Helpful hints for selecting a Concrete CMS developer

Dec 30, 2016

1. Review the developer's portfolio and projects

  • When reviewing a portfolio, check specifically for projects created with Concrete CMS.
  • Do the projects demonstrate the skills you require for your project, such as:
    • experience with a specific technology
    • knowledge of a particular industry and standards
    • ecommerce
    • responsive design
    • designing for performance and with performance budgets in mind
    • security best practices
    • theme development
    • custom blocks
    • custom add-ons
    • integration of a third party library or service
    • experience with a specific version of concrete (5.6, 5.7, 8)
  • Look for:
    • live projects, avoid portfolios that consist of screenshots only
    • real projects done for real businesses
    • project case studies that explain how a project was planned, what it needed to accomplish, and how it was executed.

2. Avoid copy and paste job post replies

  • Be cautious of replies that are generic, repetitive, and ignore the requirements posted in the job description.
  • Does the developer post the same response to each job post?

3. Check the developer's profile for community involvement

  • Reviewing community involvement can be an effective way to gauge a developer's knowledge and skill with concrete.
  • Check how long the developer has been registered on concretecms.org.
  • Is the developer active in the concrete Slack team channels or IRC channel?
  • Is the developer active in the forums?
    • Does the developer demonstrate their knowledge by assisting others and answering questions?
    • Sample messages that the developer has posted:
      • Does the developer conduct themselves in a professional manner?
      • Does the developer only post to the forums to reply to job listings?
  • Look for concrete certifications:
    • They help to establish that the developer has knowledge in a particular area.
    • Check for certifications that cover topics that will be required in your project.
  • Is the developer a concrete certified agency partner?
  • Does the developer have add-ons or themes in the concrete marketplace?
    • Check if the add-on or theme is PRB (Peer Review Board) approved.
      • PRB approval requirements of an add-on/theme:
        • passes automated and PRB member testing
        • has basic documentation
        • installs/uninstalls correctly
        • does not interfere with other marketplace items or the dashboard
        • does not cause errors or breaks a site if mistakes are made in its use
        • has a minimum of usability
    • Review the support page for the add-on or theme:
      • Does the developer respond quickly to support tickets?
      • Are support tickets resolved in a timely manner?
  • Does the developer have a GitHub (github.com) account showing code contribution to concrete?
  • Has the developer written tutorials or documentation on documentation.concretecms.org?

4. Request customer testimonials

  • Ask for contact information of satisfied clients.
  • Make sure to follow up with these clients to discuss their experiences working with the developer.

5. Language proficiency

  • Consider language proficiency when a developer does not speak the same native language.
  • Look for limited working proficiency and full professional proficiency.

6. Long term projects

  • If you are hiring for a long term project, arrange an in person meeting or video interview to determine if this is someone you can see yourself working with.
  • You can get a much better idea of personality, temperment, and attitude through voice and video than email exchanges.

7. Project scope

  • A successful project will have clear requirements and goals that you and the developer can agree on.
  • Projects with changing goals and requirements will be hard to price, schedule, and execute.
  • Will the project require ongoing support and maintenance?
    • If so, how long will ongoing services be required?

8. Project budget and developer rates

  • Be cautious of developers working for far less than the market rate for their region of the world.
  • Consider the phrase "you get what you pay for" when setting your budget and evaluating developer rates.
  • Avoid the temptation to hire a developer based soley on them being the cheapest.

9. Project timeline

  • Communicate the desired start date and when you need the project finished.
  • Once a budget and scope have been determined, it can be helpful to set development milestones for when certain project tasks should be done.

10. Project communication

  • There should be regular updates with the developer.
    • Agree on the update frequency (daily, bi-weekly, weekly, etc.).
    • Agree on the method of update (Skype, Google Hangouts, telephone, e-mail, etc.).

11. Payment terms

  • Will the payment be based on an hourly rate or a fixed price?
  • What will the payment schedule be?
  • How will payment be made (PayPal, check, wire transfer, etc.)

12. Work that requires a design

  • Who is responsible for the design?
    • Will you provide a design for the developer?
    • Will the developer do the design work?
    • Will a third party create a design?

This guide does not cover contracts or dealing with offshore development agencies. Both are important topics and require specific legal advice from a lawyer. Consulting a lawyer adds to the cost of a project, but should be considered a required part of doing business, especially when dealing with medium to large projects.

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