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How to manage your web project (part 3)

In the previous post we explored how to select a content management system for you website.

Partners for life (cycle)

Next, you need to find a reliable technology partner that will approach the job with passion and deliver high quality consulting services throughout development life cycle and beyond. Since you will spend months working together, it is wise to keep on searching for the right company until you are confident that it is a perfect fit.

It is always best to find someone through personal recommendations. You can also visit the website of your CMS and look for their official integrators in your area. Other sources of information include LinkedIn, industry events and publications, or a regular web search.

Below is a list of questions you can ask to get to know your potential partners better:

Company

  • How long have you been in business?
  • What markets do you serve?
  • What is the size of the company?
  • What resources are available to you for completion of the project (staff, sub-contractors, etc.)? Can I have their resumes?
  • Will the implementation team remain consistent throughout the project lifecycle?
  • What is different about you that makes you stand out among competitors?
  • Is the company financially stable?
  • Is there any 3rd party proof of your position in the market?
  • Are you registered with any associations?
  • Do you have any certifications?
  • What is your philosophy, mission statement?
  • Which conferences have you attended recently?

Expertise

  • What types of projects/issues are your speciality?
  • What is the breadth of your services, can you handle all my needs?
  • What is your knowledge of the industry?
  • How do you measure project success and client satisfaction?
  • Is solution to my problems innovative? What are all the options?
  • Is Open Source right for my particular case? What are the pros and cons?
  • Do you have documented processes and procedures for daily operations?
  • How do you manage quality?

Project

  • Can you meet the time schedule?
  • What communication tools do you use to inform your clients of the project status?
  • When can I expect the final proposal to my RFP?
  • What happens if I need to change my requirements late in the project?
  • Will I be able to communicate to developers directly, or via project manager only?
  • What is your implementation methodology? How do you communicate with stakeholders?

Relationship

  • Will you assist me from planning, implementing, and rollout to reporting and assessing ROI?
  • What training and manuals will be provided to use and grow the system? What is the learning curve?
  • What level of support do you provide? What do you proactively monitor?
  • What are the procedures in the event of a system breakdown after launch?
  • How do I keep control over operations? For example if I need to switch to other providers?
  • From your experience, how does long term evolution of the system happens?

Costs

  • How do you charge (per hour, per day, per project)? What are your billing rates?
  • What is the total cost of ownership including infrastructure, technical support, software upgrades, user training, etc?

References

  • Please provide your track record summary. What are your most notable achievements?
  • Have you done similar projects (objectives, processes, users, industry, size, technology, etc.)? Can I see case studies about them?
  • Can you give me at least 3 names and phone numbers of references? Are they returning customers?

Interview

  • Is there a good feeling or “personal chemistry” when talking to consultants?
  • Do consultants listen to my needs, or do they tell me what my needs are?
  • Do consultants take my project with passion and want to implement it as efficiently and cost effectively as possible?
  • Do consultants educate me and enhance my skills?
  • Do consultants ask creative questions about the project? Have they provided you with some information or insights you had not previously considered?

After you are in love with these people, you can entrust them your project. But how do you describe it to them? This will be the topic of our next post.

Part 1: Start a web project

Part 2: Select your CMS

Part 4: Define requirements

Part 5: Organize development process

Part 6: Deploy the system

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