Why do Drupal Projects Fail?:
Evaluating Success Factors and
When to Use Drupal
Julia Kulla-Mader
http://www.juliakm.com
I...
Julia Kulla-Mader
Drupal.org member for 2 years and 33 weeks
Part I: How I started using Drupal
Web Development Internship
Yippee! My Own Project
Limited Budget
Not a lot of time
Trustworthy

• Security


• Customizable Permissions
Small, Modular and Useful

• Lightweight core code


• 4,000+ Modules
Lots of Smart, Helpful People

• 1,400+ at last Drupalcon


• Active support forms


• Used by major businesses &
  nonpro...
My First Drupal Project Was a Big Success
2 Years Later...How do I measure Drupal?

• IT Manager at a growing nonprofit


• Co-organizer of Triangle Drupal


• Conti...
Part II: Drupal Success Factors Survey

• Want to answer the question, “What makes Drupal projects
  succeed or fail?”


•...
Survey Sample
Survey Limitations

• Small Sample size (less than 30 people)


• Self-selected group, all with Drupal experience


• Lack...
Defining Success

• Was all or part of the project abandoned?


• The total cost of the project was within what was outline...
Success?: Abandonment




                                  11%

      Total abandonment
      Partial abandonment        ...
Success?: Cost




   Within Budget   Over Budget
                                 40%


                                 ...
Success?: Scope Creep




  New features > 15 percent requirements
  New feature < 15 percent requirements    47%
        ...
Success?: Completed on Schedule

      Completed on Schedule   Not Completed on Schedule




                             ...
Part III: What do problematic projects have in common?
1. Early Goal Setting Avoids Scope Creep
2. On-Going Project Audits Make a Difference
3. Modules Performance Matters

• If more than 90 percent of Drupal modules do not work as expected or meet
  user require...
4. Non-Developers Need to Understand Drupal

• Projects completed on schedule without scope creep are built by developers
...
5. Beware of Big Projects (Size and Cost)

    Projects Over Budget        Projects Meeting Budget


                  17%...
5. Beware of Big Projects (Size and Cost)

 Projects Exceeding Schedule   Projects Meeting Schedule



                 13...
Part IV: Should I use Drupal?
Can I devote time to setting project goals?

• Projects that devoted time to setting goals had more accurate specifications
Can I create accountability in my project?

• Can someone unbiased spend time checking deliverables against
  milestones?
...
Do I have experience evaluating modules against
user requirements?

• Can you or someone you hire can accurately predict w...
Do non-developers on the project have Drupal experience?

• Everyone on your team needs to understand Drupal before you st...
How big is my project?

• Big Drupal projects need more attention and are going to be inherently risky


• If you have a b...
Part V: Last Thoughts
What are common patterns of project success?

• Early goal setting


• On-going project audits


• More than 90 percent of...
What questions should I ask before starting?

• Can I devote time to setting project goals?


• Can I create accountabilit...
Thank you for listening
Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal
Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal
Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal
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Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal

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Presentation from Drupalcamp Atlanta on the results of a survey measuring the key factors for Drupal project success. You can find out more here and download the survey data:
http://www.juliakm.com/drupalcamp-atlanta-presentation-why-do-drupal-projects-fail

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Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal

