We're proud to provide Continuous Delivery services.

Find out how
Delivering a high stakes MVP.
Designow
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

Following a branding initiative, Designow worked with Last Call Media to build and launch the initial release of a complex crowdfunding platform on Drupal.

When we began, initial prototyping and feature development had already been started. As is often the case, much of the prototyping had made its way into substantial portions of what was now the project's foundational work. It had become difficult to determine exactly what was completely done, what was partially done, and what requirements had been left out along the way.

How we did it

We used our expertise in Agile methodologies to bring order to complexity and the product to launch. We began by building and prioritizing a backlog of tasks, getting high priority tasks into a ready state by defining out appropriate definitions of done. We additionally focused on implementing strategies for limiting the work-in-progress present in the project when we started. We forecasted out a few sprint goals, informed by our backlog development and resulting strategies, and quickly went into heavy development.

Immediate visibility for stakeholders into development progress became of major importance for their own ability to make quick business decisions concerning their investment. In order to maximize the value of the work, we adapted our initial Scrum iteration approach into shorter, one-week sprints of continuous delivery to get small groups of completed tasks out faster. This soon further evolved into more of an ideal Kanban flow, allowing a continuous awareness and continuous delivery of the right value.

Since the initial release, LCM and Designow have continuously measured and inspected valuable feedback. Our work continues as the product is currently receiving regular releases of new features and refinements.

×
Find out how
Consortium Assault Services app.
Amherst College
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

In response to growing concerns and attention around Sexual Harassment and Assault Nationwide, Amherst College needed a tool to serve students of the Five Colleges with rapid access to Title IX office information and emergency services.

How we did it

LCM and Amherst College worked together with student advocates, Title IX, LGBT, and other campus offices and organizations to design and develop an iOS App that puts valuable information, from a Drupal site Amherst can administer, into the hands of students. The major feature of the app was to direct assault survivors to emergency contact information, help services, and other advocacy groups anonymously and quickly.

Profile picture for user Rob
Rob Bayliss
CTO

The app was announced to all incoming and returning students during new school year orientation. Information about the app has been circulated through the Five Colleges on promotional materials and "get help" fliers, and posters.

×
Find out how
Custom tailoring Haverford.edu.
Haverford College
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

When LCM got the call from Haverford about redoing their site in Drupal, we thought it was going to be a redesign. After initial conversation we agreed to do a Discovery and Strategy engagement first to determine what the true needs were and then develop a strategy for solutions. We conducted stakeholder interviews and developed the User Personas of who our work was to be for. Interestingly, none of these personas ended up being anonymous site visitor, but instead were different types of content editors and administrators.

How we did it

Haverford didn’t need a redesign; their site looked great already. The biggest issue they needed to solve was not having enough time to do new feature development themselves. They were a smart and capable team and over many years had developed and maintained a large custom PHP implementation for college’s website needs. They were finding, however, that too much of their time was being spent updating pages for college members and groups. Their hope was for us to build them a site that looked and functioned like their current site, but built on a modern CMS with exceptional user management and publishing workflows.

Once we had alignment on their needs and a strategy for solutions, we built out a Content Model, Product Backlog, and Information Architecture. The project was completed with Drupal, in steady collaboration with the Communications team, in 5 development Sprints and launched on the Acquia Infrastructure.

The Haverford Team really jumped in and took off with it. It was really great!

You can read more about this project as LCM’s Acquia Certified Grand Master Developer, Jeff Landfried shares details of his experience here.

Since then, Last Call Media has continued to work with Haverford on an ongoing basis as part of our dedicated Continuous Delivery relationship - where our dedicated team of developers helps to keep their site secure, up-to-date, and assists as needed with anything from strategy to design to development.

The migration of Haverford to Drupal on Acquia remains one of our favorite projects to date, and it's a great source of professional pride for all of us.  We look forward to a long partnership with Haverford as we continuously evaluate how their online experience is meeting the needs of the College.  

×
Find out how
Forklift to Drupal 7 in 8 weeks
SUNY Potsdam
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
  • XP
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings

Leveraging a small multidisciplinary production team and agile methodologies, LCM migrated SUNY Potsdam from their self-hosted legacy CommonSpot CMS to Drupal 7 on Acquia in just 8 weeks.

The small team at the SUNY Potsdam Office of Public Affairs had been managing the proprietary CommonSpot CMS since its implementation in 2008. It was inflexible and the team struggled with reliability issues, so SUNY Potsdam was looking for a more useable, stable, efficient, and scalable solution. They chose Drupal 7, Acquia, and Last Call Media.  

