Deeson: How our teams deliver projects

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 10:22am

One of the things we believe in at Deeson is giving our team the freedom and responsibility to make decisions. At many agencies there’s often a centralisation of control and influence, but we believe that by giving that control back to the people who actually do the work we get better results for our clients.

Our vision is of an empowered team with the freedom to do what they love in better ways, and the responsibility to make decisions that will deliver innovative, data- and insight-driven products that bring genuine value to clients and their end users.

Over the last year we’ve expanded, not just in size but geographically too. We now have people spread around the UK and Europe, so how do we retain that freedom while maintaining our ability to communicate well, to develop our skills individually and as a team, and to deliver the highest quality digital products to our clients?

This was the question occupying us in 2015 when we started to do some research into models for self-organising teams.

At this point the expansion of the team was already adding a level of complexity to delivering projects for our clients. Under those circumstances growing agencies will often hire more managers to handle that complexity.

We didn't want to do that because it's counter-intuitive if you believe, as we do, that people do best when they manage their own schedules and projects, rather than having someone else tell them what to do and when. Instead of adding layers of management hierarchy we wanted to enable everyone to stay focused and close to the work, and that’s what led us to start working in multi-disciplary teams called pods.

A pod typically consists of 7-9 people and is made up of an account manager, a solutions architect, a user experience consultant and a cross-section of designers and developers. Each pod has a set number of projects and clients that they work with at any one time, meaning that everyone in the pod has a detailed knowledge of each project - and, crucially, everyone can work on every project within that pod.

Having a small, dedicated and permanent team is core to the way we work, and even more valuable is the accompanying change in how we view responsibilities.

Whereas before the developers were responsible for development work, the designers for design and the project manager for planning and scheduling, now the whole pod is jointly responsible for bringing purpose, judgement and their own specialist skills to the solving of clients’ problems.

We don’t have a gatekeeper doling out tasks to individuals, or prioritising the work, because the pod members are invested and equipped to make those decisions more effectively than anyone else.

So, what does pod working look like in practice?

We begin each day with the morning stand-up, where we share updates on a per-project basis (with distributed team members in attendance thanks to Google Hangouts). This ensures everyone in the pod is aware of the status of each project, whether they’re working directly on it or not. It also removes the need for separate daily project meetings, because any issues are identified right away and can be dealt with by the appropriate people.

We do most of our written client communication via Basecamp, which means we all have a record of what’s being discussed and agreed. This is reflected in the quality of the work we give back to the client, who gets the same level of communication as before - but with a wider pool of people with a deep understanding of the project who can step in and be involved if necessary.

And that flexibility and scalability is key: depending on our schedule and team size we can add new pods as and when we need to, in order to manage our growing portfolio of clients and projects.

Sharing the knowledge and responsibility across the pod means we don’t find ourselves stuck if someone is ill or goes on holiday, and reducing the number of meetings we have means everyone has more time and a better ability to focus on the day’s work, as well as a quicker feedback loop for solving problems.

Close, collaborative pod working gives us all a chance to share our knowledge and skills, to spot where we can help someone out by pointing them in the direction of a solution to a tricky problem, or by spending half an hour working on something that will unblock their progress. It also gives us the opportunity to develop pod members’ individual careers, by putting people with different backgrounds and levels of experience together and letting them find the best ways of working together and sharing their expertise.

Cross-discipline collaboration and shared learning is essential, but we also recognise that we want to grow strong specialisms as well as strong delivery units. We facilitate this by running separate teams we call chapters: groups built around specialisms like engineering, UX, and design.

Each chapter has a lead - an experienced practitioner who in addition to their role within their pod is responsible for promoting best practice and shared professional development across the chapter. In this way we ensure that our core skills are constantly being developed even as our day-to-day focus is on delivering work to our clients.

So what positive change have we seen since we’ve been working this way?

For one, it’s led to a stronger team spirit (as well as some friendly rivalry between pods).

And while we are proud of our flat management structure, the pod model gives everyone the immediate day-to-day support they need from their peers, so that decisions can be made, issues resolved and advice received right away.

