Helping the media leverage the best from open-source

Redactive Media is a leading provider of magazines, digital media and live events for membership and professional services organisations. They were migrating a number of sites from their legacy Easysite CMS to Drupal. Code Enigma provided mentoring and development resource.


Head of digital – Aaron Davies, had no doubt about Drupal and noted the benefits:

  • The speed of building sites using Drupal's modular structure 
  • No more unwieldy CMS
  • Reduced build time means more focus on user-centred design 
  • Custom functionality like smart forms and integrations with external membership databases, means added value for customers 
  • Increased user interaction for improved data capture

We introduced the Agile methodology; the user centred model proved useful with the user story being embedded and a more sophisticated understanding of user needs and behaviour.

Task breakdowns and time-based estimating was used, meaning teams could make informed decisions. Detailed estimating and auditing identified time previously lost in activities, like planning. This was helped by logging tools such as scrum diaries so the team knew how they spent their time.

Better use of metrics was seen. The previous CMS was difficult to use, but now Redactive can drill into how people are using sites. Now they carry out analysis of user journeys, implement A/B testing, and optimize markup.


We also spoke with Pierrick Senelaar and Bhanu Chawla, both Developers...

“Drupal is flexible and can build virtually anything. When you search a Drupal problem, the chances are you'll find the results on drupal.org because of the active community.”

Drupal’s features and the Drush command line tool sped up work and re-useability. A result of working with Code Enigma, they’re using more command line (associated with moving from Windows to Mac), and the continuous integration system that has local environments matched to the linux hosting environment.

Drupal aside, the development team were positive about the continuous integration systems we introduced, using Git branches and three stage deployment automated with Jenkins. They thought our use of IRC to communicate was amusingly old-school but works.


Our view
Assisting a company in such a move can feel like shooting at an open goal, but we know Drupal makes things quicker and more flexible. Some of the more interesting aspects of adopting Drupal emerged during our initial onboarding with the client, and through the process of mentoring and coaching the internal team.

During onboarding, we produced detailed business plans for the initial stages of the move and that helped our client take a more strategic approach to the process. 

The core of this was teamwork; which required working with an agreed and consistent system rather than relying on individual knowledge. Things like version control, and getting everything into code to achieve zero-touch deployment (i.e. the developers never need access to the production site's edit interface to make configuration changes, and deployment to live can occur without any down time). It also covers using tools such as terminal commands with Drush in order to speed up the development process.

We were struck by how our project management processes proved useful to Redactive; they cherry-picked our ideas and for us this vindicates a collaborative model between client and agency.
 

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