Room 315-316
drupal showcase

Multisites, microteam: Maintaining multi-tenant web properties at Harvard Medical School

Multisites, microteam: Maintaining multi-tenant web properties at Harvard Medical School

While Harvard Medical School is a leader in medical education and basic science research, it is a vast decentralized organization, with dozens of departments and offices. There are thousands of staff, faculty, and students that require our web services to be user-friendly, accessible, with a uniform design. Using Drupal multisites we’ve built a scalable solution that can support business units with diverse functionality and needs.

Although multisites are often seen as scary, maintaining them doesn't have to be painful. We'll discuss the three pillars on which the web team at Harvard Medical School has built a smooth maintenance process:

+ proper stakeholder communication to:
++ manage expectations
++ drive consensus between developers and editors
++ provide transparency through agile workflows and roadmapping
+ swift support workflow, which helps:
++ handle and prioritize incoming requests through multiple channels
++ evaluate the effects of a request on other sites in the stack
++ communicating technical feedback to nontechnical users
+ solid development infrastructure, which includes:
++ an internal suite of modules that standardize common functionality and front-end features
++ a deployment pipeline that makes releasing new code quicker and more predictable
++ a finely tuned multisite-configuration setup that takes the guesswork out of keeping sites in sync

Learning Objectives

+ Manage stakeholder/tenant expectations to plan for new features and maintain existing ones.
+ Keep the support queue flowing by setting clear priorities.
+ Automate the automatable, and let people enjoy more interesting work.


Basic understanding of Drupal multisites.


Drupal multisites can be your friends. Make them and yourself comfortable with proper communication, swift support, and solid development infrastructure.