Large Drupal Projects:
Blessing or Burden?
Twin Cities Drupal Camp
July 19, 2013
VP of Client Services
Email: nlind@phase2technology.com
Nicole Lind
Twitter: @nicole_lind
Software Architect
Email: tcosgrove@phase2technology.com
Tim Cosgrove
Twitter: @timcosgrove
What is a Large Drupal Project?
• Number of project hours exceeds 2000
• Complexity of the requirements dictates a custom ...
Planning
Poorly Understood Requirements
• Solution
• Discovery
• Clear Project Methodology
Underestimating Real Effort
• Solution
• Discovery
• Clear Project Methodology
• Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plans
Data Mapping and Migration Issues
• Solution
• Discovery
• Migration Documentation
Unaccounted for Onboarding Time
• Solution
• Discovery
• Clear Project Methodology
Client Relationships
Editorial and/or Production Team
Apathy and Insanity
• Solution
• Demos and Training
• Migration Documentation
• Annotated...
Ignoring the Importance of the
Administrative Interfaces
• Solution
• Annotated Wireframes for Everything Including Admin
...
People
Inexperienced Architects Designing
a Custom Drupal Solution
• No school or book will teach you what you need to know
• Eas...
Getting to the Starting Line
• Security and/or clearance issues
• Development infrastructure is complicated.
• Accounts & ...
Ramping Up to the Build
• Getting oriented to the system can take time.
• It can be 3-6 weeks before any useful developmen...
Bottlenecks and Knowledge Sharing
• Large systems have more potential points of friction.
• Too often knowledge resides wi...
Meetings
• Meetings get difficult with more staff
• Either need more meetings or larger meetings
• Solutions
• Frequent scru...
Long Engagement Issues
• Boredom
• Personality conflicts
• Solutions
• Cycle team members out at strategic points.
• Keep ...
Technical Concerns
Source Code Control
• Need revision tracking and ability to rollback
• Need to make sure developers’ work can interoperate...
Test, test, test.
• With many developers, huge chance of collisions
• Need to find bugs before they hit production
• Solut...
Second- and Third Party Integrations
• Drupal team dealing with new technology
• Technologies may not interoperate well
• ...
The Myths of FOSS
• Client expects everything works off the shelf
• You can’t tell a large organization “it works that way”...
The Good Stuff
Big Complex Problems
• Make staff happy
• Makes simpler problems that much easier
Opportunities for Contribution
• Difficulties and complexity leads to interesting solutions
• Often can generalize these ou...
Staff Happiness
• Long engagements make staff happy (sometimes)
• Large engagements make staff happy (sometimes)
Increased organizational growth
• Larger teams
• Larger budgets
• Opportunities for more complex management structure
whic...
Skills development
• Large projects means increased opportunity to learn new
things
Blessing or Burden?
Yes!
Large Drupal Projects
• Can be fun and exciting!
• Can also be crush your organization and development
team.
Questions?
PHASE2TECHNOLOGY.COM
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Large Drupal Projects: Blessing or Burden?

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These slides accompanied Nicole Lind's presentation at Twin Cities Drupal Camp 2013.

Drupal in the last couple of years has grown up. It has been chosen, built, and deployed by some of the largest companies and corporations in the world. This maturation has brought a whole new set of problems for Drupal. More often than not, enterprise Drupal projects rely on multiple 3rd party integrations, huge data migration requirements, adept risk management, high expectations of the editorial and administrative experience, and ill-defined QA and launch requirements. All of these challenges are coupled with the typical political, people, process, and limitations on schedule and budget. Nicole Lind walks you through her experience with all of the above.

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Large Drupal Projects: Blessing or Burden?

