Drupal

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Work Estimate Confirmation

  • 1.  Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 18, 2018 15:53
    I've been asked by non-technical staff to confirm some of the estimates I received from our development partner for work on our Drupal 8 site.

    While I have a fairly good sense that the estimates we are receiving are accurate, I've been asked to due my due diligence to ensure we are using our resources in the most efficient manner.  Do you have any recommendations as to how or where I can get an idea of accurate work hour estimates for some common tasks/projects within Drupal 8?

    This task currently in question is updating our unsubscribe form to a opt-in/out preference center that would require the updating of 2 existing modules that connect our Drupal 8 instance to our IBM Silverpop instance as well as applying our visual brand standards and interactivity for the responsive form.

    Thanks,
    Karin

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    Karin Rockwin
    Director, Website Properties
    Covenant House
    New York, NY
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 2.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 18, 2018 16:08
    This kind of thing can vary so widely, especially when involving connections to other contributed modules, I'd be surprised if there was any accurate way to calculate this without reviewing the full scope of work. You would probably have to pay a comparable company to create an estimate as if they were going to do the project. 

    Has your current developer been vetted and have you worked with them before?

    = Ruby





    Tech Accelerate


  • 3.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 19, 2018 08:16

    Karin – I agree with Ruby. It can be hard to give you an accurate opinion on the amount of work involved without knowing the specifics, and having some understanding of the details of how you're set up. Drupal is a pretty open-ended framework and there are often multiple ways to do things. For example there are often times where someone will have set up some functionality in a way that doesn't make a lot of sense (simply due to not being very familiar with Drupal), which can make changing it later a royal pain.

     

    So what that means is that to get another estimate, really you would have to get someone technical to scope out the work. At a minimum you would need to provide the names of the specific modules involved, and a specific scope of work for the changes you want, including the specifics of the branding that you would be expecting to see.

     

    In your case, from what I can gather in your description –

     

    Updating 2 existing modules should be trivial (15 mins say), if they are existing modules on drupal.org that just need a newer version installed. Or, if you mean "update" as in these are custom modules that require new code to be added, that could take almost any amount of time depending on the code changes themselves.

     

    Applying branding to a page depends on how extensive the branding itself is and how different from the current design on that page. Also depends on how much flexibility you have ("it should look something like this" versus "it needs to look exactly like this design mockup"). It's substantially different to change a logo and the colour scheme, versus implementing an entire page design. It also depends on whether the page is responsive (mobile friendly) or not. However one specific thing I can tell you is that it's not likely to matter how many pages are involved (if the overall page design is the same for each one).

     

    Sorry if this isn't the answer you were looking for. :)

     

    Martin

     


    Martin Hansen
    Team Lead, Web Services
    519.725.7875 x2120 | 888.817.3048


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  • 4.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 19, 2018 10:43
    You pay companies to provide estimates?
    If you have a carefully drawn set of requirements, you should be able to put it out for bid and then learn from the bids you get back what other companies would charge.

    ------------------------------
    Ted Spencer
    Executive Director
    Voters Pledge
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate


  • 5.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 19, 2018 07:53
    I estimate Drupal sites almost every day, and unfortunately, if there is a magic formula I haven't found it. Mostly it is based on experience; you did something very similar previously so you can confidently estimate that some particular task will take 10 or 100 hours. In your case, there are several complications.

    1. Getting an estimate from another developer may or may not help you. Your current developer presumably has more insight into your set up that somebody else will, so the new estimate will be based on assumptions that may or may not be accurate.

    2. "Updating two existing modules" could mean anything from somebody changing a configuration setting on the modules (maybe 15 minutes of effort plus some time for QA) to needing to modify the modules to add the new functionality you want, which could easily be 40-100 hours of work or more.

    3. It's Drupal, so there are probably 5 ways to accomplish what you want, and any developer is going to fall back on the methods they are most comfortable with. That doesn't mean anybody is wrong if somebody says 10 hours and somebody else says 50. They could both be right and the 50-hour route could be the best way to accomplish the task.

    That probably didn't help much.

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    Chris ODonnell
    Business Development Manager
    Promet Source
    Chicago, IL
    chris.odonnell@prometsource.com
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 6.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 20, 2018 10:41
    Everyone here has given good advice on what would be needed to get an estimate from a new developer. I might suggest from a project management perspective that you find out from your finance team if multiple estimates are actually required for a project of this scope. For example, my org has a dollar threshold beyond which we need to get multiple bids.

    If you think the estimates are fair and they're under any thresholds for needing multiple bids, you could just write a memo to your boss (or whoever is asking you for more estimates) that indicates the time & effort that would be involved to get more quotes (you'd need to write up detailed technical specs, source other developers, wait to get estimates from them, etc.) and then says you'd prefer to go with the current developer to avoid spending more of the org's time and effort on pricing alternate solutions for a small project. Sometimes a memo to the file indicating the reason for your decision is all that's needed from a financial auditing perspective.

    If you think that's taking it too far or maybe you do actually want to know if you're being charged fairly, you could ask for your developer's hourly rate and then compare that to other firms' or contractor's hourly rates for Drupal development. So, then you're not spending the time to draw up detailed specs for this specific thing--just comparing in general what you're paying your developer vs. what is standard in the industry.

    And if you do find that they are more expensive than other folks with similar experience levels, you can still write a memo justifying your decision to continue using them, based on the fact that they know your system already and that a new developer would have to spend time reviewing the site to get up to speed.

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    Autumn Patterson
    Web & IT Director
    Arts Midwest
    Minneapolis, MN
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    Tech Accelerate


  • 7.  RE: Work Estimate Confirmation

    Posted Apr 21, 2018 02:14
    Paying someone to build and maintain a Drupal website is somewhat like having a house built and remodeled or maintained. If you don't know what you're doing and don't have good plans, everything becomes more expensive as you go and the results are crap. If you have good plans and people that know what they're doing, the costs stay down for the long term.

    Some shops have higher hourly rates because they are only interested in the bigger clients with bigger projects; they have the expertise to go through lots of requirement analysis and engineering to get to a good custom solution. Other shops may have low rates, but you don't know if they are accurately quoting the scope of work--some do, so don't. If they know what they're doing, they'll find the easiest way to do it and keep costs down. If they don't have much experience, you may end up getting charged because you and they go back and forth too often trying to decide what you really want.

    (There is no reason these days that you can't have a good Drupal 8 site built using contributed functionality that is well maintained by the open source community; you shouldn't have to pay a developer to do it with custom coding from the ground up--at least that's my opinion.)

    Ultimately you need someone in your organization who is learning how websites work and can keep a close eye on requirements to see that they don't "creep" into an expensive, unplanned mess.

    You can follow all of the audit-trail requirements you want and get multiple quotes, but if you don't have a clear vision of what you need (i.e., detailed requirements), your bids will be meaningless and you will be at the mercy of the vendor to deliver whatever they can for the money you end up paying them.

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    Ted Spencer
    Executive Director
    Voters Pledge
    ------------------------------

    Tech Accelerate