Eating our own dog food for the new-look

There’s a popular phrase in the software industry – “eating your own dog food” – that aptly describes what Computer Weekly has been through over the past six months.

Today, we launched our new-look website, the result of a major six-month IT migration project, to move off all our old content management systems and publishing platforms, to totally different systems at our new owner. This followed our acquisition by US tech publisher Techtarget in April.

Since then, we have written a lot of stories about the benefits of agile development, particularly as it applies to government. We’ve written extensively about the benefits of using cloud-based services. And we’ve published a series of articles about why IT projects go wrong and the importance of good project management.

So we you hope you will forgive us a little smug pride, when we say that our new website was created using agile development methodologies, makes extensive use of cloud technologies, and came in exactly on time. Well, three hours late, to be precise.

It’s been a fascinating experience to be on the user side of such a project, and we’ve learned a lot. Agile is a bit like watching Rolf Harris paint – can you see what it is yet? – building up piece by piece, in iterative fashion, until finally everything comes together. We now know, from personal experience, that agile works.

Some of the functionality on our site would have cost huge amounts for us to write from scratch – but when there are low-cost, or often free cloud services to provide at least 80% of what we need, that’s what we did. And it worked.

But if there’s one lesson we learned above all else – and it’s a lesson that, to be honest, we knew anyway – it’s the importance of great IT professionals on the project, with the right skills, and a mutually productive relationship with “the business”.

Good luck to all our readers going through such experiences every day at work. We’ve always tried to understand your needs and provide great content to meet those needs. Now we understand even more.

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