22 Drupal sites in 3 months

We met Sandy at a Twin Cities Drupal Users Group meeting when she approached us with an impossible task: rebuild and migrate 22 national magazine websites in just 3 months.

It was insane, but we met the deadline

Sandy had been recently hired by Tiger Oak Publications, a national publisher of books, magazines and media. They publish over 25 different magazines and employ over 100 people. They were replacing their proprietary CMS, and Sandy needed to make it happen.

We believe that Drupal can do a lot, but we were skeptical that she'd be able to pull it off. Sandy was an experienced Coldfusion developer, but had no Drupal experience at all.

I was worried and didn't think it was going to be possible. But then I found out Advantage labs had a base Drupal distribution to start from which was helpful because it had taken me 2 months just to get something going. I came to Advantage Labs saying 'I've got to make something work.

Along with setting up Sandy with our hosted Drupal distribution, already configured with functions and features necessary for the network of sites she needed to build, we enrolled her in our Catalyst Program which provides a suite of support services including monthly strategic check-in meetings, weekly support sessions (Lab Hours) and 4 additional consulting hours per quarter.

Our support and skill-sharing environment is what Sandy needed to flourish.

It had been discouraging, stumbling on my own and not knowing if what I was doing was good or bad. Then, I was here all the time asking 'What is a view?' or 'What is a block?' The Catalyst Program made a huge difference. Now it was like working with a senior developer. Doing Lab sessions is huge.

Ideas and work flew at a furious pace -- "It was insane." By taking advantage of all of the Catalyst services, she was able to complete the Meetings + Events media group site, in addition to Seattle Business online, according to the original demanding schedule.

We met the deadline. It was like a 3-month period, which is crazy given the requirements. I wouldn't have been able to build this site at all without Advantage Labs. There is no way we'd be here without them.

It's been great working with Sandy. Her success is due to her determination and skills. Combining these with the right support environment and guidance, she's able to take advantage of Drupal's strengths and flexibility while minimizing unnecessary trial-and-error experimenting common to beginners. Sandy mentioned that previous Coldfusion projects she'd been involved with necessitated up to 8 developers and a minimum of 8 months to implement a site of the complexity she pulled off in 3 months virtually by herself in Drupal with our help.

Sandy continues to join us weekly at our Lab Sessions, sharing ideas and solutions with the other Catalyst members as often as she is troubleshooting and learning new Drupal techniques.

With our help, Sandy did all of the work to build 22 Drupal sites, theme them, and import legacy content.

We helped Sandy develop an install profile
Providing the ability to spin out a site with the her specific functionality and configuration baked in enabled Sandy to do in minutes what used to take a team of developers weeks or months.
Drupal support and consulting
Sandy attended lab hours
Utilizing the collective wisdom of Lab participants, Sandy was able to choose well vetted Drupal modules, reducing hours of trial and error experimentation.
Lab hours
Reducing outside services
We helped Sandy add functionality to her sites that allowed them to discontinue paying outside vendors for separate services.
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