Here you are, facing a big challenge: which one of all the Drupal teams “seducing” you with their whole array of migrating services to go with? Which one is THE one to upgrade your site to Drupal 8?
Which are the key questions to ask them before you take your decision?
Your “questionnaire” should turn into a powerful tool during the selection process! Just think that it's more than a migration “marathon” that this company will undertake (migrating you site's content, all its modules etc.), but a whole website redesigning “marathon”, as well!
In other words: don't go for your most “seducing wooer”!
Now in order to streamline your selection process and to reduce the risk of taking a wrong decision to a minimum, we've put together a list of “clues” for you. “Clues” that will help you identify your future Drupal partner.
Ready? Here it goes:
1. Get Clear Evidence of Their Experience Before You Upgrade Your Site to Drupal 8
References from their previous customers here included!
It's a more than “clue”, we know that, but even so, we still felt like putting it on top of our advice list: make sure that the Drupal agency who'll be handling your migration project has enough experience working with Drupal! And not just with Drupal 6 or 7, but with Druipal 8, as well.
It's already been a while since November 2015, when Drupal 8 was released into the wild. So every Drupal agency worth its salt (and your attention), should have already added at least a few Drupal 8 projects to its portfolio.
Never accept that your company should be anyone's “guinea pig”!
Ask for clear evidence of their work with several versions of Drupal, as well as references from their clients. And this should be the very first step to take during your selection process!
2. You'll Want a Team Actively Involved in the Drupal Community
And it's this community involvement proof that might just be THE “tie breaker”! The one that will differentiate the Drupal agencies that you should keep on your list for further checking from the ones that you should... well... take off your list!
Just think about it: the more active a team is, as a contributor, the more up to date and familiarized with the latest projects of the Drupal's “ecosystem ” they are. The more reliable will their decisions be once they handle your migration project.
You won't risk “ending up” with a Drupal company wasting too much of your valuable time (and money!) on coding PHP instead of relying on the latest future proof approaches! And this is just an example!
In a nutshell: check whether the Drupal team that you're considering to hire to upgrade your site to Drupal 8 is active in the Drupal community!
Also, if you come to think of it: it's precisely the team behind Drupal 8, that group of developers working on its core and modules, seeing that the open source platform keeps up with the ever-growing digital needs of all companies operating in the online world that are the real “culprits” of its cutting-edge features.
Therefore, the more a Drupal agency stays connected to this community of Drupal developers and designers, the more reassured you can be that its team knows what it's doing. Simply put!
3. Make Sure Your Project Is Not Their Very First Drupal 8 Migration Project
Remember our previous advice: “Never accept that your company should be anyone's “guinea pig”!? No matter how temptingly cost-effective their estimate might be!
Therefore, make sure you don't skip this part where you ask for clear evidence of their experience not just of working in Drupal 8, but in migrating websites to Drupal 8, as well!
Get information about and analyze the reviewed company's previously Drupal 8 migration projects!
4. Ask Them How They'll Be Handling Each One of Your Crucial Current Modules
And this “chic chat” around the critical modules/features on your current website should no way miss from your selection process!
You're entitled to point out to each one of the interviewed agencies which are the modules/ functionalities/sections on your company's website that you “stubbornly” want to keep.
Ask for specific migration plans that they would develop for each one each one of these key features on your site!
When there's no correspondent module in Drupal 8, ask for alternatives!
Either way, have this open discussion with each one of the Drupal teams that you're interviewing, challenging them to come up with sustainable solutions to your requests. Leave no room for compromise risking to impact your website's functionality.
No room for surprises that you would be “forced” to accept once the migration project has been started!
5. Be Skeptical About Speedy Estimations
Time is money, no doubt about that! But when it comes to Drupal 8 migration project estimations, too little time spent in an in-depth analysis of your site will, on the contrary, be more harmful to your budget on the long run!
In other words: don't go with the hastiest, overly confident and overly “enthusiast” Drupal team! One that will immediately give you an estimate “on the go”, without feeling the “need” to dig in deep into your website.
If a company won't take a close look at the whole content architecture on your Drupal website, won't “delve” into its custom code or analyze its theme CSS& JS, you should instantly “turn on your alert”.
It means their estimation is riskily superficial and that you should jump straight to the next Drupal agency on your list.
No point in taking such a risk!
Tip: if an in-depth analysis of your website means a way too risky process for you, you can always go for a “temporary account” solution. Give the reviewed Drupal team this account, then, once they've completed their “digging”, just cancel it.
These are our 5 clues that will hopefully streamline the process during which you select the Drupal agency top upgrade your site to Drupal 8. Do you have other key criteria or key questions on your list, as well?