I’ve noticed a marked uptick in the amount of agencies that are developing and deploying large, commercial .NET-based CMS systems for their clients (open source or otherwise).
This enterprise-grade breed of CMS goes way beyond managing and posting your blogs: they can tie in with ecommerce, sales and marketing automation to help drive emergent 21st Century practices for large teams.
But with demand rising, so does demand for capable .NET development talent. I recently ran across a blog post from a fellow who is in the business of selling a very niched CMS system. In the post, he discusses the top challenges associated with developing open-source CMS systems.
Chief among the cited challenges? Staffing and skill sets. Both valid concerns. Both easily solvable — even with nearshored/offshored/outsourced talent.
Development team leaders are often in need of extra muscle, but leery about whether or not an extension of their team will help meet the complicated timeline, cost and quality demands. It’s easier than you think, but here are some things to weigh as you shop for that muscle:
Nobody wants to kill their margins by carrying extra hires or even contractors at significant cost. Moreover, you don’t want future stability held hostage to a single vendor or hire, as development work is intense and modification/maintenance often ongoing. If they’re gone, so is your ability to support the client
This is why we chose Bolivia as the talent center of our software/web development service. South American outsourcing is a well-beaten path because of language and time zone advantages, but even among these options, Bolivia stands out in its affordability.
Unique Mix of Skill Sets
Executing your open source (or other) .NET CMS project may require a bench deep with both web and software development talent. As you have likely experienced with your vendors, having one doesn’t necessarily mean having the other.
If I were embarking on a .NET project, I would start with using these kinds of capabilities as a qualifying checklist:
• Have your engineers and developers worked with the .NET framework since its very inception?
• What is the “continuous education” regimen for your engineers and developers?
• How much of your .NET bench carries Microsoft Certified Developer, Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist, Microsoft Certified Professional Developer or Microsoft Certified Trainer certifications?
• Do you adhere to the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) and Software Quality Assurance (SQA) methods when executing your projects?
• Is your bench comprised of subcontractors or employees?
• (If offshoring/nearshoring) Do you have a US presence to facilitate coordination and execution?
Too many “no” answers to the above are red flags. But even then, being gun-shy about outsourcing your .NET CMS project is understandable. Many players in the space have given the offshoring/nearshoring sector a black eye by not being totally transparent about the skill level, availability and track record of their technical resources.
This is a separate discussion and a separate topic. If you have .NET CMS projects looming and would like a candid, honest assessment about what you need to be successful, get in touch!