Lately, I have been challenged by a problem. The trouble with it is that it is something I really want to do and I keep running into roadblocks. When is the last time you faced something that seemed to be impossible to conquer? Do you find that you doubt yourself?
In the past, my motto has been to go with the path of least resistance. Roadblocks might be telling you to move on. The energy you expend making something work that is unworkable can very draining. Then there is the adage, nothing good in life is free, meaning you have to work at it.
A colleague encourages me to keep going. “Everyone you have talked to says this project has value. It is not the project; your problem is finding people who want to do the work.”
It is hard to believe with unemployment so high, but true.
So here is the situation: I want to launch a new website. The idea was conceived in early 2009 and it has been nine months since writing the specifications for the site. Since then, I have been through two Drupal website programmers.
The first one was probably overqualified and my site does not fit the profile of his clients. It took us about two months to figure out it was not a good match. His projects usually run $75,000 and up.
After we parted ways, I stepped back and decided to teach myself a bit of Drupal. First, it would give me a better way to communicate with the programmer and second, to gauge the kind of programmer I needed for the project.
Several months into the learning curve, I was starting to develop the test site. I fancy technology.
Knowing that I can be an overachiever, it was important to step back and let someone else do the technical parts. There is more to a website than the framework and structure and content needed to be my primary focus.
Fortunately, the first Drupal programmer and I left on good terms and he offered to refer someone who would be a better fit for the size of my project. That was about three months ago.
The new programmer and I come to terms. He begins work on 6/24 to develop the “test site” within 3 weeks; an estimate of 20-25 hours of work.
Several weeks later, I called to find out how things were progressing; I had not heard from him or seen anything. Were there any questions?
He responds that quite a bit of work is done and he’s plugging away at it.
A week goes by and I have not seen anything. I am beginning to get a bit concerned and I follow up with him.
Six and a half weeks into the project, I get to see progress on the site; development is severely handicapped.
It’s time for a conversation. He has been ill and there have been family issues over the last month. He is embarrassed that the project is not done. He offers to let me find someone else or if I want he will continue to work on it.
At this point, the thought of looking for yet another programmer is not my first option. If he will invest the time (remember this is a 20-25 hour job), I am willing push through with him.
A question nags at me though, why did he not tell me about the delays earlier?
He says he’s going to focus on the project for the next few days.
It remains dormant for the next few weeks.
Almost 60 days into the project, I call again on a Friday.
On Monday, there is an email notice from his bank sending a full refund of my deposit due to a project delay. To his credit, he did what was fair.
Perseverance is another one of my strengths. I think my colleague is right, it is not the idea. There is something about my selection process that is not working.
So now, I am in the market for an experienced Drupal programmer to get the test website in action. Some key attributes and skills: technical know-how, accountable, manages project and time efficiently, problem solver, ethical, enthusiastic, easy to work with and most importantly- a proactive communicator. Recommendations?
Hi Lynn, I noticed your comments about Drupal, given the short time estimates, is this an out of the box implementation of Drupal with the appropriate Modules setup, or do you require some coding?
Hi Dan, I would classify this as out of the box implementation with maybe some minor tweaking. An experienced programmer who has a broad knowledge of the mods can do this easily. Many of the mods are already loaded but have not been activated, nor are the views created. It may seem like too simple of a project, but as the site develops, there will probably more programming needs. I would prefer to build a relationship with someone who has the bandwidth.
Perhaps our web team at Zone 5 cam be of some help. We are quite versed in Drupal. In fact, our own site was developed using Drupal and we’ve used it for a number of other client web projects. Let me know if you’d like to chat with us a little more. Be glad to set up a call. Ray
Is there a reason, after repeated failures that you want to continue to do this in Drupal? I worked with Drupal for 2 years and I found that finishing projects with it was endemic to the Drupal architecture. Drupal makes it easy to get started but hard to complete.
Maybe you would consider WordPress instead? In the past 6 months I believe that WordPress has finally added the small set of features (Custom Post Types & Menu System) that kept if from being used and caused people to choose Drupal instead. After moving to WordPress 1.5 years ago I agreed to take a Drupal project again last year but after a few days working on it I realized why I had left Drupal. Never again will I do a project on Drupal; it is just too painful.
Don’t fall into the “sunken cost” trap; make your best decision based on what you should do moving forward not based on what you’ve already invested in.
Hope this helps.
P.S. There is a great community that has just emerged for WordPress that can help you resolve your WordPress questions much more rapidly than before and definitely more rapidly than with Drupal.
@Ray – Thank you for teeing up Zone 5, maybe we can talk later next week. I have some client commitments through Thursday.
@Mike – I looked at WordPress initially a year ago when this project was ready to take some legs. WordPress did not have the modules or capabilities for storing and retrieving data on the back end and other requirements. My database person and I talked with someone who was well versed in WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, the consensus was Drupal provided the best solution.
As you can see, I do like WordPress since this blog and my business site uses it. Thank you for the great resource reference.
@Lynn: Yes, a year ago Drupal was sadly the better choice for projects requiring custom data types. However, today that is not the case; take a look at these writeups that I wrote and got voted highly:
So I guess what I was trying to say is that it might be in your best interest to consider if you should continue with Drupal or scrap it and go with WordPress. You learned about what you needed by your efforts so they won’t be lost but don’t let a sunken cost keep you from making the right choice going forward (I’m not saying switching to WordPress *is* the right choice but you’ll never know if you don’t at least consider switching.)