I’m not going to name the client as I don’t know how they would feel with me posting about their business (especially considering this was about adding security).
At work, we just finished a major project that took several months. Normally, when I work with a client, we focus on 1 blog with a small number of attorneys that can get knocked out in a few weeks. Usually, it’s just me, our designer, and maybe someone from Support to launch the blog that gets involved.
This projects involved 800+ attorneys, everyone on LexBlog’s support, our CTO, myself (of course), and coordination with the client’s IT team. Phone calls, a special slack channel, dozens of emails, and a Support ticketing system all contributed towards the communication channels. All of this to move 20 blogs + 1 Portal from one of LexBlog’s installs to a Premier install dedicated to just this one law firm.
Honestly, I had no idea back in November that we were going to be spending this much time, this much effort, on one project. When I was sent the contract and told “go”, I was under the impression that the migration from one install to the Premier install was “routine”. Sure enough it was, but the process I had envisioned wasn’t quite what we planned out.
In December, we started with an initial meeting about expectations. I have never Project Managed something like this before and tried getting a sense of the work from our Support team. I researched out the best I could, but found managing the technical work was out of my abilities. Kira, one of our Support specialist stepped up to manage the technical side.
With me on comms and her on tech, I could focus on working with the client and would only need to check in with our Support team’s progress for initial setup. They knocked out most of the work by Xmas with the hope of re-launching all the blogs in January.
We figured, we could pump them out and move on to the numerous other projects waiting to be completed. That’s when the first of several unknown-unknowns revealed.
The whole point of moving to premier was to increase security. Typically, this means two-factor authentication. You login normally, but you need a phone app with a code. Considering the firm already has one app with 2-factor, asking 800+ attorneys to download and use a second app was asking too much.
Just think of the number of phone calls we would get asking how to work the 2-factor app…yikes.
The client and I had some serious back and forth about what an internal communication plan would look like. I wrote several how-to’s to help, but they all seemed to be too much for that many people.
We had to create a whole new security measure to accommodate. I brought in our CTO Scott, who worked with their IT team personally to come up with an easy solution. This meant that our timeline was blasted to pieces. With a few weeks of back-n’-forth and a few weeks of development, we had created a strong new security offering.
By February, we were ready for a test case.
Once we started rolling out all the blogs (4 per week), there were several issues in processing that came through. First, the site going down for 20 min-1hour+ during the middle of the day was a no go. Second, It was frustrating, but having so many eyes on everything meant that a missed detail was like a pimple on the tip of your nose. Third, we had an equally large project that needed launch slots as well.
The simple-not-so-simple solution to all 3 issues was increasing communication. For the downtime, we built into the launch schedule a phone call at 5pm ET (2pm PT). This meant that the site would be down for less time during majority of user’s business hours.
Internally, we created a Slack Channel dedicated to communication on this one project. We kept using our support system for specific issues. Luckily, beyond some cosmetic items, there wasn’t much in the way until we needed to migrate the portal.
As Kira continued to lead the charge internally with the technical setup, the portal loomed as a difficult new hurdle waiting to be jumped. All that worry was wasted. When the time came, the many eyes became a blessing. The portal was launched with limited hitch.
For the other client needing launch spots, they were gracious enough to reel their launches back to 3 per week. That project is still going for over 2 months of relaunches, but they are much easier by comparison.
This project was a coordinated effort of nearly 20 people working at various times for one goal. With the added pressure of hundreds of hidden stakeholders watching, we were able to get through unscathed. All in all I’m proud of our team. I’m grateful for the work Scott, Kira, Russell, Jovaughn, Ethan, and Angelo put into making this migration a success.
I know I’ve learned quite a bit about Project Managing something this big and complex. It was great to lead the charge. It was even better to be able to ask questions without getting balk back.
This will be definitely one of those experiences that I can add to my own everyday rhetoric repertoire.
Thank you for reading.