As part of their $300m digital transformation program, AGL needed a complete website rebuild to reflect their rebrand and customer experience improvements. As AGL’s UX, design and build partner for the delivery of key components, we were tasked with developing and delivering a best practice-high-performance Sitecore solution that called for a suite of integrations with little knowledge of the legacy systems, and all in just three months. AGL already had a Sitecore implementation in place (non-componentised pages), so our initial task was to deconstruct, redesign and rebuild the existing systems, all with the rebrand still in development and likely to change. Effectively, we were tasked with painting the plane while it was flying through the air!
We approached the project with a truly agile methodology, embedding our user experience design, visual design, front end development, Sitecore development, content and QA with a central project management function into AGL’s Docklands office. Our 3 SCRUM teams (each delivering a stream) were part of the wider AGL brand rollout team called the Pirate train. Our teams, named ‘Empress’: Sitecore, ‘Kraken’: front end design, and ‘Adventure’: content authoring. As we were joining AGL’s existing program of work, we conformed to the SCRUM processes already in place, including fortnightly sprints, the multi-agency and multi-team SCRUM ceremonies, and daily stand ups with the AGL product owners responsible for the delivery as a whole.
Before the ‘Empress’ Sitecore team could start architecting the existing pages as helix components, foundation work was needed to ensure we would build into a high-performing Sitecore installation. A reset of sorts was required to clean up the environment, and to get the existing Sitecore framework and installation upgraded. This allowed us to deliver the performance enhancements we deemed necessary. A lack of technical documentation for the legacy integrations provided a further complication, however, after investigating the issue, the agile methodology managed this and similar concerns easily.
‘Kraken’, our front end SCRUM team, was comprised of user experience design, visual design and front end development personnel. Our experience in Atomic design—which is the ability to think about user interfaces both as a cohesive whole and a collection of parts—combined with the time sensitive nature of the AGL rebrand still in development, informed our component driven approach. An audit of the existing website was initially conducted to identify the list of components to be newly created, redesigned or discarded, before addressing key user experience design pieces. These included navigations, header banners and CTA’s with standard principles. These components raised the bar for AGL and, most importantly, greatly improved the user experience. User testing was performed each week, with enhancements prioritised in true agile methodology.
As the deadline didn’t allow for the lengthy and necessary legal approvals of any new content, SCRUM team ‘Adventure’ controlled content management, migration and authoring only.
Our ability to deliver a high-performance, best in class website experience for AGL in just three months can be attributed to using component driven design across all workstreams in a true agile methodology. Components were designed and built just once then made globally available to cluster together in modules to build templates and pages. As late and major changes to the brand were made—such as the change of the AGL blue— a simple code change at component level could cascade out across the entire site. Furthermore, implementing the modular Sitecore helix architecture conventions for AGL, meant our developers could get to speed very quickly and work in an aligned way to deliver more in less time.
To further protect the deadline and mitigate risk of anything slowing us down, working in a true agile methodology allowed us to avoid any great or surprising reveals, instead keeping AGL as close to our daily decision making as possible.
Phase 2 is now underway, as team ‘Empress’ releases incremental continuous improvements fortnightly, whilst still embedded at AGL.