Introducing CivicActions Labs

ca-feature-blog-labs-dosWouldn’t it be nice if we had more time to experiment with new ideas and create tools that will help us work more efficiently and productively?

At CivicActions, our team members are constantly bouncing creative solutions off of one another, but with the daily pressures of project work and other obligations, good ideas can find themselves relegated to the backburner or on the shoulders of one or two enterprising individuals. We’re pleased to announce the launch of CivicActions Labs, an initiative to provide our team with sanctioned time outside of project work to innovate and design products that will streamline our workflow and improve our practices.

Here’s our mission:

CivicActions Labs will drive a culture of collaborative innovation that keeps us excited and proactive about learning and growing both as professionals and as a team. Using an open, agile, mindful and measurable process, we will provide teams with the opportunity to create solutions that meet organizational challenges and drive transformation at CivicActions and globally.

In addition to being a vehicle to drive organizational change, lab projects also give CivicActions team members the opportunity to self-organize and collaborate in an agile process that mirrors practices set out in the U.S. Digital Services playbook. Some of the projects that we are cooking up include a complete overhaul of our local sandbox environments, creating a Drupal 7 theme based on 18F’s U.S. Web Design Standards, and customizing Visual Regression tools for website testing.

Because we at CivicActions are committed to being completely open, Labs will be open sourced and licensed so that you can share or adapt our work to meet your own specific needs.

To follow our progress, visit our website, grab our code, or spy on our Trello board. We look forward to launching our first Lab soon!

2017-03-31T06:19:56+00:00 Categories: Culture, Design, Development|Tags: |

About the Author:

Heather joined CivicActions in 2015 as an Engineer, bringing over five years of experience in delivering sustainable, scalable, user-focused and content-driven web solutions for both government and higher education clients. Heather combines her front-end development chops with an extensive background in site planning and building to create user interfaces that are simple, elegant and easy to maintain.

Prior to joining CivicActions, Heather served as a front-end developer, technical architect and project lead at Chief on major website projects such as a bulk publication ordering system using Drupal Commerce and Internationalization for the Federal Trade Commission. Her career in Drupal began at the University of Maryland, where she designed and developed multiple Drupal sites for the A. James Clark School of Engineering, including the University of Maryland’s Division of Research, and pioneered the University of Maryland Drupal Users Group.
Heather loves to shares her passion for creating clean, semantic, and easy-to-maintain markup, and has given multiple talks at venues such as BADCamp and Capital Camp on using Sass, and CSS methodology SMACSS, to write leaner, more efficient code.

When she’s not bending your ear about best practices in web design and development, Heather is most likely to be found reading, planning her next travel adventure, or teaching German to her collie pup, Winston.


What do you do at CivicActions?

I’m an engineer focused primarily on front-end development, content strategy, and user experience. Lately, I’ve been involved in leading CivicActions Labs, serving as practice lead for front-end development and participating on our marketing team.

What tools do you use most often?

  • Slack
  • Google Drive
  • Trello
  • Terminal
  • Git
  • JIRA

What do you love most about CivicActions?

What makes CivicActions unique to other workplaces is the emphasis on work/life balance, and growth both personally and professionally.

See my Promoting Personal and Professional Balance: Workplace Culture at CivicActions blog post for more details.

What do you love about what you do?

I love working Agile! Instead of being handed a mockup to code out at the last minute before the deadline, all team members, including clients, constantly work together to deliver the product in increments.

The transparency, open communication, and rapid delivery make development fun again.