannot overstate this enough and it is the one item which will cascade repercussions (both good or bad) through every decision which arises during your project. The vast majority of clients with rescue projects who come to us for help is due to the fact they previously chose a vendor who is not a Drupal specialist. Just because your local garage does oil changes doesn’t mean they should be trusted with customizing your Ferrari. If you are having a Drupal site or application built, pick Drupal experts to partner with.
Make sure they can talk the talk and walk the walk. Speak with their technical team and not just a sales representative. Ask questions, probe, throw as many curveballs as you can at them. Do they really know what they are talking about or is it all sales and marketing jargon? Any agency can say they “do Drupal” so that alone is not enough. You need to see how comfortable they are in presenting solutions to your problems. Do they have similar solutions and experiences they can refer to or are they spinning hypotheticals?
Make sure they don’t give you a solution before truly understanding the problem. You obviously want to get to a vision and a price, but it is important to remember those are only truly accurate after a discovery phase. If you ask a Drupal expert “How much does a Drupal site cost?” any answer other than “I have no idea” is a shot in the dark at this stage because it really depends on many variables of which can only be really understood after a full discovery is completed. Think of it like asking “how much does a house cost?”. In determining the cost of a home, you can only start to narrow down price when you know the location, square footage, number of rooms, finishes, curb appeal, etc, etc… The vision and price of your project are certainly very important but only if they are reliable and based on reality.
The above three steps are pass/fail. Getting it right will likely produce a successful partnership and project. Whereas getting it wrong, it can begin a long slippery slope to project failure. If you have a Drupal project and are looking for a vendor, you don’t want the potential partners to just say they “do Drupal,” make sure they are Drupal experts. Embrace them warmly when they ask questions to understand the problem rather than promise glittery solutions.