One of Comic Relief’s strategic vision is to make the organisation fully Digital and creating a permanent team to make that happen. Suffice to say there has been a lot of focus on the Technology department, and 2015 saw a lot of hiring activity in our department. Here’s a summary of how the teams have shaped up so far:

We hired:

  • A new WebOps team
  • Two developers for our Fundraising platform
  • A Technical Lead for our Drupal team
  • Stronger Drupal team and a new Senior front end developer
  • A permanent QA team lead
  • Two highly talented Scrum masters

I couldn’t be more proud of what we have achieved already:

  • We have fully adopted Agile (Scrum) in the Technology team and in most other departments as well.
  • The QA team shifted focus to more automation and reduction in cycle time.
  • WebOps team moved the hosting of our Fundraising platform and other services internally to reduce costs – it was outsourced before to a hosting company. This is going to be our first campaign where we are fully hosting our external digital properties.
  • They also created the beta version of our brand new provisioning & infrastructure tools using Ansible, Consul and Terraform (more on that later)
  • The Dev teams have already delivered most of the functionality required for the campaign ahead of time, which is a marked improvement to our previous campaign.
  • An award winning Interactive Site
  • Adopted Slack for internal communications (Thanks to awesome @slackhq for providing us with a free tier).
  • Hosted a Continuous Delivery meetup.

.. and many more – I’m sure to have missed a few.

This year, we have a lot on our to-do list already. In short:

  • We’ve already laid a plan for building a new platform for our campaign websites so as to reduce build time each year. It is also an opportunity to revisit our products and designs.
  • Technology-wise, we will be prototyping the new platform in Drupal 8 (more on this in subsequent blog posts)
  • Accessibility. We want to embed accessibility in the dna for all our websites.
  • Give back more to the community for all our projects, which are all open source.
  • Improve our adoption of Symphony and PHP best practices.
  • Improve our payments layer and make it a stand alone service so that our other internal payment journeys could also use it as standard.
  • Creation of an API to separate the presentation layer and application layer of our Fundraising platform.
  • Delving more into microservices this year.
  • Create standardised developer environments in the cloud.
  • Speed up our CI pipeline and use more hosted services (PaaS) so that we can concentrate on improving our mission critical solutions.
  • Adoption of Behaviour Driven Development.
  • Adoption of GitHub for our repositories. This has already started and is improving our workflow tremendously. When connected to Travis, it gave us an instant CI win.
  • Continue improving our provisioning tools and monitoring their performance this year

We will be detailing more about our approaches in subsequent blog posts. We can’t be more excited to take 2016 on. It’s going to be busy for us! Meanwhile, if you would like to join our ever growing team, head over to our jobs portal to see the current vacancies.

Written by Girish Nair

Head of Engineering at Comic Relief. I lead a team of talented engineers who take pride in creating quality software of value.

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