  1. 1. Why do Drupal Projects Fail?: Evaluating Success Factors and When to Use Drupal Julia Kulla-Mader http://www.juliakm.com IRC/Twitter/Drupal: JuliaKM Drupalcamp Atlanta 2009
  2. 2. Julia Kulla-Mader Drupal.org member for 2 years and 33 weeks
  3. 3. Part I: How I started using Drupal
  4. 4. Web Development Internship
  5. 5. Yippee! My Own Project
  6. 6. Limited Budget
  7. 7. Not a lot of time
  8. 8. Trustworthy • Security • Customizable Permissions
  9. 9. Small, Modular and Useful • Lightweight core code • 4,000+ Modules
  10. 10. Lots of Smart, Helpful People • 1,400+ at last Drupalcon • Active support forms • Used by major businesses & nonprofits
  11. 11. My First Drupal Project Was a Big Success
  12. 12. 2 Years Later...How do I measure Drupal? • IT Manager at a growing nonprofit • Co-organizer of Triangle Drupal • Continuously asked, “Can I do this in Drupal?”
  13. 13. Part II: Drupal Success Factors Survey • Want to answer the question, “What makes Drupal projects succeed or fail?” • Surveyed 25+ Drupal content administrators, backend administrators, backend integrators, theme developers, code developers (Source: Drupal Kata) • Take the survey at: bit.ly/drupalsuccess
  14. 14. Survey Sample
  15. 15. Survey Limitations • Small Sample size (less than 30 people) • Self-selected group, all with Drupal experience • Lack of historical data (Drupal 6 vs. Drupal 5) • Questions were not required
  16. 16. Defining Success • Was all or part of the project abandoned? • The total cost of the project was within what was outlined in the project budget. • New features requirements made up 15 percent or less of the total project requirements. • The project was completed on schedule.
  17. 17. Success?: Abandonment 11% Total abandonment Partial abandonment 22% No abandonment 67%
  18. 18. Success?: Cost Within Budget Over Budget 40% 60%
  19. 19. Success?: Scope Creep New features > 15 percent requirements New feature < 15 percent requirements 47% 53%
  20. 20. Success?: Completed on Schedule Completed on Schedule Not Completed on Schedule 47% 53%
  21. 21. Part III: What do problematic projects have in common?
  22. 22. 1. Early Goal Setting Avoids Scope Creep
  23. 23. 2. On-Going Project Audits Make a Difference
  24. 24. 3. Modules Performance Matters • If more than 90 percent of Drupal modules do not work as expected or meet user requirements, projects will: • run into schedule problems • experience scope creep
  25. 25. 4. Non-Developers Need to Understand Drupal • Projects completed on schedule without scope creep are built by developers working with technical project managers and stakeholders who “get” Drupal “In client work, the biggest problem seems to be a lack of technical understanding by the client contact/project manager and a lack of clear goals for the site because of this.”
  26. 26. 5. Beware of Big Projects (Size and Cost) Projects Over Budget Projects Meeting Budget 17% 11% 22% 50% 17% 22% 44% 17% Less than 20 pages Less than 20 pages 21 - 100 pages 21 - 100 pages 101 - 500 pages 101 - 500 pages 501 - 1,500 pages 501 - 1,500 pages Over 1,500 pages Over 1,500 pages
  27. 27. 5. Beware of Big Projects (Size and Cost) Projects Exceeding Schedule Projects Meeting Schedule 13% 14% 14% 13% 14% 50% 13% 13% 57% Less than 20 pages Less than 20 pages 21 - 100 pages 21 - 100 pages 101 - 500 pages 101 - 500 pages 501 - 1,500 pages 501 - 1,500 pages Over 1,500 pages Over 1,500 pages
  28. 28. Part IV: Should I use Drupal?
  29. 29. Can I devote time to setting project goals? • Projects that devoted time to setting goals had more accurate specifications
  30. 30. Can I create accountability in my project? • Can someone unbiased spend time checking deliverables against milestones? • Is there someone who can do this without compromising their role on the team?
  31. 31. Do I have experience evaluating modules against user requirements? • Can you or someone you hire can accurately predict whether a module will meet your requirements?
  32. 32. Do non-developers on the project have Drupal experience? • Everyone on your team needs to understand Drupal before you start planning
  33. 33. How big is my project? • Big Drupal projects need more attention and are going to be inherently risky • If you have a big project (1,500+ pages, lots of module complexity), you need to be willing to alter cost, scope, or budget down the road
  34. 34. Part V: Last Thoughts
  35. 35. What are common patterns of project success? • Early goal setting • On-going project audits • More than 90 percent of modules work as expected • Whole project team understands Drupal • Smaller projects are more likely to meet cost and time expectations
  36. 36. What questions should I ask before starting? • Can I devote time to setting project goals? • Can I create accountability in my project? • Do I have experience evaluating modules against user requirements? • Do non-developers on the project have Drupal experience? • How big is my project?
  37. 37. Thank you for listening

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