SUNY Potsdam partnered with Last Call Media and Acquia to migrate their site to Drupal 7. Leveraging the scrum methodology, LCM broke down and organized the major site features into a prioritized backlog, groomed for two-week iterations. While planning and backlog refinement was ongoing several times a week, the core development team at LCM met with Potsdam every other Friday to review work completed, provide training on the new CMS, and to facilitate the feedback gathering process.

Since SUNY Potsdam had recently gone through a redesign, the project required the new site to maintain the existing look and feel. We began with an in-depth audit of all the different page types and page elements. Instead of doing this manually page by page, we first looked for a programmatic solution. Since CommonSpot did not provide a way to generate this information within the CMS, LCM used it’s HTML Crawler tool to programmatically crawl the existing production site and analyze the various HTML tags to determine page elements (such as slideshows, feeds, etc), including where and how often they appear. This provided tremendous visibility into the site’s underlying structure, which was critical in planning our approach to the migration to Drupal.

Potsdam Art Page

 

After reviewing this data with SUNY Potsdam, we began the process of consolidation– instead of building one-off page elements, we consolidated similar elements into single widgets that behaved differently based on where on the page it was placed. This helped reduce the vast number of options a content author has to choose from, making it easier for them to do what they need to do: focus on the content. To achieve the desired platform flexibility, LCM built a repository of flexible and adaptable widgets to allow the marketing team at Potsdam to build custom pages. 

The migration included several different page templates and tens of thousands of pieces of content, which required writing and testing a series of migration scripts to get all the content from one CMS to another without downtime or a lengthy content freeze. Since the CommonSpot installation did not have a concept of structured content, LCM used it’s HTML crawler tool again to programmatically identify page content and then map it to its new location in Drupal. Once the custom scripts were written and tested the migration took only 15 minutes for tens of thousands of pieces of unique content and the associated metadata, such as date published, authoring information, and URL. 

Potsdam Events Page

 

The new site also pulls in events automatically from their event management system, SOGo, and tags the event to the relevant department or office in the CMS so that it appears on that organization's page.  

Lastly, in order to make it as easy as possible for content authors to login to the site, we leveraged the identity management service at Potsdam, Active Directory, to allow users to use their domain credentials to authenticate with Drupal.

This project addressed several internal pain points with the SUNY Potsdam main website, allowing the marketing team to move from maintenance and support tasks to other organizational priorities. The site loads blazingly fast on Acquia, and Potsdam continues to work with LCM in an ongoing support relationship.   

×
Find out how
Strategic pivot, design and development.
CIO Executive Council
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Last Call Media helped the CIO Council team rethink their strategic approach. The CEC Exchange needed to be rebranded and transformed from a place where very few people logged in to one that showcased the key benefits of membership in the Council - media placements, personalized leadership development, and exclusive access to unique content, events and peer matching services

How we did it

The CIO Executive Council is a community of Chief Information Officers and other high-level IT professionals from corporate, nonprofit, education and government backgrounds, gathered together by the International Data Group, a giant technology media, data, and marketing firm responsible for such well known brands as PCWorld, MacWorld, and CIO Magazine.  

The CIO Executive Council created the CEC Exchange, which had originally been envisioned as a community space for their CIO members to share things of mutual interest.  Two years in, the log-in only service was largely unused by the incredibly busy C-Level executives who were members of the Council.  

CEC Exchange uses Salesforce to manage information about each user in their membership pipeline. On the Drupal side, the site contains several main sections that each have their own exclusive resources and content. These sections require a subscription to access. Using a combination of the Salesforce Suite and the Organic Groups module, the site regularly retrieves updated information from Salesforce and syncs it with the Drupal user list, tracking their subscriptions by assigning them to the appropriate organic groups. The site's dashboard displays specialized tiles that administrators have full control over, allowing them to highlight featured content and the most sought after resources within each section for subscribed users. Site visitors and users without a subscription can still see the content that is available from each subscription package, but receive an admin-customizable call to action specific to the content they are attempting to access when they click on a tile from the dashboard.

nav hihglight

phones

 

icons

tablet

Last Call Media designed a much simpler and more attractive interface built around the most compelling products and services that the CIO Exchange has to offer.  A CIO visitor to the site can now see how the resources there can help them further their own career, stay on top of the ever changing trends in technology, reach out to peers facing similar challenges, and access the CIO Exchange’s team of expert concierge staff to answer any questions they may have.

Through a mix of branding and design, Last Call Media re-made the site, which was recently relaunched to incredibly positive initial feedback.

×
Find out how
Asia Society's International Centers.
Asia Society
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Asia Society wanted to expand their current Drupal website with a new capability. Asia Society Centers were to be information portal microsites for their international member branches. The new functionality had to integrate with their existing site design, and provide editing capabilities for branch content authors.

