Verys is an Orange County-based full-service software development agency, now acquired by West Monroe. ZeniMax Media Inc. is a global leader in video game publishing, and is the owner of Bethesda Game Studios, a global leader in video game development. They are responsible for top-selling franchises such as Elder Scrolls, Fallout, and Doom.
Long-term client commitment: tech lead to principal consultant
The account with ZeniMax Media encompassed many teams at Verys, totaling over 40 engineers. Approximately 12 of those were on 2 frontend-focused teams that built the frontend and certain backend service for bethesda.net. Prior to joining these teams were identified as a focus area to improve client satisfaction.
Improving client satisfaction in the frontend development practice
I joined the team as tech lead overseeing both teams. These teams within Verys were known for having their own culture from being deeply ingrained with client teams, so I knew I would have work to do both to earn the team's trust and the client's and to get to know the key stakeholders we were deriving our satisfaction scores from.
Over the course of 60 days, after conducting 1:1s with the team and key stakeholders, we put in place informal improvement plans where necessary and executed against those with check-ins. After that, with the team stabilized we focused on continued high-level execution supporting launches such as Fallout 76 and key events like E3, both of which drew millions of interested games to the site in intense bursts.
Architecting for personalization and performance
After the launch of Fallout 76, I and senior client-side leadership focused the team on 2 areas:
1. supporting personalized content on the site
2. measuring and improving site performance in terms of perceived user loading time
For personalization I architected, with client approval, a system that took into account some adjacent client-driven priorities (i.e. use of ElasticSearch) while factoring in the core features needs.
For performance we identified and agreed on KPIs with client stakeholders, then implemented tracking of those metrics into the CI/CD process to continually improved. These KPIs and tracking directly led to key features I designed such as deferred image loading, improved bundle splitting and loading via Webpack configuration enhancements, and custom PR-level checks against regressions.