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March 23, 2015

Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors

By Ross Gerring

Itomic has been design and building websites since 2000… and some team members a little longer than that. But website projects still don’t always run smoothly – despite everyone’s best efforts and intentions.

Most of Itomic’s website projects run reasonably smoothly, but we’ve certainly had our share of challenges over the years. And we’ve learnt from them. We’re pleased to share you a list of what we believe to be the Top 10 Website Project Risk Factors… and how to mitigate against them.

Too many decision makers (stakeholders, committees)

This can cause bottlenecks in the decision and approval process. Ensure that project managers/representatives are sufficiently empowered and supported to make decisions.

Custom-coding to get features “just right”

Sometimes compromise is necessary. Sometimes 90% of a feature is good enough if delivering on that last 10% is going to take 100s of hours of custom coding and testing and cause large time and budget overruns. KISS!

Staff turnover

Ensure that project communications and status reporting are clear, up-to-date and accessible to new project members.

Scope creep

Both client and supplier must be on the lookout for the dreaded scope creep. Scope creep is where new project features are being requested that didn’t form part of the original brief, and can’t have reasonably been expected to be included. Additional feature requests must be evaluated in terms of likely project impact, and decisions then need to be made in terms of whether to include or not include the new feature requests in the current phase.

Underestimation of the time/resource commitment

On average, we observe that clients underestimate the amount of time they themselves will need to invest in the project for it to keep on moving forwards promptly. After all, many clients are already doing a full-time job, and the website project is in addition to that. All project members need to be granted sufficient time alongside their normal duties.

Misunderstandings about what a “normal” project entails

Perhaps the most typical misunderstanding is that “bugs” (or “issues” as we prefer to call them!) are not a normal part of the development lifecycle. The reality is that they are when you’re dealing with complex systems, millions of lines of code, and custom requirements. The purpose of the testing phase is for the client to work with us to identify and resolve outstanding issues – of which there may well be many on a large, sophisticated project. Fyi there’s almost no such thing as a bug-free software project.

Inaccurate project estimating by Itomic

Estimating the time it takes to develop software development is notoriously challenging. It’s not an exact science, even armed with highly detailed functional and/or technical specification. Although we use tried and tested techniques, they remain “estimates only”. Regular project updates ensure that the client is kept informed in the event that estimates and actuals are diverging significantly.

3rd Party Systems (integration with)

Integrating (synchronising, importing/exporting) a new system with one or more existing 3rd party systems can seem straightforward on the surface, but can sometimes prove very challenging. If such integration is mission-critical for overall project success, then the requirements must be fully identified and tested/prototyped sooner rather than later.

Data migration / population

Similar to the above, time is typically underestimated. It’s important to fully identify and specify all data (i.e. website content) that is to be supplied for the new site, whether it exists yet, who has it, what format it’s in, etc.

Cross-platform compatibility

It’s harder (more time consuming) than you think to get websites to look and function perfectly on every version of every browser (old and new) on every screen size and orientation. The combinations are almost infinite. Optimising for a specific combination can cause de-optimisation for another. Try to ensure that your websites are standards-compliant, but still accept that perfect consistency is virtually impossible.


January 6, 2015

Senior Drupal Web Developer – Itomic Perth

Itomic has an immediate opening for a permanent Senior Drupal Developer in our Perth headquarters. The focus of this position is more on the technical end of Drupal implementation, development, support and upgrading, but of course theming skills are also desirable.

Itomic is one of Australia’s most respected web development companies. We were established in 2000 in Perth, Western Australia, and opened our Melbourne office in 2008.

We have a growing portfolio of high-profile government and corporate clients and projects that include City of Perth, City of Albany, City of Fremantle, State Library of Victoria, State Library of WA, University of WA, Bunnings, St John Ambulance, and Department of Justice.

We are looking for someone with the following attributes:

  • Demonstrated Drupal development experience
  • Ability to multi-task.
  • Comfortable chatting and consulting directly with clients when the need arises.
  • Ability to help set, guide, and check/review best practice policies and procedures.
  • Comfortable helping and guiding other less experienced developers – be they local or remote.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Preference for friendly small business over stuffy corporates!

Preference will be given to candidates with:

  • Formal IT or related qualifications.
  • Current and unrestricted availability to work in Australia.
  • 5+ years of commercial Drupal experience.

In responding, please be sure to supply:

  • Your resume
  • Your Drupal skills and experience
  • Why you are suited to this role
  • Your drupal.org username
  • Your salary expectations
  • Your availability to start work

Please note:
– Pay is negotiable according to skills and experience.
– Although we prefer to employ someone who is already entitled to live and work in Australia, Itomic is an approved “457 visa” employer (http://goo.gl/h3nX8) so sponsorship is an option. If you make it through to the interview stage, expect that we’ll give you a “quiz” to check how truly Drupal-knowledgeable you are!

