Elevated Third: 5 Ways Web Development Project Management Will Make Your Project More Successful

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 9:45am
5 Ways Web Development Project Management Will Make Your Project More Successful 5 Ways Web Development Project Management Will Make Your Project More Successful Lily Berman Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:45

As account managers at Elevated Third, we manage many projects across our accounts. Web development project management is intangible though not unimportant. We do not create wireframes or write code, so our direct impact on the Drupal websites Elevated Third produces may be less clear to our clients.

During the sales process, some clients see their communication budget as an unnecessary expense. Similar to limiting overhead spending when choosing recipients for charitable organizations, limiting the communication budget means more time goes to execution, right?

Maybe not. In the same way that a successful benefit event can dramatically increase the funds available for a nonprofit’s mission, strong account management directly contributes to our clients achieving their business goals across projects.

So, how does an account manager foster a successful Drupal project at Elevated Third?

  1) Account managers are the single consistent knowledge holder throughout the life of a project

Our team’s level of involvement will vary throughout a project. While UX has a large impact in the beginning, developers complete the majority of the tasks at the end. The account manager is the only member of the team who is in every meeting from kickoff to launch. It can be frustrating (and often expensive) for clients when the team veers from their vision. As a consistent project knowledge holder, an account manager can guide the team to ensure that they are considering the big picture, even when the client is not in the room.

For Instance: A designer knows he needs to create visual design for the project. He reviews what he believes is the necessary documentation, but did not see the client’s email update describing her new brand direction. He spends hours designing with the original brand guidelines in mind, then presents it to the client. The client is then frustrated that her feedback was not implemented and additional hours will be needed to modify the design. As our contracts are time and materials, every additional hour spent on a project has a corresponding cost to our clients.

When an account manager is involved in a project, she is part of every conversation and reviews every client email. This means no feedback will get lost in translation and costly adjustments will be avoided. Account managers are not responsible for creating any element of the website, so we can focus on ensuring that our clients and end users are kept in mind in every meeting and throughout the whole project.

  2) Account managers keep budget and timeline top of mind

A core part of the account manager’s role is managing the client’s budget and timeline. No other member of the team has that responsibility. We balance designers and developers who, if given a chance, would often prefer to build the most beautiful, perfect user-friendly functionality. Their desire to build the best thing ever is valuable, but it has to be balanced with the client’s budget and timeline needs. The account manager sets deadlines and monitors burndown throughout the project. From early discussions of which features will be prioritized to consistent check-ins and tweaks throughout execution, account managers ensure that the project aligns with the established constraints.

For instance: A UX strategist, excited about how valuable the tool we are building will be for its users, starts planning her user testing. She creates a first round of prototypes and tests with five users. Their feedback is so beneficial, she creates another iteration of prototypes to test with another five users, and then tests a third. Although she has gained valuable insight, she has now used half of the project hours that were allocated for visual design, as the budget did not accommodate extensive user testing. When an account manager takes on the role of web development project management, she knows the scope and the hours that are allocated for each task. She completes a variety of checks and balances to ensure the execution aligns with the project constraints.

  3) Account managers communicate with clients and with the team

Custom web development can often be a mysterious and complex process. Luckily, an account manager has learned to translate jargon for our clients. As a result of working in this industry, we understand the terminology used along with the impact of the choices we are asking our clients to make. Not only do we coordinate meetings and send status updates to keep clients in the loop, but we are also uniquely equipped to ensure they understand the process. This means that our team can stay focused on their tasks and more efficiently complete work with minimal interruptions.

For Instance: A developer has spent an hour working on a very complex task. Knowing that he needs to maximize concentration and minimize interruptions, he silences all of his notifications. This practice, called going “heads down,” is common when tackling problem-solving tasks. During this time, a client reaches out with an extremely urgent issue. Since he is the only person available to answer her request, it lingers for hours before she receives a response. For some development-related issues, especially on a live site, this delay can dramatically impact the client’s bottom line. When an account manager is involved in the project, she can immediately alert the developer of the request and let the client know her concern is being addressed right away.

  4) Account managers are organization wizards

For all projects, but especially for complex projects, there can be a lot of documentation. Luckily, account managers choose this field because we love organizing chaos. This skill helps our team work faster throughout the course of a project. Although a client rarely sees our organization and management of tasks and documentation, they will see the benefits of more accurate work and increased efficiency across teams.

