The MDedge web portal is now live with 30+ publications, journals, news sites, and society pages. This has allowed the editorial groups at Frontline Medical Communications to leverage a much more robust content management system, which incorporates new feature requests from stakeholders at varying levels. By incorporating a blend of both templated (restricted) components, and flexible functionality in specific areas, the company is equipped to maintain a long term branding, advertising, SEO, and content integrity strategy, enabling them to accomplish short- and long-term traffic, conversion, and sales objectives.
MDedge was built in Drupal 7. The project had many unique requirements such as newsletter management, multiple custom API integrations (DFP, OneCount, Proclivity, Distill), two extremely complex web page data migrations, multiple custom redirect applications, a custom quiz module, and a training and feedback cycle that served thirty unique constituencies.
Phased Roll Out
All told, the project took about one year to get launched. Some of the key milestones included a 3-phase launch roll out, with each phase separated by about a month. We initially launched one publication, followed by a group of eleven more, followed by a group of around 28. This allowed us to test the waters and learn as we scaled up.
Bravery and Dedication
Getting stakeholder feedback from so many unique groups was extremely challenging. At times, the simple task of understanding it and documenting could be hard enough, let alone prioritizing it. One way we addressed this is by clawing our way to acceptability, and then pulling the trigger on an initial launch. In doing so, we were able to effectively spotlight the key issues affecting site success, because those working within a launched site could immediately feel the strain if certain features were deficient. This required some bravery and dedication by both the client and us, but its payoff has proven to be immeasurable, as each subsequent release has been marked by increasingly stable and successful launches.
Making It Work
Make it work, then make it better. Resources are finite, and scoping extremely large projects is like spearfishing at night. Focus on daily prioritization, base requirements, and low hanging fruit. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new meeting cadences and project management strategies mid-flight. Don’t avoid difficult conversations, have them before they become difficult. Email is increasingly become a deficient tool for large projects. Commit yourself to your project management system for requirements, and Slack for reminders.
The future for the MDedge.com portal is bright, and we greatly appreciate the partnership we have with our friends at Frontline Medical Communications!
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