A Distributed Team is Awesome: Craft CMS Integration with iMatrix Software
As I write this it's 5:41 am Thursday morning. On Tuesday morning of this week I was contacted by a new client from here in California. They are headed to Las Vegas this weekend to launch a major new web initiative built on Craft CMS. Their new website looks awesome. It's a huge improvement over their current site. And since they moved from WordPress to Craft CMS, I know they will hit a new and higher level of web reliability.
The problem was, and this is why they contacted Solspace, they were missing a mission critical integration with their e-commerce fulfillment system, iMatrix Software. My client is a direct sales organization. So there are thousands of affiliates making connections and building up sales with many more thousands of customers. The connection they have to iMatrix allows customers to see affiliate information on the Craft CMS side of the house although that data is stored on the iMatrix side.
Ok so they're launching with a big reveal at a convention in Las Vegas this Saturday. They realized they needed the iMatrix to Craft integration this past Monday. They had 5 days to find a developer who could crank out the solution pronto-quicko. To my great relief, blog posts like this one about how Solspace has a Craft CMS and ExpressionEngine API integration specialization have helped people find us via Google search. So we get in touch on Tuesday and we have like a day or two to deliver the solution so that they can test and prepare for launch before jumping on a plane.
Sometimes we lose out on client opportunities because the Solspace team is distributed. Some people find it reassuring to know that their agency has an office in a city somewhere and everyone who works at that agency shows up to that office at 9:00 am to work. Over the 20 years Solspace has been in business I have never found that formula to be as effective is the formula where a team works from all around the world, on all sorts of different time zones, from all sorts of different power grids and internet connections, etc. The risk is spread out so nicely and there are so many clever things you can do with that distributed load.
So we have about 48 hours or so to become familiar with a new API, connect to a new set of servers, get to know a new Craft CMS install, write a proof of concept and then write a killer API integration plugin for Craft. Since I like sleep and I know that good code only emerges from good sleep, I called in my good friend and colleague Nicolas Bottari. Nicolas lives in Japan with his family. When he's awake, working and being productive, I am asleep making good nite nites. Nicolas has been part of the Solspace team for many years. You may also know him as Zenbu Studio. Nicolas is the pinnacle of reliability. He's a trusted friend.
By working as a tag team I knew Nicolas and I could work pretty much around the clock on this Craft CMS integration project. With a little organization and a lot of embedded understanding and rapport, Nicolas and I could for sure bang this job out. So we did. We divided up the work into chunks that were about the size of a workday. We kind of multiplied our capacity by a factor of 4 just by being (1) distributed and (2) knowing each other so well.
So here we are Thursday morning. I just released the completed plugin to the client for testing. They'll be able to validate and tweak and be ready with a stable and complete site well before their big day Saturday. And all the while, elsewhere in the world, in Europe in fact, another Solspace developer is launching a major new website for a long-time client. This was also done while I was asleep. My developer will launch and go get some rest and the US part of the Solspace team will have his back.
A distributed team is awesome!