How Do We Work

EC Logo

Our unique selling point is our high level of focus on the technical aspects of building, updating and fixing a web site.

In a Nutshell

There's a lot to read here, so we've summarized this page into a handy TLDR section to give you a brief overview.

  • Services we offer: Magento 1 and 2 projects, migrations, support, bespoke development to name a few.

  • Enquiries: Either via phone or email, your initial enquiry will be achknowledged and first addressed by our admin team and passed on to a dev for a more detailed discussion.

  • Time estimates: Tasks will be given estimates on how long it will take to complete them.

  • Project types: Hourly for smaller projects with a 2 hour minimum. Daily for larger projects at a 2 day (6 hours per day) minimum.

  • Quoting: We'll send you a finalized quote before creating a Work Order.

  • Working Agreements: Lays out our Ts&Cs. This will be sent over before work commences. If you're happy with it, we ask you to sign and return it.

  • Work Order: Outlines the work involved, the cost and allows our developers to clock against the time agreed upon.

  • Pre-work admin related set up: Our admin team will set up the features and tools you'd like in place, such as Slack and Jira.

  • When the work starts: We'll inform you when we've got a booking in place and when the developer is starting the work.

  • We don't work on live!: We'll take a copy of your site and work on it on a staging server we create to avoid problems when developing straight to live.

  • Communication during work: We encourage you to keep in touch with us whilst we work so that you're in the loop. Likewise, the developer may reach out to you in regards to updates and additional information.

    • This is very easy to keep on top of with the addition of Slack!
  • Meetings and catch-ups: Always happy to book a conference call in our meeting room to discuss the ongoing and any pending projects.

  • Testing and reviewing before deployment: We'll "Smoke Test" and in some cases run Behat tests to make sure nothing will go wrong after deployment.

    • We also ask that you have a check to see if everything is to your liking by reviewing the staging copy.
  • Deployment: With your authorization if you're happy with the staging site, we'll deploy the changes to live.

    • Where possible, we try to avoid deploying before the weekend as the office will be closed.

A Bit About Us

We're purely a development team, focused entirely on PHP and E-Commerce, that's been running since 2007. We're not huge but we're big enough to offer an Enterprise level of support whilst still keeping things personal.

We take a pride in our level of comms with a blend of instant messaging using Slack, Jira for issue and project management and Bitbucket for code hosting (along with our internal infrastructure), as well as still making use of emails.

We also have a meeting room set up for Skype video conferencing and for ongoing clients we tend to touch base in there on a regular basis - perhaps once a week on average. Then of course we have the phone, though it only lends itself to one on one conversations.

The entire team works from our office, on-site in Shipley. We have a leased line to give us decent synchronous speed internet access and a nice quiet working environment. Our team is also equipped with powerful desktop PC's with three monitors apiece and running the Fedora Linux operating system.

What Services Do We Offer?

In regards to our services, we mainly focus on PHP web development for e-Commerce.
Whilst this is our core, we also offer the following services that can support and enhance your site.

  • Bespoke Development
  • Bug Fixing
  • Upgrades and Patches
  • Extension Installation
  • Performance Tuning
  • Server Maintenance and SSL Certificates
  • Implementation of New Features
  • Magento 1 to Magento 2 migrations.

For more information, please see the following section of our website.

From Enquiry, To Project, To Delivering On Your Work.

To give you a solid idea of how we work, from first reaching out to us about the work you have in mind, all the way through to delivering on your request, we've laid out the process down below so you know what to expect when bringing us on board.

Enquiry

The stage where we discuss your requirements. We tend to receive the majority of our enquiries through email, but the phone is always on stand-by should you want to have a chat about what you're looking for.

When reaching out via email, one of the members of our admin team will confirm that we've received your message, inform you about our going rates and then pass it on to one of our developers so they can get back to you with some advice, suggestions and answers to any questions you have.

The same goes for phone call enquiries. A member of the admin team will take as much informaion as they can, send you an email containing a summary of what we just spoke about, and then pass the information over to a developer.

As the discussion continues, we'll provide ballparks and estimates for the work you've got in mind based off of the time it would take.

Project Types

During the discussion, we offer two project types to choose from to structure your requirements.

Hourly

  • Smaller projects are estimated and billed on an hourly basis

  • Minimum project size is 2 hours

  • We accurately measure time spent in hours to two decimal places

  • Billing is on a pro rata basis for time spent up to the authorised time limit

  • You will be given an initial estimate of the time required for the project which is the authorised time limit.

  • If more time is required we will ask you to authorise an increase in the time limit

  • If you have time remaining on your contract which isn't needed you won't be billed for this time

Daily

  • Minimum daily project size is 2 days (12 hours)

  • Before commencement, we will agree on the development stages and will then invoice for each stage as it is completed.

  • This type of contract allows flexibility to refine specifications as the project progresses and is the most common client agreement for larger development projects.

Quoting

Upon deciding on a project type to accommodate the tasks you'd like completing, and agreeing on the estimates, we'll send you over a finalized quote to review and accept or request changes as you see fit.

