When we contemplate starting a project or initiative, transparency and efficiency drive our decision making. If developing or adopting a new process or technology helps us move faster and deliver more for our clients, we prioritize those projects.
We’re serious about our guiding principles at Hennessey Digital. Honesty and transparency underlie everything we do, and our Engineering team takes this to heart.
With this in mind, the Engineering team at Hennessey Digital has multiple projects happening concurrently. Here are examples of transparency and efficiency-driven projects we currently have going in our department and why they’re important, for us and for our clients.
Prioritizing client requests
As Engineering Team Lead of Hennessey Digital’s Client Success squad, I’m in charge of delegating tasks and client requests that come in. These tasks can be anything from creating a new page on a client’s website for an upcoming event to integrating form submissions to a new system behind the scenes.
When client requests come to our email support inbox, we use Zendesk and Asana to assign tasks to our team members according to the skill and urgency required to complete them.
Our dedicated support inbox is a big advantage for our clients. With a direct line of communication to our Engineering support team, clients can make quick changes to their sites. For example, for a client in the legal industry, if an attorney leaves the firm and needs to be removed from the website, or if there were developments to an important case that needed to be shown on the website, my team and I handle these urgent requests.
Recently, the Client Success branch of our Engineering team changed CRM platforms. The previous solution we were using fulfilled the basic features, but it didn’t allow for more complex needs we have.
We wanted a clear birds-eye view into our team’s entire scope of work that didn’t automatically silo work into separate areas, and we needed a scalable solution to handle a high volume as we continue to grow. Our new CRM does a much better job providing a broad view of our clients daily needs and requests.
Additionally, the new CRM we use has integration capabilities with our project management software that our previous CRM didn’t. Significantly, it allows us to assign and relate tasks with more complexity beyond the restrictive “one request, one task” 1:1 relationship our old CRM used. Sometimes a single request is best broken down into multiple components of work or even multiple projects, and our new CRM allows for this.
Our CRM also integrates with Slack, our internal messaging platform. When a client submits a request, it automatically creates a message to the Engineering team. These alerts add transparency and efficiency to this process with full visibility into each client request.
Making HD Platform enhancements
Speaking of integrations, our proprietary HD Platform is now integrated with Google Data Studio, giving more transparency and customization to our clients.
We’ve also integrated Hennessey Digital’s chat solution, HD Live Chat, into the HD Platform as well. Clients who use HD Live Chat on their websites can see chat transcripts and lead information in the HD Platform. This way, clients can attribute leads coming from all sources—phone calls, lead forms, chats, and paid media campaigns—in one place, and in real time.
Our Systems team is also working on integrating our new CRM with the HD Platform so clients can make requests directly from there. This creates efficiencies for both us and the client, with the HD Platform acting as the single point of contact for our clients’ websites.
Using version control for code
We use version control for all of our code. In the world of web development, it’s important to use a cloud-based code repository (Github and Bitbucket are common ones) to provide a record of all changes made, because if anything needs to be changed back, you’re not working blind or starting from scratch.
If your Engineering team is working directly with files on a server, you cannot see which changes have been made to code. This creates issues with accountability as there’s no way of knowing who made a change if something breaks.
With version control, we can see who made each change to the code and when it was made. It also allows teams to work together to make changes to websites in collaborative, responsible ways that merge changes together without causing errors.
Accountability and transparency matter, and this philosophy of version control with code also extends to our website deployment process with Local HD, a localhost tool we developed in-house that prevents errors and rework when making updates to clients’ live sites.
Building proprietary solutions
Many of the tools and processes we create are as a result of mistakes we’ve made. Our founder and CEO Jason Hennessey reminds us to always “fail forward” and incorporate our learnings into new digital marketing technology that turns past mistakes into opportunities.
Our team has built tools such as HD Robot, which automatically crawls clients’ websites to detect and fix broken links, make batch updates on multiple pages at the same time, and validates rules and SEO best practices before allowing a page to be published.
HD Robot also has a security feature that allows us to control logins to our clients’ websites without sharing passwords. Data security and integrity is our top priority, and everything else flows from there.
We’ve also created a plug-in that auto-generates video schema for YouTube videos to include on pages. Basically, if there’s a tool we use (proprietary or from a third party) and can find ways to make it more efficient, we will improve it or build our own version of it.
The future of engineering at Hennessey Digital
In addition to transparency and efficiency, innovation also drives our decision making, particularly in the Engineering team. We stay nimble and constantly look for ways to improve on our work.
We’re not afraid to own our mistakes, admit when we’re wrong, and build solutions when issues arise. Our Chief Technology Officer Blin Kazazi and I have worked together for years (prior to Hennessey Digital, even!) and we have the right leadership and a talented global team of developers that can tackle any challenge.
What’s to come in engineering at Hennessey Digital? Stay tuned, because our Vivid Vision has big things lined up for our team—and for our clients.