If you are in the market for Drupal development, you may feel like you are trying to pick a car mechanic without knowing anything about cars. Like picking a mechanic, you often have to go on how you feel about the vendor. You should listen to what they say, and how they say it - carefully considering how that makes you feel.
While listening, there are a few things to listen for that will always help you:
- You've got to trust them.
- Thinking about the user experience.
- Understanding and commitment to security.
The reasons for going with someone you trust should be fairly obvious. Great case studies and an impressive client list can be compelling, but there's no substitute to listening to your gut. Trust underpins every interaction you have with your developer and I'd rather have an ok mechanic that I trust, then a great mechanic trying to squeeze money out of me. If you don't trust someone 100%, move on to the next vendor.
Finding someone who thinks about user experience can be difficult. Programmers can often be distracted by neat features or interesting algorithms, but this rarely translates into success for a website. Look for people that ask you questions about your website users and existing usage patterns. Finding ways to improve user experience always nets better results and happier customers.
Finally, security is often a very overlooked aspect of development. While Drupal has a number of built in features that support secure Drupal development it is easy to overlook things leaving critical security holes in your application. Telling the difference between a secure application and an insecure one is almost impossible, so it often boils down to trust. Your conversations with your Drupal developer should include a discussion regarding Drupal security - and it also helps if the development shop has a member of the Drupal Security team (like our Dylan Tack) on staff.