2012: The Year That Was

A 6 minute read written by Alaine December 21, 2012

YP Edmonton office team 2012

It’s been a busy year at Yellow Pencil. Before we put our computers to sleep until the new year, here are just some of the things we did, made, and learned in 2012:

New services and partnerships

Drupal and Drupal Commerce

This year we continued our foray into the world of Drupal Open Source CMS. We've decided to specialize in Drupal Commerce, the new set of components within the Drupal framework for creating e-commerce components. We've now converted two of our biggest and most complex e-commerce sites – Backside Tours and Cookies by George – and contributed some new modules back to the Drupal community.

Oracle WebCenter

This year Yellow Pencil joined forces with Canada's largest Oracle reseller, Maplesoft Group, to bring our 15 years of expertise to the Oracle WebCenter platform. We are now Canada's largest Oracle WebCenter solution provider. In partnership with Maplesoft, an Oracle Platinum Partner, we are ready to deliver the best possible services to Oracle customers across Canada. We’re also deploying Oracle hardware in our data centre for customers who want the ease and flexibility of the cloud with the security and sovereignty of our Canadian-based service.

Responsive design

Not that responsive design is new to us, but our process has grown up this year. We delivered one of Canada's first major public sector responsive design projects for albertacanada.com. Our work is the platform for the entire Government of Alberta to convert their Common Look and Feel standards to a responsive framework. If you'd like to know more about our process, take a look at responsiveprocess.com – we’ve posted our process for everyone to share.

OpenText

While we've got some new technologies under our belts, the core of our solutions are still on OpenText platforms. We are proud to be one of the top OpenText partners in North America. We're working with OpenText to expand our services beyond the Web Site Management (RedDot) platform to the entire Customer Experience Management suite. This includes Web Experience Management, Semantic Navigation and more. We're going to have some exciting new customer announcements in 2013 and some brand new services to offer.

New work

Backside Tours

One of our most complex projects is now powered by Drupal Open Source CMS. To align with the 2012 rebrand work for Backside Tours, the largest ski tour operator in one of the world's biggest ski markets, we recreated their entire trip planning and booking system from the ground up with the Drupal CMS and Drupal Commerce platform. If you're in Alberta, jump on a bus and hit the slopes with Backside! It's never been easier to ski.

Investors Group

The Investors Group is one of Canada’s largest financial services companies and they needed a web platform to support a team of nearly 5000 advisors from coast to coast to coast in both of Canada’s official languages. Yellow Pencil and Open Text teamed up to deliver an amazing publishing system that enables all of these advisors to maintain a personalized, social, self-managed web presence with all of the rigour and governance control required in the financial services sector. The entire system is fully automated and can be run by a very small team at the Investors Group head office.

Project methodology

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2012 was the year of Project Management for Yellow Pencil. As the scope and complexity of our projects has grown, we've made big changes to how we deliver our services by adopting a new project methodology based on the principles of the Project Management Institute. We now have a Project Management Office staffed by seven experienced and talented individuals, and we've aligned our whole team around a consistent methodology for planning, communicating and delivering. It's been quite a ride, but our clients and staff have never been happier. People were even making project management jokes at the year end holiday party. And no, none of them were funny.

New team members

2012 saw us double in size. We've added some amazing people to our team and it's been great to see the new ideas, skills and perspectives. People have joined us from Egypt, Brazil, Serbia, Pakistan, and even the remote but exotic Regina, Saskatchewan. Check out our team page to meet ‘em all.

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2012 was the year of Project Management for Yellow Pencil. As the scope and complexity of our projects has grown, we've made big changes to how we deliver our services by adopting a new project methodology based on the principles of the Project Management Institute. We now have a Project Management Office staffed by seven experienced and talented individuals, and we've aligned our whole team around a consistent methodology for planning, communicating and delivering. It's been quite a ride, but our clients and staff have never been happier. People were even making project management jokes at the year end holiday party. And no, none of them were funny.

New team members

2012 saw us double in size. We've added some amazing people to our team and it's been great to see the new ideas, skills and perspectives. People have joined us from Egypt, Brazil, Serbia, Pakistan, and even the remote but exotic Regina, Saskatchewan. Check out our team page to meet ‘em all.

dev

Expanded Vancouver office

We have about one third of our team working out of our new space in Vancouver. That Vancouver rain is sprouting new staff all over the place. We're taking on some exciting new customers in BC, so being in Vancouver is more important than ever for us.

Eastern expansion

As part of our working relationship with Maplesoft, we've now got office space in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal. We're working on several projects out east and we expect to have full time staff in place in each of these cities by the end of 2013. If you're looking for some opportunities with a really cool company (we mean us), come talk to us, especially if you're in or near one of those cities.

Big projects in finance

We're really pleased with our expansion into the financial sector in the last two years. In addition to launching an amazing new web presence for the Investors Group, we're in the middle of a project for Mackenzie Investments in Toronto and several large internal and external projects for Fiserv in Atlanta. We're building some brand new tools for both companies, so look for some big launches later in 2013!

YP Vancouver office 2012

Other very important things that happened:

  • Some especially dedicated members of YP YEG ran a 5 km at 9:00 AM one sunny Saturday. And oh yeah, they were wearing GORILLA SUITS.
  • Paul and Dave still didn’t go on vacation
  • Other Paul, our new YP Operations, also didn’t go on vacation.
  • Our offices combined their collective might for our first ever all-team ski trip to Lake Louise. Late-night, somewhat inappropriate all-company emails ensued.
  • Our first summer barbeque party was a resounding success. As far as we remember.
  • We have a new YEG office! It still doesn’t have enough furniture.
  • Friday Street Fighter tournaments challenged our egos and button-mashing skills.
  • The YEG lunchtime bootcamp club grew considerably. Muscle soreness and complaining also grew considerably.
  • Our creative team started a book club. Keep up with what we’re reading!
  • The content team went to CONFAB, the content strategy conference in Minneapolis, and ate their weight in cake and knowledge.
  • Steve spoke at approximately 1000000000 more conferences, most notably as Ron Burgandy.
  • Raoul continued asserting his supreme mastery of Photoshop.
  • Carson won first place at the Halloween costume competition, to everyone’s delight and/or horror.
  • The YEG office explored alternate careers as karaoke masters
  • #ypfancyfriday is now a thing.
  • Dave spent more time in the air than on the ground.
  • The gentlemen of YP began a possibly unhealthy obsession with Frank & Oak.

Stay tuned for more wacky hijinks in 2013 and beyond. Happy holidays from all of us here at Yellow Pencil.