For Instance: A developer knows that she needs to reference a particular piece of documentation for the element of the site she is building today, but she can’t find it. She spends 15 minutes digging through folders to find what she needs, which seems to happen every time she completes a task. When an account manager is involved in a project, she knows what documentation the developer will need, so she has already attached it to the current task, saving the developer time.


5) Account managers are flexible and adapt their skills to maximize their value

Every other role on a project is clear. A UX strategist helps to define which features will best achieve the business goals and how to maximize a user’s experience of interacting with them. A designer crafts how they will appear. A developer builds them. An account manager’s role in web development project management is less clear. When people ask me what I do on a typical day, my answer often comes after a long pause, and it’s rarely the same. Many others in my field find it difficult to describe their role succinctly, as our work can vary dramatically from day to day and from project to project.

For instance: Some days, my role is quite technical, and I am preparing or reviewing project documentation or checking the quality of completed development tasks. Other days, my role is more interpersonal, and I am supporting my team in delivering their best work or in back-to-back meetings with my clients. With each project comes a new business to learn, often along with new technologies and additional nuance to my role. To be successful, I am always switching between the various priorities outlined here, along with many more.


At Elevated Third, we value our clients’ investment in our work and are always evolving to maximize the value of that investment. We build communication time into our projects because we know how invaluable strong account managers are to ensuring our Drupal websites generate the outcomes our clients value most.

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Security Warning for Composer

New Drupal Modules - 10 October 2017 - 8:05am

This Composer plugin will display a warning when users install or update Drupal packages (via Composer) that are not supported by the Drupal Security team, as per the Security Advisory Policy.


Installing or updating a "non-covered" Drupal package via composer install will display:

Categories: Drupal

Zivtech: Drupal is Not Just for Your Marketing Site

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 7:51am

As a Drupal expert, many of the projects I’ve done over the years have been marketing websites. Drupal is widely understood as a content management system that’s used to power sites like ours, but this is actually only the tip of the iceberg of what Drupal can do for an organization. Our team has used Drupal to build a variety of complex custom web applications that help companies work more efficiently.

Do you need an intranet?

We’ve used Drupal to build intranets that securely keep internal content and documents for staff eyes only. Drupal has an abundance of community features that make it easy to have wikis, commenting, user profiles, and messaging. Many organizations we’ve worked with integrate their intranet with their LDAP or other Single Sign On system. 

Radial's intranet allows team members to quickly locate information about co-workers

We’ve also used Drupal for our own intranet for the past eight years. Our intranet helps keep our internal knowledge base easy to access and organizes information like our servers, sites, clients, and projects.

Read more
Categories: Drupal

Defined table field

New Drupal Modules - 10 October 2017 - 6:56am

This module provides a new "Defined table" field type, that allows administrators and content builders to add tables to content.

Table header row and column (data labels) can be either predefined in field settings (the same for a field instance) or set to dynamic and definable per entity.

Possible label sources:

  • Taxonomy vocabulary
  • Custom input

Other table field modules:

Categories: Drupal

Taxonomy Move

New Drupal Modules - 10 October 2017 - 6:29am

Move terms between vocabularies.

Categories: Drupal

Leaflet Entity Browser

New Drupal Modules - 10 October 2017 - 6:29am

This module allows you to use a Leaflet map as a views widget inside Entity Browser.

Note: This module depends on the following patches to the Leaflet drupal module (if the issues are not fixed already):

Categories: Drupal

Drupal Modules: The One Percent: Drupal Modules: The One Percent —Content connected (video tutorial)

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 5:32am
Drupal Modules: The One Percent —Content connected (video tutorial) NonProfit Tue, 10/10/2017 - 07:32 Episode 39

Here is where we seek to bring awareness to Drupal modules running on less than 1% of reporting sites. Today let's consider Content connected, a module which displays where content has been referenced.

Categories: Drupal

ADCI Solutions: Web Designers methods and tools for enhancing a workflow

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 4:28am

Designers do love order, so don’t believe in stereotypes. Our Drupal team’s designer created her own approach of the working files organization. It helps her to communicate with the rest of the team - developers and managers - efficiently.


Try out our approach and improve the workflow



Categories: Drupal

Config Auto Export

New Drupal Modules - 10 October 2017 - 2:17am

This module detects changes to the configuration system and exports those changes into a configurable directory of your choice. In addition to that it is able to fire a POST request with parameters to a http service that you configure which can then react to those configuration changes.

Use case

Imagine procution servers which are deployed fully automatically and configured securely such that none if the directories are writeable except public and private storage areas.

