Lean Agile @ Forbes

Forbes acquired our start-up’s platform and management team and we had Executive advocates from the outset. Good SDLC practices and feature abstractions we built into True/Slant allowed us to rapidly spin up “white label” editorial and marketing functions and workflows. Quick releases targeted narrowly to teams and edit desks where colleagues took time to actively engage in product development and feed back with their live and in-market experience created the virtuous cycle of collaboration.

The Tech Stack included
the T/S platform with
Mongo, ActiveMQ, Multe, SOLR,
in-house scripts, batches,
and processes with varying

APIs and other interfaces
plus multiple in-house and “enterprise” 3rd-party tech we were working to sunset.

Within the first month, we had colleagues in the newsroom and a handful of writers from outside Forbes’ staff publishing daily. By month three, 100% of new article creation and publishing through the new platform. By month four, the new platform was also publicly serving dynamic articles and conversations around them responsible for tens of millions of new audience.

We defined Value and the Value Stream by creating opportunities for colleagues to actively participate in product development and prioritization while refining requests to get them Ready for Development. We created Flow by working closely with colleagues who were willing and able to collaborate on those priorities. Quick releases demonstrating colleagues were being heard and showed results created Pull, deepen these collaborations, and give incentive to others to make more time to engage actively. Continuity and follow-through — releasing V.2 and .3 weeks after V.10 — created more Pull, built trust in capabilities and the process as we all learn what works in real-market conditions we Continuous Quality Improvement / Seek Perfection without letting it getting in the way of The Good.

Releasing new publishing tools and workflows bought us early adopters from the newsroom. Our development approach and results bought us credibility with the wider engineering teams. Ops capabilities we brought with us allowed us to work within what was provisioned to us, provision and deploy in parallel with existing infrastructure and process, and let us bring significantly more structure and methodology around server configuration management and deployments to the organization.

In parallel with rapid iterations of the new creator community platform, we integrated with Forbes Engineering existing APIs and other interfaces, architected a new system for text, video, and image content production and management across Forbes brands and properties.

By Steve McNally

I build products, teams and business lines that blend publishing, marketing and advertising technologies for global brands and startups.