In one of our previous blog posts, we shared our project management experiences. Now it’s time to take a closer look at the way we estimate Drupal projects.
So the moment comes when you finally tell us about your awesome would-be Drupal website. One of our important tasks then is to estimate the scope of the web development and other work that needs to be done for it.
What works will your estimate include?
Your Drupal project estimate may include information architecture, design, theming, development, testing, PM services, quality assurance, hosting etc. Everything depends on what you really need. For example, you may have your designs ready or you may have just an idea that we can implement from scratch.
Either way, don’t hesitate to contact us whether you want to build a new website (InternetDevels will take care of it) or add new functionality to the existing one (which is mainly the mission of our Drupal support service Drudesk). Whatever your needs are, any work you need can be estimated and then done to the highest level.
As part of the estimation process, we need to make some important steps
Let’s talk and analyse the information
We need a clear understanding of your goals and expectations about the Drupal project. Why do you need from a website and what results would you like to achieve? If it’s an existing Drupal website, what exactly would you like to change about it?
To have the right vision of the project, we will ask you many questions. Emails, chats, video Skype conferences — whatever works best for you.
Technical specifications (‘specs’)
At this point, we start writing technical specifications or so-called ‘specs’. They outline the requirements of your website and the way these requirements will be implemented. You might also come up with your own specs if you have ones, and we will study them carefully. The specs are updated with new information and become more detailed at every step.
Visualizing your ideas
The key part of bringing your ideas to life is to visualize your future Drupal website. You may have your own wireframes or even mock-ups (final design) that can be used for development. If not, we can offer you the services of our skilled information architect. He’ll create the wireframes and then the mock-ups for your future website by taking all relevant usability practices into account. You’re sure to admire the result.
The information architect also may sue the ‘user stories’ approach by asking you to describe the expected user’s behavior on your website. You may also provide us with the examples of sites you like or dislike. This will help our information architect get better understanding of your preferences. Although the website’s design may change from its original concept, this will give us a good starting point.
Our information architect is experienced with what Drupal can provide by default and will make wireframes that are as Drupal-friendly as possible.
The estimation process
Guided by all these requirements, as well as by their extensive experience, the specialists involved in the development process make their estimate of the effort necessary to deliver the project results. The cost of the project is then calculated.
The designer, the development lead, and, of course, the project manager unite their efforts in the estimation process, consulting each other and giving advice if necessary. The specialists then decide how to build this or that feature in the best way.
At this step, we also look at how complex your Drupal project is, your preferences for project schedule, in order to decide how many web developers and other experts are needed and what their skills should be. We can then offer you the team that suits your project best. We always adjust to your needs, so just tell us about them!
SOW (Statement of Work)
Another important step is making a Statement of work. It provides a comprehensive description of all your project and includes the team, the timeline, the budget, development approach. Our suggestions and assumptions for the project. This will keep you and us on the same page and get a clear understanding of what will be done, along with when and how. The statement of work can be treated as a project contract.
A few words about your budget
We can offer you a great solution to fit any budget. We just need to know how much you expect to spend. If your plans for your future website exceed your budget, we can advise you to split your project into phases and start with the most necessary features (a so-called ‘Minimum viable product’). Other extra features can be implemented during later phases.