Categories: Drupal

Aten Design Group: Form and View Modes vs. Field Access in Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 12:13am

Drupal 8 advertised many new, promising features after its release. One of the exciting new changes was the addition of form modes. Form modes promised to let you manage the content entry side of your site just as you often managed content display with view modes. This change seemed like it would eliminate the need for much of the custom and repetitive code I often needed to write inside a hook_form_alter.

Over time, I've realized that form modes aren't everything I had hoped they would be. While it's easy to create new form modes, it's literally impossible to use them without custom code or contributed modules. Drupal simply doesn't have a way to know when to use one form mode over another. Should it be based on role? Permissions? A field on the node? Content moderation state? There are contributed modules for most if not all of these, but nothing out-of-the-box.

This forced me to think about why I needed a form mode in the first place. Almost always, the answer was to disable or hide a field from a user because that user shouldn't be allowed to change that field. The same was also often true of my view modes (only to a lesser extent). I realized that this particular problem is not one of user experience, but of access control.

Drupal 8 has hook_entity_field_access(). This hook is called for every field for the specified entity type when the entity is viewed or when its form is shown. When you deny access to a field, either for viewing or editing, that field will not be shown to the user. In any scenario. This should be your preferred method for hiding fields that certain users should not be able to access.

Using field access over form and view modes to hide fields when a user should not be allowed to see or edit a field is the secure and "Drupal way" to do things. This prevents mistakes in configuration, which might accidentally leak field information via teasers, searches, and Views. It also future proofs your site. If you ever turn on REST or JSON API or add a new form or view mode down the line, you can never accidentally expose a field that needs to be kept private.

Best of all, using the field access hook is much easier to implement than all the hoops you'll have to jump through to get the right form modes displayed at the right times.

How to use hook_entity_field_access()

First, make a custom module in the standard way. Create a .module file and create the following function:

<?php use Drupal\Core\Access\AccessResult; use Drupal\Core\Field\FieldDefinitionInterface; use Drupal\Core\Session\AccountInterface; use Drupal\Core\Field\FieldItemListInterface;     /** * Implements hook_entity_field_access(). */ function yourmodule_entity_field_access($operation, FieldDefinitionInterface $field_definition, AccountInterface $account, FieldItemListInterface $items = NULL) { } ?>

From this hook, you should always return an AccessResult. By default, you should simply return a neutral access result. That is, your hook is not concerned with actually allowing or preventing access yet. Add the following to your function.

<?php function yourmodule_entity_field_access($operation, FieldDefinitionInterface $field_definition, AccountInterface $account, FieldItemListInterface $items = NULL) { $result = AccessResult::neutral(); if ($field_definition->getName() == 'field_we_care_about') { if (/* a condition we'll write later... */) { $result = AccessResult::forbidden(); } } return $result; } ?>

The above code will deny access when our still unwritten condition is true, in every other case, we're just saying "we don't care".

There's an infinite number of scenarios in which you might want to deny access, but let's say that we want to make a field only editable by an administrator. We would add the following:

<?php function yourmodule_node_field_access($operation, FieldDefinitionInterface $field_definition, AccountInterface $account, FieldItemListInterface $items = NULL) { $result = AccessResult::neutral(); if ($field_definition->getName() == 'field_we_care_about') { if ($op == 'update' && !in_array('administator', $account->getRoles())) { $result = AccessResult::forbidden(); } } return $result->addCacheContexts(['user.role:administrator']); } ?>

Now, for every user without the administrator role that attempts to update field_we_care_about, the field will not be accessible. This works for more than just forms. For example, if we had the REST module installed, this would block the user from updating the field in that way as well.

The last part to note is that we added a cache context to our AccessResult. This ensures that our access decision is only relevant when the current user does or does not have the 'administrator' role. It's important to understand that we added the cache context both when we did and when we did not deny access. If we had just added the context when we denied access, if a user with the 'administrator' role happened to be the first person to attempt to access the field, then that result would be cached for all users no matter what.

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Appnovator Spotlight: Janice Cheer

Planet Drupal - 10 October 2017 - 12:00am
Appnovator Spotlight: Janice Cheer Meet Janice Cheer, Sales Enablement from Vancouver, BC. 1. Who are you? What's your story? /*-->*/ /*-->*/ /*-->*/ I’m a Chinese-Canadian who grew up in a small town called Squamish. After finishing high school, I moved out to Vancouver for school and obtained my Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration with a minor in Marketing. Sin...
Categories: Drupal

Analytics Monitoring Tool

New Drupal Modules - 9 October 2017 - 11:50pm

A centralized tool to monitor whether GA, GTM or Omniture is working on multiple sites.

