What enterprises should expect when they partner with a new agency

Clean up comes first

|David Steeb

Choosing an agency is difficult, but once you’ve gone through your project’s concept document, and gained an understanding of your agency’s technical expertise and proposals, the process becomes more straightforward. At that point, you’ve kicked off your partnership and are looking forward to shared success. Before getting too deep into the details, however, you should have a work plan for what gets tackled first. And while it's natural to get caught up in the excitement of a new project, a thorough agency will take care of the basics first: important housework tends to be critical to the success of any project.

Ensure a fruitful, long-term relationship!

We don’t approach every partnership the same way, but b13 follows a general order of operations when we begin working with new enterprise clients.

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Address critical issues first

While assessing our clients’ systems, we usually get a sense of whether any critical issues need to be addressed right away. These might include things like:

  • Security vulnerabilities
  • Infrastructural weakness
  • Undefined critical processes
  • System errors
  • Bugs affecting the client’s customer base
  • Out-of-date software

We always address these critical issues first so that, from there, we’re able to proceed on solid ground. 

For example, when we began working with one of our clients, they had no automatic deployment process. Before making progress on their longer-term goals, we set up a process for deployment that was automated, repeatable, and error-free. To do so, we added automated tests and system checks, a staging server, and made sure everything in their version control system got deployed to the live server. 

Upgrade to the latest version of TYPO3

At b13, many of our team members also contribute to TYPO3 Core and version updates. We’re deeply invested in improving the software and adapting it to our clients’ most pressing needs. Because of our familiarity with TYPO3, we usually recommend that our clients upgrade to the latest version of the software once mission-critical issues are resolved. This allows us to begin from the most up-to-date, modern software and take full advantage of the latest TYPO3 version’s improvements. (There are always exceptions to the rule—we analyze each organization’s upgrade needs independently.)

We work in TYPO3, but this advice applies to any piece of technology. Sometimes agencies suggest an older version because their team members are more familiar with it, but an older version will require an upgrade much sooner and will interrupt future project work.

Clean up and refactor

If we could, we’d start every project from scratch so as to execute our vision perfectly. But when we work with enterprises, that’s rarely an option. Many of our clients are multibrand, multilingual organizations and come to us having worked with various agencies, technologies, and internal web developers. It’s not unusual for us to work on a project with something like seven websites, 17 languages, 40,000 pages—which is too much content to consider relaunching at once. 

We often complete the ‘cleanup and refactor’ step in conjunction with software version updates. In this stage, we remove unused code, libraries, and third-party extensions and update outdated tools. In most cases, we clean up, upgrade, then clean up some more. Afterward, we begin refactoring elements that are still in use but require optimization. Reducing the amount of CSS, HTML, and errors on a website is low-hanging fruit that we like to tackle early on.

Create new features and functionality

We save the best for last: only once we’ve made sure that enterprise websites are fully operative, upgraded, and cleaned up do we begin to create new functionality and features. 

At b13, we’re proud that so many enterprises entrust us with their web projects. Often organizations come to us after investing a lot of time and money in a relaunch, only to find half their improvements broken in the next version upgrade. At b13 we don't shy away from the foundational work that sets our clients up for the future. We promise our clients who need a brand new website that this is the only relaunch they will get in the next ten years. 

Interested in seeing the rigor we bring to your enterprise web project?

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