When you're ready to continue, we'll start putting together a Working Agreement and a Work Order to reflect the quote you were given.

Paperwork

Working Agreements

Before we start creating and sending out the Work Order/s, we'll send a Working Agreement over to you to review and sign if you're happy to proceed. This simply explains ours Ts&Cs with working with us.

Work Orders

Work is booked in "Work Orders" which defines a set of authorised time to be spent. This can be specifically defined for set tasks, such as the ones outline in the initial enquiry. These Work Orders ad-hear to the project type you choose.
Alternatively, we can allocate a "bucket of time" to a Work Order which you can call upon to spend on specific issues as requirements arise. Clients often start off with the former and then we naturally drift towards the latter.

We don't do retainers, we only bill for time spent.

Once we've finalized the paper work and established that we'll be working together, our admin team will begin setting up the tools and features we have in place to help your project run as smoothly as possible.

We offer the following to every client and we're more than happy to set these up for you!

For more information on these, feel free to check out the links in each description.

Jira

Jira

Jira is an issue and project tracking software that we use with clients.

We use it to keep track of the workload we have for you, as well as a place to discuss work and share details required for the tasks. The tasks relating to your work are saved as "Issues" and can be kept track of with the use of a Kanban board to see which "Issues" are in the "Backlog" pending action, which ones have been "Selected for Development", which are "In Progress" and which are "Done" pending review.

Kanban Board Example

  • Please see the "Testing" and "Deployment" sections for more information on what happens when we've completed a task or set of tasks.

We'll also create accounts for the developers who are working on your project, the admin team, and we'll send out an invitation to yourself so you can make your own account as well.

If Jira is something you'd like to go ahead with, please click here to see how to purchase and locate a licence.

Slack

Slack

  • For communication, we use a chat application called Slack which allows faster and more efficient communication between you and the developer

  • We create a guest channel for the client and invite them to it so we can take advantage of instant messaging

  • If you do decide to go ahead with Jira, we can enable Jira ticket updates to show up in your channel so you can see them in real time once they are created and updated.

  • This is free to download and use from the following link.

  • Click here for more information on how we use Slack and the features it includes!

Google Drive

Google Drive

We also make use of our Google Drive, where we create client specific folders and share them yourself in order to easily share files and document such as performance reports and meeting notes.
Jira related documents are also shared this way should you decide to go ahead with it. These are shared with you via your email address.

Starting Dev Work

Whilst we're going through the admin related set-up for your project, we'll also be looking at placing a booking for your work amongst the workflow of our developers. Please keep in mind that this ad-hears to our current lead time.

Informing you that the work is commencing.

We'll inform you about when your work will start, and contact you on the day that the work commences so that you're in the know.
We'll do this via Slack if you've agreed to it, or we'll drop you an email.

We don't work on your live site!

As you may imagine, it's not recommended to work on a site whilst it's up live! If there are any knock-on effects to the site whilst we're working on it, then that could have an imapct on your business whilst this in going on. On the other hand, we don't want to take your site down during this time. No site results in no business after all!

To combat this, we'll instead take a copy of your live site and host it on a "Staging" site that we set up ourselves.
We'll implement the work on this copy, ask you to review it, and then deploy the changes on to your live site upon your approval.

Communication with us whilst the work is underway

We strongly respect how valuable communication can be whilst work is in progress, and we encourage you to reach out and stay in touch should there be anything you'd like to raise whilst we're progressing through your project.

Likewise, there may be times where we need to reach out to yourselves regarding the work. Of course, we can always send you an email or drop you a line over the phone, but a more instant and efficient way to address these would be through Slack if you've got this in place with us. Everyone in the office has the program open throughout the day, so they're on hand when you need them!

Meetings and Catch Ups

If at any point you'd like more of a chat with us other than over written comms or a phone call, we have a meeting room at hand so we can hold a conference call over Skype.

These are held by the developer who is working on your site and can be arranged and through our admin team who will work with you to book a suitable slot during the day.

If you don't have a Skype account, then not to worry! We're always able to dial through to phone on Skype if required.

Testing and Reviewing Before Deployment

As mentioned, we don't work on your live site, so the testing that needs to be done before deployment will be done on your staging site. We don't tend to do any manual testing beyond "smoke testing"; making sure the essentials work and nothing is going to catch fire.

We do encourage the development of a suite of automated acceptance tests using something called Behat - it's not a magic bullet and can't guarantee that no issues will be present, but it does do a great job of catching general and important issues quickly and efficiently.

We also encourage you to take a look at the changes we've made to the site to review and confirm that you're happy with them.
Once we have yor authorization on this, we'll deploy the changes to live.

Deployment

As mentioned, when the work is done and tested with your approval, we'll deploy the changes to the live site.
There are a few things we like to keep in mind when approaching deployments.

Due to the office being closed over the weekend, we try to avoid deploying things on a Friday. If something were to go wrong following the deployment, then we wouldn't be able to address the problem until the following Monday.

We'll inform you when a deployment is taking place so that you're aware. Again, Slack is brilliant for this as we can stay in touch throughout the deployment process.