Weeknotes 73–77: Party Time

We’ve reached a key milestone on a big project, finished our first full calendar-year in business, and taken families to a country retreat for a weekend of celebration…

In recent weeks we’ve worked intensively towards a big milestone for a client project. This had been a rescue project, so involved a lot of delicate work to repair and test a complex system.

We’d normally avoid storing up big deployments, favouring small batches deployed regularly, but the nature of the work meant it had to be one big batch. The changelog ran to hundreds of items. That, of course, made us nervous (and stressed!) so there was a lot of work done to thoroughly test the changes using automated tools as well as manual testing, and then run test deployments.

On the day though, everything went smoothly, and the system is now running very smoothly. With this release we also put in place a proper deployment approach, so we’ve since had the relief of being able to confidently deploy small increments on a regular basis, in an automated way through a complete testing workflow. It’s a great place to get to after months of work — we’re happy, and the client is happy. In the new year, after a well-earned rest, we start a new phase of the project.

Preparing for GDPR

We’ve been working on a lot of research and preparation of materials and training to help our clients get ready for GDPR.

Recently we collaborated with a number of the other leading open source agencies in the UK to develop a detailed white paper containing the key information that Digital leaders need to know.

I attended a seminar hosted by one of our partner agencies, Pragmatic, for their clients. There were some great speakers, including the data protection officer for Ebay’s UK business who gave a very practical run through what he’d been doing to prepare.

We’re advising and supporting our own clients with their preparation too, and in the new year will also start to offer workshops and consulting more widely.

Of course we’ve also been working on our own plans for GDPR compliance too. In general we find it fits very well with our approach and is simply just good ethical and respectful practice, but with a bit of paperwork on-top.

The Convivio Christmas Weekender

Twice a year we like to get together with families to celebrate the season, celebrate our progress, and thank those around us for their support.

This year, for our Christmas party, we hired a large barn conversion in the Shropshire countryside. It had an indoor pool for the kids to play in, and was in a nice area for a country walks. In between, we gathered around the wood burner and enjoyed good food, drink, conversation and card/board games (the kids are a bit young for cards against humanity, so we went with Obama-Llama).

On Friday night Lewis welcomed us all with a burrito bar (years back he worked as a chef in a Mexican restaurant).

On Saturday lunchtime I served chilli and various salads (including a charred sprout and nut salad that went down a treat). In the evening we brought in a chef who normally does hog roasts, and got him to do spit roast turkeys, out in the back yard. Finally, on Sunday morning Joe’s wife Sarah kindly cooked us all a big brunch.

It was great to all celebrate together after a year of such hard work, and celebrate very much in the Convivio style — lots of feasts and festivity with family and friends.

Wrapping up 2017

Starting a new business is always hard work. This has been an exhausting year for everyone. But it feels so good at the end of it to have a business that is working AND that we are proud of. Considering where we all came from that in itself is a huge milestone.

We wrapped up client work a week before the Christmas break and focused on being able to clear our desks and minds, and also a few pet projects. In one, on our last day at work, Lewis taught Joe and me how to build our own Twitter bots in Ruby, hosted on Heroku. They have ingested 3000 of our real tweets, processed them, and now dish up random tweets from mashups of words and phrases we’ve tweeted in the past. They are now alive at @steveparksbot and @joesbot . Joe’s bot is being particularly entertaining…

Now though, we’ve earned a really good holiday. We’re closing the Convivio office for two weeks to relax, and we’ll be back in January.

Until then, to all our clients, friends and anyone who has been following our adventures — Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

Convivio is a digital agency that brings people together to deliver successful digital services.

Find out more at www.weareconvivio.com

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