Number of hours left on a drupal project

sclapp's picture

I'm not going to lie - it's taking me a lot long to complete our sites' migration to Drupal than I ever would've expected. We're seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but it's still a ways off. The problem - I need help!
The good news - the possibility of getting a Drupal firm on contract with the state at some point to get some professional consulting. The bad news, I need to figure out a reasonable estimate of how long it would take a pro to do the following:
- evaluate & make recommendations for optimizing a prototype Drupal site (we currently get 1.4 million pageviews / year, over 665K visitors, would like to maintain or increase traffic upon migration)
- set up & configure our RedHat Linux (inhouse) box (yes, we need to run it here) for optimal performance (speed) & security - including testing & optimizing, as needed
- set up & optimize our Apache Solr search engine
- provide training & documentation on sys admin of the server

Has anyone else ever contracted for finishing touches on a project like this & does anyone have a good idea of how many hours of work we may be talking about (to get them on contract for the state, I have to give some level of estimate - no matter how much it may differ from reality when the vendor gets here - but I don't even feel confident enough to make a guess).
Feel free to respond off-group/privately.


An estimate of estimates...

JimCraner's picture

Hi sclapp,

Doesn't every migration take a lot longer than we expected? :)

I'm working on moving a couple of library sites over to Drupal and I've found that estimates for some of these things are so variable as to not be very helpful at all.

  • Re: optimizing a site/environment - I'm presuming this is D6? There are a ton of things that can be done at various levels, hardware, MySQL, Apache, Drupal optimization and streamlining and caching solutions, etc. I think the complexity of the site is just as important as the actual number of visitors here: if you have 100 modules and tons of custom code and views running on every page and they're not very cache-friendly, then that's a whole other performance ballgame compared to a relatively simple content site that just provides some static pages and some link interfaces to your circulation or patron system.

  • Training and documentation on the server sysadmin stuff is going to be variable based on your existing in-house skill set and how much you're going to assign to off-site support. If you're going to do the whole thing in-house with no outside consultants at all, then are you asking for full-blown Linux system engineer training? Or is it enough just to learn how to run "apt-get upgrade" every week?

Since you have to have a firm estimate to get a contract approved, could you do something like this?

  • Find a consultant who can do a 8- or 12-hour needs assessment engagement
  • Get approval for that contract
  • Make sure your assessment engagement results in a detailed estimate of time required for each of your trouble areas
  • Get approval for another contract to handle all the actual fixes, either with the same consultant or someone else.

I've done this approach with several organizations before; it gives us a chance to get to know each other and find out if we're a good fit before signing on to a long-term project. Plus, measure twice and cut once and all that. I don't know if your procurement process would make it too much of a hassle though :/

Good luck!

I agree with this (Jim's)

highermath's picture

I agree with this (Jim's) approach.

It is much better to put a few hours into a project assessment that can serve as the basis of a project plan.

Having done over a dozen Drupal migrations from about as many different types of systems from static to multi-CMS, I can say that there is no one simple solution for every situation.

While there are no guarantees in life, well planned projects seem to generally go much better and be much less stressful than ad hoc projects.


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