Unlike with other agencies, our clients don’t have to spend a lot of time dealing with account managers. Instead they get direct contact with skilled, dedicated, knowledgeable and trusted people who are focused on doing the work that delivers what they and their businesses need.

Categories: Drupal

Promet Source: A Guide to Awesome User Testing Tools, 2016 Edition

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 9:00am

When creating or redesigning any digital assets, your decisions should revolve around the users. Ask questions like:

► What are the end user's needs?

► How will this design serve those users?

► What are the business goals for your brand and how will they impact the end user?

► How will users interact with this new design or feature of your website?

Categories: Drupal

Appnovation Technologies: Introduction to Drupal 8 Module Development

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 7:55am
Drupal 8 philosophy and architecture is different than Drupal 7. From a backend and frontend standpoints there are new concepts.
Categories: Drupal

Evolving Web: Choosing Modules and Themes for Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 7:53am

If you're a Drupal developer who's on the fence about trying Drupal 8, we hope this post will push you to go for it... or inform you that it's better to wait, if your project depends on a module that's not there yet.

read more
Categories: Drupal

Acquia Developer Center Blog: Try Acquia Cloud’s New (Faster and More Responsive) User Interface

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 6:16am

Today we’re pleased to announce the public beta release of our updated user interface (UI) for Acquia Cloud.

Our goal is to create a UI that offers a level of automation that developers need to be efficient. We’re doing this by reducing and eliminating the times you’ll have to jump between pages, whether you're switching environments, moving between code, databases, and files, or monitoring your website's health. Now it's all on one page.

Tags: acquia drupal planet
Categories: Drupal

Apache Solr View Count

New Drupal Modules - 4 April 2016 - 6:13am

This module allows you to index the node view count to Apache solr index as a custom field and let you sort SOLR results. The module requires Apache solr search module. The Apachesolr Viewcount module depends on either of the following modules to fetch the node view count:

Categories: Drupal

Drop Guard: Drop Guard recipes: Testing your updates in a feature branch instance

Planet Drupal - 4 April 2016 - 3:45am
Drop Guard recipes: Testing your updates in a feature branch instance Igor Kandyba Mon, 04.04.2016 - 12:45

With this post, we are starting a new series - "Drop Guard recipes". It will be all about things which help us to be more productive, efficient, provide better service to our customers and ensure better security for Drupal. As you might expect, it will be mostly Drop Guard related, but we promise there will be a lot of interesting stuff for everyone. Stay tuned!

First of all, let's agree that if you or your team uses some sort of modern development workflow - which essentially means the path the code makes from the point it was originally written to the production website, you should be familiar with feature branches concept. Apart from traditional "dev", "stage" and "master" branches, you create separate named branches for website features or code updates which are not yet ready to be merged upstream.

Git workflow Drop Guard CI QA Drupal Planet Drop Guard recipes
Categories: Drupal

Config Importer and Tools

New Drupal Modules - 4 April 2016 - 2:10am

This module aims to cover development needs with managing configs during project development.
Importing all configs during development is not convenient and can lead to bad behaviours with overwriting or deleting configs or content from a site
So there is a need for importing only specific configs via hook_update_N

Categories: Drupal


New Drupal Modules - 4 April 2016 - 1:52am

This module aims to cover basic need with embedding forms into a site via entity_embed, incorporating

  • contact_storage,
  • views,
  • csv_serialization

Basic features
OptionEmailtem -> gives you an opportunity to create a field with Options, tied to emails for sending out submissions to addition for main contact form setting
Markup item - for adding simple HTML to your forms
States - List of US and Canada states

Categories: Drupal

ActiveLAMP: Composer Manager in Drupal 7 and Drupal 8

Planet Drupal - 3 April 2016 - 8:01pm

This video will take you through the correct way to use composer dependencies in Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 using the Composer Manager module. This video part 2 to the PSR video we did last month, that shows how to write a views handler using PSR-4 class autoloading (http://activelamp.com/videos/psr-4-class-autoloading-with-drupal-7). At the end of the PSR-4 video, I pulled in a composer dependency not using Composer Manager. This video will show you the correct way to use Composer with Drupal.