Categories: Drupal

Medium Posts

New Drupal Modules - 9 October 2017 - 9:17pm

A Drupal module used for publishing posts from Drupal to Medium.com by using Medium API.

This module is based on Medium’s API and Medium SDK for PHP.

Categories: Drupal

Hook 42: September A11Y (Accessibility) Talk Review

Planet Drupal - 9 October 2017 - 6:20pm

We have all heard about website accessibility and know what it means in a broad sense, but what does website accessibility look like in a practical sense?

This month’s A11Y Talk featured Scott O'Hara from The Paciello Group. In this A11Y Talk, Scott O'Hara addressed questions like:
- How do I get started in a11y?
- How do I get my team to care about it?
- Where does one start in trying to incorporate a11y into the work they or their team produce?
- Who is in charge of a11y at your company anyway?

Categories: Drupal

Expression Field

New Drupal Modules - 9 October 2017 - 4:50pm

Defines a new "Expression" field type which will evaluate a mathematical expression.

Categories: Drupal

Migrate Files (extended)

New Drupal Modules - 9 October 2017 - 4:28pm

Defines additional migrate plugins for file imports:

File Import

Imports a file from an local or external source. Files will be downloaded or copied from the source if necessary and a file entity will be created for it. The file can be moved, reused, or set to be automatically renamed if a duplicate exists.

Categories: Drupal

Palantir: Drupal 8 is Great for Showing Solutions Quickly

Planet Drupal - 9 October 2017 - 9:45am
Drupal 8 is Great for Showing Solutions Quickly #D8isGr8 brandt Mon, 10/09/2017 - 11:45 Luke Wertz Oct 9, 2017

The #D8isGr8 blog series will focus on why we love Drupal 8 and how it provides solutions for our clients. This post in the series comes from Luke Wertz, Solution Architect.

We want to make your project a success.

Let's Chat.

We often work on projects with clients who are juggling strict timelines and multiple stakeholders. From the time a vendor is selected, to contract signing and project kick-off meetings, it can sometimes be a whole month before our production team is able to really dig into a new project.

The thing I love about Drupal 8 is that it gives us the ability to skip parts of the prototyping phase and get into rapid proof of concept work very quickly. We can quickly demonstrate to our clients the problem space they’re working in and a potential solution. Drupal 8 allows us to get there quickly without writing a lot of code, which means our client product owners are able to show progress to their stakeholders sooner.

This proof of concept work is enabled by the functionality that is now baked into Drupal 8 core. In previous versions of Drupal, Views was a contrib module. A lot of how Views functions in Drupal 8 is the same as before, but that extra step of having to install, deploy, and configure it has been removed.

The ability to show value to a client early and quickly is reflective of Palantir’s move to Agile development. We are a data-driven company, and we like to use quantitative methods to prove our value to our clients. Drupal 8 helps us to iterate rapidly: have an idea, quickly show how it might work, test it, and prove it.

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Categories: Drupal

Layout Discovery Override

New Drupal Modules - 9 October 2017 - 8:43am


Don't like the layouts provided by the core layout_discovery module? This override will stop the layout_discovery module from providing any layouts. This is useful if you're using another module that displays layouts available, but the ones provided by core don't suit your site's needs.


You must have the layout_discovery core module installed.


* Install as usual as per http://drupal.org/node/895232.


Categories: Drupal

aleksip.net: Reasons for choosing standards-based technologies

Planet Drupal - 9 October 2017 - 8:12am
The recent announcement that Drupal is looking to adopt React has inspired me to live up to my Twitter bio, and be an active advocate for open standards-based technologies. While my knee-jerk reaction to the announcement was to focus on React, this blog post approaches the topic of adopting technologies in a more general manner, while still aiming to contribute to the current front-end framework discussion.
Categories: Drupal

Valuebound: Step-by-step guide to Foundation framework to develop responsive web applications

Planet Drupal - 9 October 2017 - 5:55am

Creating responsive websites have always remained a challenge for many even I faced similar difficulties in the beginning. Recently, our team came across a situation where we had to design a responsive and beautiful website in Drupal 8 for a media and publishing firm. In order to create such an amazing site, we came up with an idea to use Foundation Framework and yes! it worked.

I have written this blog to help anyone having difficulty in understanding the Foundation framework to develop responsive websites as it is a rising market demand. My idea is that this article will be a "living laboratory" to help you in understanding Foundation from the scratch. The post comprises an intro of Foundation, its features, comparison…

Categories: Drupal


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