All genuine expressions of interest that supply info for 1-6 (above) and meet our minimum criteria (above) will receive a response.

Please submit your application to jobs@itomic.com.au

Thanks – and good luck!

PS: No recruitment companies please.


December 30, 2014

Content Delivery Network [Explained]

By Izumi Mitsui

Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a network of servers set up in certain geographic locations that deliver up content to end-users more efficiently according to the location the request is made from.

Itomic_CDN
[Image source: wpbeginner.com]

Loosely speaking it’s like a business having franchise stores. Recently in Perth, we finally got our first Crispy Cremes store (woop!). The business can now deliver glazed goodness to their customers via the geographically closer Perth store instead of providing orders from the eastern states.

How does CDN impact your website?

Using CDN for your website will allow better overall performance and reliability by serving up content quicker for end-users. As a general rule of thumb, faster sites equate to better usability and user experience and therefore better ranking with search engines.

How do I get my website on a CDN?

Generally hosting companies offer their own CDN options. If you are interested on getting onto a CDN with Itomic please give us a bell and let us assist you further.

TAKEAWAY
All website owners should consider speed and performance seriously to ensure the end-users get the best experience possible. Content Delivery Network is a great tool to assist so why not give it a go?


December 29, 2014

Why SEO is like your garden

By Izumi Mitsui

It’s no secret, to keep a flourishing garden, regular attention and nourishment is required on a consistent basis.
If you leave the garden alone for a long time it quickly starts to dry and the colours fade.

The same mindset should be applied when looking at SEO, here are some key reasons why.

SEO should be ongoing because:

SEO Algorithms change

Major search engines are continually updating their algorithms to deliver relevant and helpful content to the end users. Just in 2014 there was over 12 major algorithm changes with Google alone!

End-users are always changing

As search engines evolve it alters the behaviour of your target audience online. Catering for this with optimisation efforts are crucial to keep up with the rhythm of change.

Competition is always moving

If you stay stagnant, it’s likely you are falling behind the pack. There are only certain amount of keywords and search engines that are available for the end-users.
e.g. If you currently rank 3rd for a specific keyword, you need to ensure ongoing SEO work is performed to make sure other optimised pages don’t outrank you.

THE TAKEAWAY; The more time you sow into your campaign the greater your momentum to achieve maximum impact on the search results.

If you’d like to know more or discuss in detail please contact us at anytime.


December 17, 2014

Drupal Web Developer (Itomic Melbourne)

By Ross Gerring

Itomic has an opening for a permanent Drupal Developer in our Melbourne office. The focus of this position is more on the technical end of Drupal implementation, development, support and upgrading, but of course theming skills are also desirable.

Itomic is one of Australia’s most respected web development companies. We were established in 2000 in Perth, Western Australia, and opened our Melbourne office in 2008.

We have a growing portfolio of high-profile government and corporate clients and projects that include City of Perth, City of Albany, City of Fremantle, State Library of Victoria, State Library of WA, University of WA, Bunnings, St John Ambulance, and Department of Justice.

We are looking for someone with the following attributes:

  • Demonstrated Drupal development experience
  • Ability to multi-task.
  • Comfortable chatting and consulting directly with clients when the need arises.
  • Ability to help set, guide, and check/review best practice policies and procedures.
  • Comfortable helping and guiding other less experienced developers – be they local or remote.
  • Excellent written and spoken English.
  • Preference for friendly small business over stuffy corporates!

Preference will be given to candidates with:

  • Formal IT or related qualifications.
  • Current and unrestricted availability to work in Australia.
  • 5+ years of commercial Drupal experience.

In responding, please be sure to supply:

  • Your resume
  • Your Drupal skills and experience
  • Why you are suited to this role
  • Your drupal.org username
  • Your salary expectations
  • Your availability to start work

Please note:
– Pay is negotiable according to skills and experience.
– Although we prefer to employ someone who is already entitled to live and work in Australia, Itomic is an approved “457 visa” employer (http://goo.gl/h3nX8) so sponsorship is an option. If you make it through to the interview stage, expect that we’ll give you a “quiz” to check how truly Drupal-knowledgeable you are!

All genuine expressions of interest that supply info for the points above and meet our minimum criteria (above) will receive a response.

Please submit your application to jobs@itomic.com.au

Thanks – and good luck!

PS: No recruitment companies please.