Categories: Drupal

CKEditor Wordcount

New Drupal Modules - 3 April 2016 - 11:40am

Adds support for the Word Count & Char Count Plugin for CKEditor.

It can be enabled per filter format, and will show you the paragraph and word count, as well as count spaces as characters or count HTML as characters if you select those options. You can also set a maximum limit on total words or total characters, which will prevent input in CKEditor after that limit.

Categories: Drupal

CKEditor Notification

New Drupal Modules - 3 April 2016 - 11:33am

Adds in the Notification plugin for CKEditor.

This is required by plugins that need the notification plugin in order to work, like Word Count & Char Count Plugin.

  1. Download the plugin from http://ckeditor.com/addon/notification
  2. Place the plugin in the root libraries folder (/libraries).
  3. Enable the Notification module in the Drupal admin.
Categories: Drupal

Drupal core announcements: Drupal 8 core release window on Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Planet Drupal - 3 April 2016 - 8:22am
Start:  2016-04-05 12:00 - 2016-04-07 12:00 UTC Organizers:  xjm catch Event type:  Online meeting (eg. IRC meeting)

The monthly core patch (bug fix) release window is this Wednesday, April 06. Drupal 8.0.6 will be released with dozens of fixes for Drupal 8. Note that this is the final bugfix release of the 8.0.x series and also the release window for Drupal 8.1.0-rc1. There will be no Drupal 7 bugfix release this month.

To ensure a reliable release window for the patch release, there will be a Drupal 8.0.x commit freeze from 12:00 UTC Tuesday to 12:00 UTC Thursday. Now is a good time to update your development/staging servers to the latest 8.0.x-dev code and help us catch any regressions in advance. If you do find any regressions, please report them in the issue queue. Thanks!

To see all of the latest changes that will be included in the release, see the 8.0.x commit log.

Other upcoming core release windows after this week include:

  • Wednesday, April 20 (security release window and scheduled minor release)
  • Wednesday, May 04 (patch release window)

Drupal 6 is end-of-life and will not receive further releases.

For more information on Drupal core release windows, see the documentation on release timing and security releases, as well as the Drupal core release cycle overview.

Categories: Drupal

Configuration QuickEdit

New Drupal Modules - 3 April 2016 - 6:28am

Allows easy front-end access to such configuration settings such as field formatters and image styles.

Currently it requires a very small patch to Refreshless.

Quick Demo Video

Categories: Drupal

DrupalEasy: DrupalEasy Podcast 172 - The Coup (Jeff Geerling - Drupal VM)

Planet Drupal - 2 April 2016 - 1:46pm

Direct .mp3 file download.

Jeff Geerling (geerlingguy), lead maintainer of the Drupal VM project joins Ted, Kelley, and Andrew for a lesson on Drupal VM, and how it can be leveraged by Drupal developers. Additional topics discussed include recent community voting results, Drupal 8.1, Peco, and renting chickens.

Interview DrupalEasy News Three Stories Sponsors Picks of the Week Upcoming Events Follow us on Twitter Five Questions (answers only)
  1. Collect raspberry Pi computers. Has 13 Pis on his desk.
  2. Peco (Andrew rocks!) - Debian on an O-Droid.
  3. Getting heating and cooling system to auto control zones of the house.
  4. Rented Chicken
  5. Going from 56 Joomla sites to one Drupal site with Organic Groups (OG)
Intro Music

You Ain't Never Had a Dev Like Me - from the DruaplCon Los Angeles pre-note performed by Aaron Porter.


Subscribe to our podcast on iTunes or Miro. Listen to our podcast on Stitcher.

If you'd like to leave us a voicemail, call 321-396-2340. Please keep in mind that we might play your voicemail during one of our future podcasts. Feel free to call in with suggestions, rants, questions, or corrections. If you'd rather just send us an email, please use our contact page.

Categories: Drupal

Panel Button

New Drupal Modules - 1 April 2016 - 1:36pm

Adds in the Panel Button plugin for CKEditor.

This is required by plugins that need panel button to work, like Color Button.

Other plugins can leverage panel button by adding this in their plugin definition:

Categories: Drupal


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