Have you ever tried to get five engineers to use the same IDE? No easy feat, right? A global marketing organization took on a significant challenge when uniting almost 1,000 engineers across several offices onto a single version control system and hosting solution. This mission began as a single team-driven project and evolved into a global platform initiative for thousands of offices worldwide.
Craig is the director for business systems, and he facilitated the growth of Bitbucket Data Center across dozens of offices over the last four years. His team started with offices in Australia & New Zealand and it took off from there.
While we can’t share the company name, here’s the insightful story of how grassroots efforts turned into a scalable process for bringing Git and Bitbucket Data Center to a massive multi-office advertising agency.
How Git Took Root
As one of the world’s largest advertising agencies, they have an operational principle called “horizontality” which guides inter-office collaboration to build consistent solutions. The more aligned different offices are, the more effectively they can services a growing customer base. As part of “horizontality,” offices are encouraged to collaborate on things like feature tracking, customer communications, and even code. Using shared platforms, like Jira Software and Confluence, help them manage and track projects across time zones and countries.
“Moving our offices to a standard technology stack started out as a grassroots effort. We weren’t asked to do it, but from a business and technical perspective, it was an obvious choice.”
Craig’s team is directly responsible for supporting “horizontality” across Australia and New Zealand, and in 2013 he began noticing offices using every flavor of version control and hosting software. Some used centralized version control while and others used distributed version control (i.e., git).
With git, agile offices benefited from a software development workflow with local branches, meeting the need to iterate quickly. Of the offices using git, two of the 15 had adopted Bitbucket Server, leaving Craig’s team to manage inter-office collaboration on many several different platforms. His team looked to bring all 15 offices into a single tool, allowing easy management of user and group permissions, while streamlining the office’s workflows and driving stronger “horizontality.”
“Connecting Bitbucket with Jira provides correlation, and much deeper insights than other source control tools offer. Every other member of the team understands what’s going on and there’s a clear audit trail of work.”
While Bitbucket wasn’t the only possible option, Craig and his team saw using Bitbucket Server with Jira Software and Confluence, elevated project workflow at those two offices. They found each Atlassian product enriched the others with more data and gave offices greater access to the status of work. Bitbucket specifically drove “horizontality” through strict permissions in shared workspaces, allowing teams to work side-by-side, or separately as needed. Armed with these discoveries, Craig and his team began looking for opportunities to move more offices onto Bitbucket Server, and by August 2015, almost all of the Australia and New Zealand offices were using Bitbucket Server to manage code.
Shortly after the spread of Bitbucket within the organization’s Australia-New Zealand region, offices in São Paulo and Belgium reached out to Craig’s team for support.
“Once other offices heard about what we were doing with Bitbucket, they realized they didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. My team was available to provide support for the existing Atlassian tools.”
On-boarding those first offices were the catalyst that provided momentum for complete technology standardization. It happened naturally, an office using Bitbucket needed to work with another office. Once that second office got a taste of the software for one project, they wanted to adopt it for their whole team. Then when that group needed to work with a new group, the cycle repeats its self. Now, close to 1,000 developers from every corner of the globe rely on Bitbucket to collaborate on code.
Now that Bitbucket is mission-critical to development productivity, Craig’s team needed a way to ensure the application was always running. So, in 2017, they upgraded to Bitbucket Data Center.
With high availability and smart mirroring, performance remains consistent for each developer, no matter the time of day or country. As Craig advocates for agency executives to standardize on his selected tool stack, preparing for future users is top of mind. The ability to add nodes horizontally provides a path for future scale, and active-active clustering ensures clean fail-over operations.
Today, the organic success of Craig’s initiative to standardize on a git tool in one region led to standardization across 150 offices worldwide. On the organization’s unified technology stack, offices collaborate with ease and speed. Less time spent waiting for I.T. to add new users means quicker project kickoffs and developers aren’t wasting valuable time acclimating to new workflows.
One of the world’s largest marketing agencies gained operational and financial efficiency thanks to Craig’s team and Bitbucket Data Center.