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How to approach complex projects - Comments

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How to approach complex projects

Posted 30 March 2015, 11:23 AM

Hi all,

Something I see quite regularly in the community is people "going it alone" on pretty complicated IT projects that go beyond standard features and assumptions.

To be frank, most of the time it is probably a mistake. DIY is admirable, ambition is admirable, and ocPortal is awesome-powerful – but building IT systems has never been easy, and content management systems aren't a magic bullet that can allow arbitrary complexity with just clicks and plumbing…

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One other consideration I would suggest "Going it alone" is the issue of time to market and frustration in testing and then getting it all to work effectively.

Many CMS sites only ever get 50% or some other percentage finished. Much never gets finished as complications develop, searches are slow, data bases are not optimised, programming becomes far more complex than first thought, time goes by and it takes way longer than expected and the graphics are less than adequate or not optimised for the pages.

As an end user customer all we really want is the finished product working smoothly, in a timely manner (months not years :) ) and with some reasonable creative flair from people that are trained in the industry. Loin quivering functionality and a professional web site is really something (we have found) you can only get by working with a strong development team that has been around a reasonable length of time, paying some money for their work and doing a lot of planning and design work together.

Sometimes free is not going to get you the desired result and disappointment turns into blaming the toolset… A very common occurrence.

The other thing to consider is payback. When you find a bunch of developers who have helped you out along the way with some good advice, encouraging comments and a bit of support then consider helping them out by putting something back into their product.

In my experience a decent CMS site is a two way long term relationship between the developers and the customer. I know here in OCPortal you can sponsor developments and many of them cost just small amounts of money and that is one way to help out. Advice in forums about what you have found out along the way is another and coming up with neat ideas and innovation suggestions is another.  

What I have discovered over a number of years is you have to be prepared to pay for some support and that may not just be reaching deep into pockets.

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