Case Study: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota
Becoming Their Go-To Drupal Experts
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota (LSS) is one of the state’s largest private nonprofit social service organizations, providing a vast array of services in all 87 Minnesota counties for children and families, older adults and people with disabilities.
Our Assignment: Audit LSS Sites and Take Them On as a TEN7Care Support Client
LSS hired us to support and maintain their flagship website (lssmn.org) and seven smaller websites. Minnesotans find and interact with LSS services through their websites (over 1,200 pages), including performing time-sensitive tasks like submitting timesheets and payments, so it’s crucial the websites perform optimally with very little downtime. The sites were already well-organized, designed and written to meet the organization’s needs—a testament to hard work done previously. LSS just needed help maintaining the technology and continuing to enhance the site.
TEN7Audit & TEN7Improve
Before TEN7 takes on any support client, we take them through our comprehensive onboarding process to get an overall lay of the land and identify any lurking security or performance issues. As a result of the TEN7Audit, we implemented best practices to update the LSS sites and keep them backed up and as secure as we could possibly make them:
- Updates: Updated Drupal core, Drupal modules and PHP to current official versions (including disabling non-essential and performance-intensive Drupal modules).
- Security: Ensured there were no security vulnerabilities.
- Site backups: We recommend (and LSS wanted) offsite backups, something their current host didn’t provide. We set up redundant offsite backups using Tractorbeam at Amazon’s AWS and in Google Cloud.
- Update Code: Replaced custom code with Drupal core functionality or Drupal modules.
- Caching: Implemented HTTP caching, database query caching, and Drupal caching to provide a faster site experience for site visitors.
In the TEN7Care phase, we focus on adding new features and optimizing the site and the processes that surround it.
- Issue backlog: In the support and maintenance phase, new clients usually bring us a small task backlog. But the super-prepared client of the year award goes to Tom Lany, Online Marketing Manager at LSS, who started the TEN7Care process with a list of 60 backlogged tasks compiled from stakeholder feedback, prioritized and categorized in a spreadsheet we could feed directly into our issue tracking program. Thanks to Tom’s great organization, we assigned and blew through many of those tasks in short order!
- Deployment process: We discovered the website deployment process was a pain point. Various features (like menus) would frequently break during deploys. We fixed the root cause of the menu issue and implemented some of our software development best practices around deploys: greater reliance on issue tracking and version control, and a deploy schedule that mirrored the sprint schedule. At end-of-sprint meetings, we review candidates for release, and then do a release after that meeting. LSS now has confidence in and connection to a predictable and testable deployment process.
We’re Now Caring for Lutheran Social Service’s Sites
Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota is now an official TEN7Care support client. We’ll continue to update, optimize, and secure their sites, and add new features as needed. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship.
“TEN7 helps us solve technical challenges that we can’t solve ourselves within Drupal, and they keep our systems updated and secure. TEN7’s extensive expertise with Drupal means we get answers quickly, and that we don’t have to worry about missing security and stability updates, because their team carefully tracks all of this.“ —Tom Lany, Online Marketing Manager, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota