Centre For Design, eZ Publish Case Study - Project Assessment

The entire project took just under eight months. However, when you look at the breakdown of the project, you can see that the actual development was less than a quarter of the time of the entire project. In fact, the bulk of the time taken was in the gathering of requirements and specification phases of the project. • Requirements – 2 months (elapsed) • Specification – 2 months (elapsed) • Development – 1.5 months (full time) • Testing – 1 week • Content Population & Review – 1.5 months (elapsed time) Requirements and Specification Phases The requirements and specification phases did not have a set timeframe. Both of these phases included discovery, which took longer than expected. Given the nature of gathering requirements, the need to review and analyze, it is hard and potentially dangerous to put a set timeframe on this phase. With the specification phase, the difficulty of getting everyone together and facilitating feedback impacted the completion time. Had there been a set deadline, these phases could have been shortened. Development Phase Development was planned out in detail and was to cover four weeks. Week One • Commence build of interface templates • Install eZ publish • Configure content classes and sections Week Two • Complete build of interface templates • Configure roles and permissions • Apply logic display and template framework Week Three • Apply interface templates to eZ publish • Implement site search • Implement sitemap Week Four • Test and review functionality In reality, the development took six weeks to complete. The main cause for delay was the review and update of the interface templates. The actual development time was close to what we had planned but we did not allow enough time for client reviews, which pushed the timeframe out. This was the third site we completed with the eZ publish CMS, and while it was quite straightforward, we found that the lack of documentation meant that a significant amount of time was spent in research, trial and error, and code review of the CMS system itself. With each new eZ publish site we complete, our knowledge of the system increases, and accordingly the quality of the implementation. It must be noted that the amount and quality of documentation has increased dramatically since the completion of this project. Content Population and Review Phase Given the amount of content and time pressure on the client, we allowed three weeks for content population. From previous experience, we knew that although we had fully tested all functionality, certain potential issues wouldn't arise until the site was populated with content. After three weeks, the site was still not fully populated. We had underestimated the amount of work required to take content from the existing site and shape it to fit the structure of the content types in the CMS. There were also some policy issues that arose during this phase. The client decided to push back the deadline by two weeks to allow for these issues to be resolved. On this, as well as other implementations, we found that unless the content is well prepared ahead of time, content population will always extend to the full time allowed and often take longer. A bit like a gas, it extends to fill the space allowed. This is big risk if there is a set deadline and it's important to ensure that the client understands how much work is involved in populating a site. Implementing the CMS is like setting the structure for a book; someone still has to write the content, and this is a significant task that should be planned for. In every implementation we have done, content population has taken longer than development.