How we did it

The project required an aggressive timeline, and was delivered in two weeks. Organic Groups (OG) and Nodequeues were used to provide separate branch-specific sections, or “centers”, of the website, and to provide branch editors control over their own center’s content. The new sections were integrated with the existing site design through customized theming.

Thanks so much for the smooth migration on such a short deadline. I know there were (more than) a few balls in the air at all times and we really appreciate your attention to detail and organized process.

Megan MacMurray, Associate Director of Technology

The ability to provide rapid development through a flexible team of developers ensured the project was delivered on time fully tested and polished. The “Centers” have provided Asia Society the means to expand their content reach and focus.

×
Find out how
Rainforest Alliance's Global Impact Map.
Rainforest Alliance
Processes
  • Agile/Kanban
  • XP
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Kelly Albrecht

Rainforest Alliance needed an effective way to illustrate their global efforts to preserve one of the earth’s most valuable resources: the environment.

Most recently impressive is the mapping project that we unexpectedly threw on Rob and Tom’s lap, and which they handled quickly and expertly. 

Melissa Normann, Senior Manager, Web Strategy and Development

How we did it

Knowing that a simple page with paragraphs wouldn’t suffice, we built a map that allows the Rainforest Alliance to display data from a specific region. The user can then zoom in on those regions or look at specific data points to learn more. The map takes a large spreadsheet of geodata, created based on information from the Rainforest Alliance’s CRM, and creates an interactive map powered by CartoDB that allows users to see RA-certified organizations, and what they do.

Profile picture for user Rob
Rob Bayliss
CTO

The project took less than a month to complete, using a combination of Kanban and XP.

×
Find out how
Massive nightly sync.
Yale University Press
Processes
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Rob Bayliss

Yale University Press has a massive collection of over 15,000 unique publications they’ve published over the past 100 years. The Press desired the ability to allow their users to browse, check inventory and purchase items directly from their Yale University Press Drupal site, which required relaunching their site on Drupal 7, integrating their collection management system and an e-commerce and fulfillment solution. After working with another vendor for over three years to get the critical nightly sync from their Microsoft SQL Server Management Studio database to Drupal sync running, Yale University Press was seeking a second opinion. 

How we did it

 Working with Yale ITS and the Press, we successfully implemented a nightly sync that queries their SQL Server for changes made in the last 24-hrs and updates the records in Drupal in under 15 minutes every night at midnight.

×
Find out how
Leveraging our Scaffolding and Drupal 8.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Since early 2014, LCM has continued a productive, ongoing partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul and supports their web properties and the associated infrastructure. Recently, Chicken Soup asked LCM to launch two new and completely different Drupal 8 sites within a month. LCM worked off of prototypes from Chicken Soup for the Soul and was trusted to move quickly. By deploying two separate teams of 2 developers, LCM was able to take each site from prototype to launch on D8 and Pantheon within two weeks, while another team maintained the ongoing feature release schedule on Chicken Soup for the Soul's massive Drupal 6 site.

In June of 2016, Chicken Soup needed a simple site for their rapidly-growing television and online programming production and distribution business. The site needed to handle a collection of content pages and videos, and was intended to be another microsite that would follow some standard templating and functionality as laid out for previous Chicken Soup sites LCM had worked on, and new sites that were still to come.

Chicken Soup was looking for an alternative approach.

Building new features to support growing business lines inside their massive aging Drupal 6 site was becoming unsustainable. Over time, the site had accumulated so much functionality that each deployment ran a high risk of breaking something, which led to lengthy deployments. Recognizing that issue, a plan was developed in partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul to spin out a series of smaller, more focused sites sharing a similar architecture. Drupal’s modular architecture, and particularly Drupal 8’s approach to dependency management, made it a great fit for this task. Additionally, while the core CMS functionality of Drupal 6 worked well, the UI was becoming dated and cumbersome to work with. Drupal 8 featured a lot of usability enhancements such as the built in WYSIWYG that would make the site much more usable overall. Finally, the feature set of the site was tightly focused, and after consideration, we were able to implement it with a small handful of contributed modules, and very little technical debt. 

Following on the success of the Chicken Soup for the Soul Pet Foods site, Last Call Media used a similar formula: leverage Drupal 8 core wherever possible, and avoid contributed modules. This was a great strategy in terms of avoiding the turmoil of early Drupal 8 contrib churn, and had the side benefit of keeping the site very lean and performant. After experiencing some past pain points in using the bare “Configuration Management” system in Drupal 8, we chose to use the Features module on this project. Features makes it easy to bundle configuration into modules, and makes it easier to share configuration (in the form of Drupal modules) between the brand’s sites should the need arise in the future. 

