How to Select a Good Drupal Development Shop: Trust, UX & Security

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.

Trust

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.

User Experience

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.

Drupal Security

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.

Comments

I would add, community policy. Choosing to build on top of an open source platform, a client will only truly get their "community ROI" if the developers they work with have a commitment to giving back to the community. This means contributing patches to modules that are used, and making a plan to contribute custom code, case studies, and other items for maximum value to the client.

I would love to see more development shops with a stated community policy.

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About the Author

Joaquin Lippincott, CEO

Joaquin is a 20+ year technology veteran helping to lead businesses in the move to the Cloud. He frequently speaks on panels about the future of tech ranging from IoT and Machine Learning to the latest innovation in the entertainment industry.  He has helped to modernize software for industry leaders like Sony, Daimler, Intel, the Golden Globes, Siemens Wind Power, ABC, NBC, DC Comics, Warner Brothers & the Linux Foundation.

As the CEO and Founder of Metal Toad, an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, his primary job is to "get the right people in the room".  This one responsibility is cross-functional and includes both external business development functions as well as internal delegation and leadership development.

A UCLA alumni, he also serves in the community as a Board Member for the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce, and Stand for Children Oregon - a public education political advocacy group. As an outspoken advocate for entry-level job creation in tech he helped found the non-profit, P4TH, an organization dedicated to increasing the number of entry-level jobs in the tech industry, and is in the process of organizing an Advisory Board for the Bixel Exchange, a Los Angeles non-profit that provides almost 200 tech internships every year.

 

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