Transitioning a Large Development Team to Kentico MVC – An Interview with MVP Ilesh Mistry
Kentico partners come in all shapes and sizes. Some are small, 5-10 people operations, while others are enormous titans of industry with employee counts into the hundreds. While these companies may operate and handle their projects differently, one thing remains: they all must come up with a plan to move to MVC. As one of our largest partners, MMT Digital has crafted a unique process to get their team up to date. And because our MVPs are such awesome folks, Ilesh Mistry recently told me all about their MVC plans.
MMT is a pretty big company, by Kentico partner standards. At 165 employees, they are one of the largest development shops in the community, with developers, designers, PMs, and probably a robot or two on staff to help them produce some awesome sites. That means they have a lot of different skillsets in their organizations, and probably function a very differently than smaller shops.
Much like you and everyone else, MMT has had to come up with a plan to move to MVC with Kentico. They have developers than need to transition their skills, project timelines to adjust for the learning curve, and a whole bunch of designers jumping with joy at their newfound freedom on the frontend. To get a better idea of how they are going about it, I spoke recently with Ilesh Mistry, MMT’s Kentico MVP and resident nice guy.
Here’s a few key points from our talk:
How do MVC developer skills translate to Kentico MVC?
Making our developers have an understanding of the MVC framework is key. Specifically, we have them focus on routing, separation of concerns, and the overall MVC model. This is really important because they need to understand how the framework works in order to build with it.
Even when a developer knows MVC, we often need to work with them to adapt these skills to Kentico. This includes working with the UI, entering content, and understanding how the platform works on that architecture. Once we know a current MVC developer understands Kentico, we find their skills transition quite easily as Kentico’s implementation is very straightforward.
Are the Kentico MVC teams more efficient?
These teams are definitely faster in understanding how Kentico works with MVC. Because they understand the Model/View/Controller architecture, they’re able to apply those skills to our Kentico sites much faster. This means their development goes quicker and reduces our overall costs.
In addition, tying everything to the front-end is smoother. MVC developers can work very quickly on the backend while front end devs build the presentation. This helps us produce applications quicker and reduce the overall project lifecycle.
What is your plan to transition your team to Kentico MVC?
We have many steps to our plan for all areas of development. We focus on improving the transition process for anyone who is currently doing Portal development. This also applies to our MVC developers, who haven’t worked with Kentico in the past. We try to provide them as many tools as we can to help them transition their existing skills to the new methodology.
We make sure our developers are educated on NuGet packages and how those fit into the architecture. Because this is how much of the Kentico API is included in the front-end, understanding this is an important piece to the transition. We keep front end and admin sites hot fixed and up to date, to ensure we have the latest features and fixes.
Most importantly, we develop training plans for developers. Regardless of their level, we map out their path to Kentico MVC so that it is tailored to existing skills and needs. This allows us to move developers to the architecture, regardless of their current skill level.
How is MMT implementing the plan?
As I said, we split the training according to individual devs needs. We have dedicated slack channels within the company where developers can exchange ideas and discuss solutions. We also maintain a Kentico Wiki, with tons of helpful information. As part of our onboarding, we introduce new developers to Kentico and MVC to ensure there are set up for success from the beginning. The main point is we are spreading the transition across the organization, rather than having a single resource or team be accountable. This helps limit the impact to the business and allows us to move the team as a whole.
How can big teams transition to MVC?
I think it’s important to spread the knowledge transfer across many people. With large organizations, it’s easy for information to get lost or forgotten. So by communicating it across the organization, you ensure nothing gets left out. Also, by spreading the information around, you make sure no one person has to be in charge of educating everyone else.
We also do quarterly reviews with our Technical Architects. This helps ensure the information is passed on to other teams and that everyone is aware of the current best practices and procedures. We publish a lot of this information to internal wikis, as well. This information is then used on current, as well as future projects.
I think big teams should follow this same process and use all parts of their organization for the transition. This will help keep everyone up to date, information available, and costs to the business as low as possible.
I’d really like to thank Ilesh for taking the time to talk about MMT’s plans to MVC. it’s a big deal, and I know they have put a lot of thought and planning into it. Every company’s path to MVC will be a little different. Smaller organizations may be more nimble, but it may take them longer due to a lack of availability. Larger companies have more to migrate, but there are many more hands in the mix to make the load lighter. In the end, companies should evaluate their current skills, resources, and timelines to see how and when making the shift makes the most sense for them. Good luck!