Doing more with less

Elliot Coad

Head of Development - Shortlist Media

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Who we are

  • We were born into the magazine industry in 2007 with ShortList and Stylist

  • Market leaders with ~800,000 copies per week

     

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Who we are becoming

  • A technology-led media publisher
  • Well underway digital transformation
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dangerously digital

Digital Transformation

2007

2017

Current digital properties

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Current digital properties (cont)

  • Maps
  • CMS product
  • Display ad platform
  • Native ad platform
  • Comps and vouchers
  • Facebook Instant Articles
  • Apple News
  • New launches, enhancements
  • CMS user support
  • AWS: ~40 EC2 instances, S3, RDS, etc.
  • IT support (!)
  • ...
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The huge team to support  all of this...

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(until very recently)

How we do more with less

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Complexity Management

  • Understading the fan out of requirements
  • Too easy to say yes
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Unmanaged complexity

Team are stretched too far

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Unable to accommodate changes

Business cannot pivot

Tech debt accumulates

Milestones missed

Place emphasis on the business value

Not doing it

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    Dependencies

    Complexity

    Communication

    Ill-defined

    Excitableness

    Do the maths

Calculate the long term cost:

  • Solve manual tasks
  • Choose wisely
    • Visual
    • Simple
    • Not annoying
    • Well configured

Leveraging robots

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Leveraging robots

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Leveraging robots

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Backups

Deployment manager

Communication tools

Bug management

Logging tools

Performance monitoring

Server monitoring

Dependency management

Continuous Integration

...

Staff holiday management

What are you doing over and over?

Make them your products

Identify your patterns

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Tapestry

Croissant

Kitchin

Telemetry

Enable/Disable everything

Circuit Breaker pattern

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Lean codebases

Core product functions

  • Full stack developers
  • Easy to get started
  • Prioritisation clash
  • Security
  • Scale/Resilience
  • Disaster recovery

Hosting/sysops: the past

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Dev tasks

Sysops

  • Wirehive as a extension of our team
  • Named person appointed to us
  • Access to pool of >30 specialists
    • Particular CDN
    • Hosting Node
    • Performance
    • DB management
    • Obscure Varnish config

Hosting/sysops: now

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Sysops

Dev tasks

  • Design flexible hosting models

  • Scripts to spin up hosting environments

  • Security

  • Backups and disaster recovery

  • Load testing

  • Monitoring/alerting

  • Proactive hours

  • 24/7/365 service

  • Holiday/illness cover

Hosting/sysops: now

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  • Small tech-debt pile
  • Reducing potential for burnout
    • Keeping to office hours

    • Make sure no-one is drowning

    • Socials/hackdays

    • Pair programming

  • Staff retention

  • Capacity for innovation

  • Keep enjoying what you do

What to do with all this free time?

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thanks

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