The site uses Last Call Media’s boilerplate Drupal 8 scaffolding build, which helped jumpstart the development process by providing a suite of best practices and quality assurance tools with no extra effort.

The goal of this project was to build a flexible marketing site capable of showcasing Chicken Soup for the Soul’s entertainment offerings; primarily their TV shows and online videos. The biggest obstacles the project faced were the looming deadline, the relative instability of Drupal 8 immediately following the initial release, and the lack of contributed modules that were available to us. For example, the Media-related modules we would normally use for the online video section were not stable yet. Instead of using a media/file entity as we normally would to store an online video, we leveraged Drupal core’s new URL field to store the URL of the Rumble video, and used a field template to output an embed link. It was a simple and elegant solution to a difficult problem. 

Thanks to excellent communication with Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Digital Strategy team, and Last Call’s experience in working with Drupal 8, we were able to turn the project around in just two weeks. This met the deadline set by the marketing team, and achieved all of the goals that were set out. 

×
Find out how
Pet Food Microsite: Built in two weeks.
Chicken Soup for the Soul
Processes
  • Agile/Scrum
  • Continuous Delivery
Team Leadership
  • Senior Producer
    Sean Eddings
  • Senior Development
    Jeff Landfried

Since early 2014, LCM has continued a productive, ongoing partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul and supports their web properties and the associated infrastructure. Recently, Chicken Soup asked LCM to launch two new and completely different Drupal 8 sites within a month. LCM worked off of prototypes from Chicken Soup for the Soul and was trusted to move quickly. By deploying two separate teams of 2 developers, LCM was able to take each site from prototype to launch on D8 and Pantheon within two weeks, while another team maintained the ongoing feature release schedule on Chicken Soup for the Soul's massive Drupal 6 site.

In June of 2016, Chicken Soup needed a simple site to promote their line of wholesome pet food and message of overall health and wellbeing for dogs and cats. The site needed to handle a collection of content pages for products and species, as well as a store locator to show users where their products are available. The Chicken Soup Pet Foods site is a microsite that follows standard D8 templating and functionality, as laid out for previous Chicken Soup sites LCM has completed, and new sites that are still to come.

Chicken Soup was looking for an alternative approach.

Building new features to support growing business lines inside their massive aging Drupal 6 site was becoming unsustainable. Over time, the site had accumulated so much functionality that each deployment ran a high risk of breaking something, which led to lengthy deployments. Recognizing that issue, a plan was developed in partnership with Chicken Soup for the Soul to spin out a series of smaller, more focused sites sharing a similar architecture. Drupal’s modular architecture, and particularly Drupal 8’s approach to dependency management, made it a great fit for this task. Additionally, while the core CMS functionality of Drupal 6 worked well, the UI was becoming dated and cumbersome to work with. Drupal 8 featured a lot of usability enhancements such as the built-in WYSIWYG that would make the site much more usable overall. Finally, the feature set of the site was tightly focused, and after consideration, we were able to implement it with a small handful of contributed modules, and very little technical debt. 

After experiencing some past pain points in using the bare “Configuration Management” system in Drupal 8, we chose to use the Features module on this project. Features makes it easy to bundle configuration into modules, and makes it easier to share configuration (in the form of Drupal modules) between the brand’s sites should the need arise in the future. The site uses Last Call Media’s boilerplate Drupal 8 “scaffolding” tool, which produces an artifact build, and provides a lot of best practices and testing tools out of the box. Other than that, we worked hard to use as much of the core D8 functionality as we possibly could to reduce our future technical debt as contributed modules matured.

The goal of this project was to build a flexible marketing site capable of showcasing Chicken Soup for the Soul’s line of pet food products, promoting the retailers that sell those products, and building flexible pages containing multimedia content. The biggest obstacles the project faced were the looming deadline, the relative instability of Drupal 8 immediately following the initial release, and the lack of contributed modules that were available to us. For example, the Addressfield/Geofield modules we would normally use for the “Find a Retailer” feature forced us to get creative. We ended up using Google’s Fusion Tables as a datasource, with some javascript to embed the data on the page and provide the interactivity. Overall, this was a great tradeoff, since it allows us to offload the import/edit UI and the proximity to a third party, whereas the old solution required building a custom importer to bring a CSV into Drupal, and a number of slow spatial queries to be made against the database.

Thanks to excellent communication with Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Digital Strategy team, and Last Call’s experience in working with Drupal 8, we were able to turn the project around in just two weeks. This met the deadline set by the marketing team, and achieved all of the goals that were set out.   

×