We worked with a software development team at LVMH in Shanghai China, helping them build web and mobile applications to help the organisation in fields like in-store customer service. Some of these customers included Givenchy, Bvlgari and Marc Jacobs. Marc Jacobs is a high-end fashion designer. They sell apparel, accessories, and home decor and have over 200 stores worldwide.
The development team working with Marc Jacobs needed help to deliver new clienteling software and a store locator application. Developing software in China is challenging because internet access restrictions slow the developer experience.
We began working with the development team by trying to retrofit the software development production system we had created for similar teams in Europe. We were using the AWS vendor in China (i.e. not AWS). Unfortunately, mainland China feels far away because of the great firewall, and quite a few software development dependencies caused issues for pipelines, build and test strategies.
China is known for its strict policies regarding information control in comparison to the regulations adopted in other countries. The Golden Shield Project, often called the “great firewall of China”, is an initiative managed by the Ministry of Public Security division of the Chinese government. As the nickname implies, the focus of this project is to monitor and censor what can and cannot be seen through an online network in China. **
Furthermore, once our pipelines and build process were in use, we received complaints that the developer experience we had created needed to be faster. In this case, the developer experience resulted in wasted time, frustration and longer-term would have resulted in a full-on mutiny. Using these lessons, we changed the process and optimised how we managed dependencies. We noticed that we could pull dependencies faster via Alibaba and set up a proxy in an Alibaba region in mainland China. Using this route, we pulled all dependencies for the build and were able to speed up the pipelines. With more than five developers working on this project, pipeline delays wasted time, and the overall cost of this solution was trivial compared to the benefit.
We built a software development process that worked around the challenges of building software in mainland China and reduced the build time to around 4 minutes from the 15 minutes that it was previously.
The team delivered multiple projects on time, and the products received considerable acclaim. The development team was happy with the solution we provided, and we built a long-term relationship.