Internal day: February 2020

Author - Sasha Suzdaleva

Posted By Sasha Suzdaleva

Date posted 4th Mar 2020

Category Blog

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As we closed our office for the day in February to focus on our internal processes, here’s what happened..

The wider 93digital team split in the morning. While our developers focused on individually improving our internal processes, our designers, project managers, and digital strategists gathered together to focus on optimising the Strategy, Discovery & Definition phase of a project. 

Optimising the discovery & definition stage 

At the beginning of the day, Graham, Roz, James, Charlie, Fenella, and Darren all got together to talk through ideas and suggestions to make Discovery stages run smoother. Key focus was on initial client Kick-Off meeting and subsequent Discovery session workshop, revisiting the agenda and brainstorming ideas.

For us at 93digital the Discovery sessions are crucial in making sure projects head off in the right direction. A key reason why they can sometimes veer off course is because of misunderstandings in terms of scope – especially around content and UX. The end result should hopefully make projects run smoother, quicker, and more efficiently. It will also ensure we’ve covered off and considered common project pain points, namely priority functionality, content, and design.

Create reusable plugins for content migration

In the meantime, our developer Vic focused on improving the process for content migration – particularly key when we’re re-building sites. This would entail refactoring and extending the migration scripts that have been written for previous clients into a reusable plugin, ready to use on future client projects.

Particularly exciting as this plugin should form the beginning of a suite of import/migration plugins which will allow us to migrate native WordPress databases, non-WordPress MySQL databases, and to scrape content via URLs to import data if there’s no database to speak of.

Improve client support 

For Ibon, the day began with research of current Helpdesk alternatives and a review of some of the WordPress core functions. The aim for the day is to innovate and look at how we can make client support more efficient, user friendly, and see if we can cater to any additional functionalities. 

Adhere to best coding practice 

At 93digital we always aim to have the best coding practices, thus the goal for Jafar was to go back to the projects that he is currently working on and refactor some of the code that has been done, deleting any unnecessary ACF fields. Examples of best practice for code are: Don’t Repeat Yourself principle, Block Element Modifier, and shorthand for if statements.

Once this code is implemented it means that after Jafar has finished working on a particular project, another developer can pick up the code and easily understand what is going on. For the big picture, it means that the code we produce for our clients is always created with care and of a high quality. It’s also beneficial for the development team as it means that all developers are on the same page and can understand each other’s code easily.

You can read more about our Development Best Practices here.

Create templates to improve internal development speed 

Our Senior Developer Andrew, focused on the continuation of our starter theme template development – improving performance and accessibility standards based on past projects and best practice. This will help developers internally with development efficiency and quality on projects. In the long term it streamlines our build process so the developers can focus on more challenging aspects of development.

As the day approached to a close, and the weekend got nearer, it’s safe to say that once again the day was super productive for the team, with many of the goals complete and significant headway made on others. Here are some of the reflections that followed.

Optimising the discovery & definition stage

The team made good headway creating a skeleton process and toolkit of suggested workshop exercises we can explore further. Depending on client need, budget, and time, we can apply, and mix and match these to ensure discoveries run smoothly for lower budget right through to the higher budget projects. 

Create reusable plugins for content migration 

By the end of the day Vic had created a settings page to allow the input of a lot of database variables making it easier to customise imports. He also separated out and cleaned up the scripts, making it more readable and hopefully easier to debug!

Improve client support 

With a number of new techniques and ideas, a neat list was created ready for discussion with our Lead Developer Matt. Next, they will discuss how and where we can implement some of these to create a smoother experience for ticket management and client support. 

Adhere to best coding practice 

At the end of the day Jafar had cleaned up the markup and renamed CSS classes so it follows BEM (Block element modifier). He also deleted a lot of unnecessary fields on the WordPress backend so end-users do not have to add unnecessary additional content.

Create templates to improve internal development speed 

The day finished for Andrew with Archive, Category, Tag, and Search pages ready to be styled out the box. Andrew also started throwing in commonly used Gutenberg blocks as part of the templates. Again saving us lots of valuable development time!

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