Case Study: How not to approach a project

As you may have noticed on the homepage, we have several tenet’s that we stand by when putting together IT projects for our clients, and that approach means our clients come back over and over again for work that they need.

Recently, we had a large PLC client who was looking for a new company to work with on a new project of theirs, and it was abundantly clear where we differed from the previous incumbent by taking a look at the last project that had been done by them.

The brief given to the previous company was for a relatively straightforward website that allowed users without any HTML knowledge to update it, with some bespoke work that would require some time on site with the client to integrate contacts initiated through the website into their in house contact management system.

The previous supplier acted in an almost completely opposite way to how we do things at R N D M R and the work had suffered accordingly. The list of “sins” included:

  • Writing their own content management system to handle the customer facing website, instead of using one of the many open source platforms available (for this particular project WordPress or Joomla would have been fine choices.
  • Excusing themselves from doing any of the bespoke contact management system integration! (It transpires that they don’t seem to have any development resource in the UK which would have made doing this somewhat challenging, or of course they weren’t upfront with the client about this!).
  • The pricing… goodness me the pricing!

The pricing is something that really concerned me – I was poring over the work done to work out if there was something extra, since they had washed their hands of the difficult part of the project – maybe 12 months hosting, domain registration, ongoing link building campaign, social media promotion for a period of time, but no…

In all the cost of this (second-rate) CMS, with no documentation should the client want to have any modifications made by any in house developers moving forwards was in the five figure range – and very comfortably in the five figure range too!

Throw in the fact it took a couple of months to develop this system, when sensible use of popular, stable, full featured, open source content management systems would have dropped this timescale down to a week or two and you have a significant opportunity cost on top of the ridiculous price tag, as well as extra work for the clients employees in using various different systems to get in touch with the contacts generated from the project.

If you haven’t read them yet – take a look at our five principles of good IT and Business consultancy that we have here at R N D M R and ask yourself – are your IT consultants doing those steps and acting in your best interests?

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