  1. 1. Large Drupal Projects: Blessing or Burden? Twin Cities Drupal Camp July 19, 2013
  2. 2. VP of Client Services Email: nlind@phase2technology.com Nicole Lind Twitter: @nicole_lind
  3. 3. Software Architect Email: tcosgrove@phase2technology.com Tim Cosgrove Twitter: @timcosgrove
  4. 4. What is a Large Drupal Project? • Number of project hours exceeds 2000 • Complexity of the requirements dictates a custom Drupal solution • Build requires specialized team members (Project Manager, Business Analyst, Developer, Architect, etc.)
  5. 5. Planning
  6. 6. Poorly Understood Requirements • Solution • Discovery • Clear Project Methodology
  7. 7. Underestimating Real Effort • Solution • Discovery • Clear Project Methodology • Risk Assessment and Mitigation Plans
  8. 8. Data Mapping and Migration Issues • Solution • Discovery • Migration Documentation
  9. 9. Unaccounted for Onboarding Time • Solution • Discovery • Clear Project Methodology
  10. 10. Client Relationships
  11. 11. Editorial and/or Production Team Apathy and Insanity • Solution • Demos and Training • Migration Documentation • Annotated Wireframes for Everything Including Admin Screens • Plan for Long Term Maintenance of Solution
  12. 12. Ignoring the Importance of the Administrative Interfaces • Solution • Annotated Wireframes for Everything Including Admin Screens • Demos and Training
  13. 13. People
  14. 14. Inexperienced Architects Designing a Custom Drupal Solution • No school or book will teach you what you need to know • Easy to get far into a project with major problems unaddressed • Solutions • Have a mentoring architect assigned to the project • Architecture reviews by peers
  15. 15. Getting to the Starting Line • Security and/or clearance issues • Development infrastructure is complicated. • Accounts & access requests can take time. • Solutions • Note good contacts, use them. • Develop onboarding scripts and scripts.
  16. 16. Ramping Up to the Build • Getting oriented to the system can take time. • It can be 3-6 weeks before any useful development. • Solutions • Wikis (but these are only good if kept fresh) • Strategic, progressive exposure and learning
  17. 17. Bottlenecks and Knowledge Sharing • Large systems have more potential points of friction. • Too often knowledge resides with one person. • Solutions • Wikis (but these are only good if kept fresh) • Obvious bottlenecks have multiple people trained on them.
  18. 18. Meetings • Meetings get difficult with more staff • Either need more meetings or larger meetings • Solutions • Frequent scrum meetings on regular schedules • Meetings with defined agendas and actionable outcomes
  19. 19. Long Engagement Issues • Boredom • Personality conflicts • Solutions • Cycle team members out at strategic points. • Keep team informed of the rough length of their engagement, and stick to those dates.
  20. 20. Technical Concerns
  21. 21. Source Code Control • Need revision tracking and ability to rollback • Need to make sure developers’ work can interoperate • Deploy code to production quickly • Solutions • Git flow (http://nvie.com/posts/a-successful-git- branching-model/)
  22. 22. Test, test, test. • With many developers, huge chance of collisions • Need to find bugs before they hit production • Solutions • Automated testing: PHPUnit, Behat, Saucelabs
  23. 23. Second- and Third Party Integrations • Drupal team dealing with new technology • Technologies may not interoperate well • Second-party integration have politics and turf issues • Solutions • Discovery • Risk Assessment/Mitigation
  24. 24. The Myths of FOSS • Client expects everything works off the shelf • You can’t tell a large organization “it works that way” • Solutions • Client relationship and expectations management • Emphasize the triad of budget, timeline, and feature set
  25. 25. The Good Stuff
  26. 26. Big Complex Problems • Make staff happy • Makes simpler problems that much easier
  27. 27. Opportunities for Contribution • Difficulties and complexity leads to interesting solutions • Often can generalize these out and contribute back
  28. 28. Staff Happiness • Long engagements make staff happy (sometimes) • Large engagements make staff happy (sometimes)
  29. 29. Increased organizational growth • Larger teams • Larger budgets • Opportunities for more complex management structure which results in additional career paths for team members
  30. 30. Skills development • Large projects means increased opportunity to learn new things
  31. 31. Blessing or Burden?
  32. 32. Yes!
  33. 33. Large Drupal Projects • Can be fun and exciting! • Can also be crush your organization and development team.
  34. 34. Questions?
  35. 35. PHASE2TECHNOLOGY.COM
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