4 questions to ask a Drupal developer before you hire them

Doing your research can help you get the best dev for the job. Jeffrey Wisard of Drupal Partners explains.

Drupal website on multiple devices

A Google search for 'Drupal developers' results in a tyranny of choice

Fact: Drupal, being an open-source CMS, is fantastic at customization. However, this is both a positive and negative. With so much customization, where do you start? How do you implement? Where do you update? And who will help?

Thus, you go to Google, type in, 'Drupal developers' and you'll quickly be bombarded with several companies all claiming to be the best ever, with thousands of years of experience and some even offering “$12.27/hr services 4 u!!!”

We're well aware of how much of a challenge it can be to find your ideal Drupal development company and partner. So we at Drupal Partners have created a list of questions to ask your potential development firm before you sign any contracts or start your project. If you get any red flags from the answers we'd suggest you should, politely, walk away...

01. How long have you been in the Drupal business?

Outside Television website on computer monitor

Look for experience in all aspects of Drupal development

Experience is really the first thing that matters. The more experience, the better. An experienced firm will have seen it all.

From simple to complex projects, a good firm will foresee challenges and give a detailed roadmap to achieve your Drupal needs.

Remember that the potential firm’s past years of Drupal dev experience is a pretty good indicator of their future success. Especially since Drupal 8 is coming out, you may want a firm that’s dealt with earlier versions. (Particularly because you'll eventually want to upgrade to v8).

02. Which industries have you worked in?

Ask if the company has worked in your specific industry. If yes, it's a huge plus because they'll already know how your business works and your unique problems. This saves you time and, of course, the final product will be more targeted to your industry.

Also, it's smart to know what other industries they have worked on. Wondering why? Experience across industries yields more creative and innovative solutions. For example, a module that was used in another industry could be an interesting fit for your business, as well. To us, the more diverse the industry portfolio, the better.

03. What third party apps have you integrated with Drupal?

Drupal website on multiple smartphones

A good developer will have experience of third-party integrations

The answer to this question will clearly gauge the level of sophistication of the firm and what they're capable of. If the Drupal development company has never [successfully] completed any third party integrations, then this is a clear sign of their expertise (or lack thereof).

If they're a young company, this shouldn't necessarily be a deal-breaker. But, if they claim to have "years of experience", yet don't have a track record of third party integrations, this is not a good sign.

04. How do you communicate with your clients?

Communications plays a key role in any Drupal development success. Sure, you want to make sure that the company doesn't just "talk" and actually "develops". However, soft skills are critical at all stages of the project for a smooth completion. Make sure that the company will provide at least one dedicated resource, either project manager or a consultant, who will be exclusive to your project.

Also, ask about the communication tools in practice to ensure that they are always reachable. Every phase comes with its deadline, so make sure the company offers you an effective communication channel. Here at Drupal Partners, we use Assembla to track all of our projects and communicate updates.

So, there you go – our top four questions to ask your future Drupal development firm. Asking these questions will help guarantee a project that is not only successful but is delivered on-time.

Words: Jeffrey Wisard

Jeffrey Wisard is digital marketing manager at Drupal Partners, a Drupal design and development company. Follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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