Whitley College in Melbourne has implemented an open source content management system in a few months and puts the success of the project down to a trusted relationship with its service provider.\nThe college, which manages residential facilities for University of Melbourne students and a theological school, had an existing Web site, but it was outdated and wasn\u2019t going to provide the functionality for future requirements.\nWhitley College community relations manager Kerry Cook said initial discussions to develop a new Web site and Intranet started in February last year and by December it was complete and live.\n\u201cIt was an interesting project for people to find out the amount of detail we needed to satisfy our requirements for the CMS,\u201d Cook said.\nWith no in-house Web development skills, the college engaged with local developers to provide information and was not shy in saying what it did not understand.\nThe college considered advice to implement Joomla or Drupal (both open source) and after research by the IT officer decided on Drupal as it would better meet long-term requirements without too much additional costs.\nMelbourne-based consulting firm Creative Contingencies worked on the implementation phase and a few months later the project was complete.\nCook said one of the major blockers of the $50,000 project was getting funding approval from the senior management leadership team.\n\u201cThe project went very smoothly and we are happy with the finished product,\u201d she said. \u201cIt works well, is reliable and we haven\u2019t had a glitch since went live in December last year. And I haven\u2019t had one piece of negative feedback.\u201d\nThe project also included DVD production and professional photos.\n\u201cDrupal provides us with an intranet as well,\u201d Cook said. \u201cWe had a Plone intranet, but migrated to Drupal for consistency. People found the loading of information became clunky and it was becoming outdated.\u201d\n\u201cEveryone had to be hands on and learn how to use the system. Updates to the Web site are done through me, but there are at least three other staff members that have the same training.\u201d\nThe college also moved its Web e-mail application from Squirrelmail to RoundCube (both open source) and is still using Moodle for online course material.\nCook said to ensure a successful software project like this you have to be comfortable working with your provider.\n\u201cYou need to be able to ask any questions,\u201d she said. \u201cIt was all about understanding how to get a system working and not leave you in the lurch when it goes live.\u201d\n\u201cEveryone wants a quick win and with no one on-site with the knowledge we had to trust our provider relationship. It was about the people we were dealing with and not everything is price driven.\u201d\nCreative Contingencies managing director Donna Benjamin said requirement scoping goes to the heart of the challenge of a project like this.\n\u201cIt\u2019s almost kind of voodoo \u2013 sometimes the requirements look good, but then you find they are not descriptive enough, other times you don\u2019t get good specifications so you iterate, but there is no magic bullet,\u201d Benjamin said. \u201cIf there was our jobs would be way too easy.\u201d\nBenjamin said getting good requirements out of small business is less likely as they typically don\u2019t have a vast understanding of the underlying technology.\n\u201cSomeone said to me recently, when people have a technology need get them to describe the problem, not the solution. Let the technical people come up with a solution,\u201d she said.\n\u201cThis was a real joy to work with as the people were upfront that they are not familiar with the technology and they had done a huge amount of work before we came on board. They worked on the information architecture, had stakeholders involved and the design was done so for us to come in and implement Drupal was very satisfying.\u201d\nBenjamin said sometimes easy projects don\u2019t have \u201cwin feeling\u201d, but this one did.