Is your Drupal 8 project running off the rails? Like many software implementations, Drupal projects can take a wrong turn and end up costing a lot more time and money than you planned on.  Runaway projects don't just cost you money, they can burn out talented resources and break down company culture. 

Effective project management from the initial phases of a project can make or break a Drupal roll out.  Here are some tips on how to build a great project team that not only achieves results, but actually enjoys working on the project together. 

Project Kickoff

Arguably the most important phase of a Drupal implementation is the project kickoff.  The kickoff should gather all stakeholders together to agree on the definition of success.  Having agreement on what you are trying to achieve and why defines expectations and provides a shared sense of purpose for the project team.  Taking the time to document who, what, where, when, and why for a project ensures the project team is informed, aligned and charging towards the same goal.  The positive momentum and enthusiasm that results from a successful kickoff provides the foundation of a high-performing project team. 

Partnership between UX, Design, & Tech

Designs created in a vacuum will blow your development budget through inefficiencies, rework, and expensive customizations.  When Ux, design, and technical resources work together to define a component based, user-focused architecture development hours are optimized and issues are identified and resolved early in the process.  Involving Ux and design when building the author experience also ensures that you Drupal implementation will be easier to use and maintain.

Engaging the entire project team throughout the project phases not only captures diversity of though, but also allows cross-sharing of skills and ideas that help less experienced team members grow.  When all team members are involved in the business analysis, sprint planning, estimating, architecture, and more, the team is more effective at designing solutions and solving problems. 

Test Effectively

Avoid the temptation to cut corners with QA.  Test planning and execution pays dividends when it comes to avoiding production emergencies.  Strong QA often finds issues only visible from the author or site visitor’s perspective that development may have missed.  Partnering development and QA early and building automated testing whenever possible will save development hours in the long run.

Get client feedback early and often

Getting feedback from the Product Owner early and often is critical to a project’s overall success.  Many times teams are afraid to show their progress until they feel they are further along.  This risks a lot of rework and hours lost moving in the wrong direction.  Communicating early and garnering regular feedback leads to a better product that is more aligned with customer expectations.

Stay Agile

While agile is by nature flexible and should be customized to meet individual project needs, don't try to reinvent the agile wheel.  Keep the majority of meetings sacred - product reviews, stand-ups, backlog grooming, and retrospectives.  Pushing back backlog grooming just kicks the can down the road and ends up creating issues in the final stages of the project when you could be racing against the clock. Continuous improvement means identifying issues early and applying them to each sprint so that you aren’t carrying the issues to the end of the project.

Plan to Go-Live

Failing to plan is planning to fail.  Many teams get to the end of a project and fail to identify all the tasks needed to turn a site live.  In reality, planning the go-live should begin at the start of a project so that the work is planned for in release and sprint planning.  Often go-live may involve resources from other teams so its important to organize this early.  Identify resources, go-live script, and run through a dry run on the test server to identify any missing links.  When it’s time to turn a site live, you want to make sure your project team’s hard work is not overshadowed by a mistake that could have easily been identified ahead of time.


Drupal implementations can be complicated especially at an enterprise level.  We believe we can provide great work for our project teams and deliver value to our clients by ensuring we run these projects effectively.  After all, we’ve followed our own advice and applied continuous learning to our project process, identifying some lessons learned and best practices that make each implementation better than the last.