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It's time for the 2020 Holiday Season Code Freeze

Kelly Lyons

Time’s up; pencils down!  

You and your development team’s work over the past 10 months to get your ecommerce website in tip top shape has all come down to what may feel like the final test: Cyber Monday. Or maybe, when it comes to 2020, it’s not so much Cyber Monday as it is Cyber Shopping Season. And maybe it doesn’t kick off the Monday after Thanksgiving as it has in previous years, but rather coincides with Black Friday.  

Regardless, as the holiday shopping season ramps up, it’s vital for ecommerce website developers to prepare—by slowing down.  

In anticipation of the surging number of visits, your ecommerce website needs to establish a code moratorium. Now.  

Why Should Your Team Establish a Code Freeze During the Holiday Shopping Season? 

It may seem counterintuitive to slow down your workflows during your business’s busiest—and most important—time of the year, but, as visits tick up, your team needs to sit still. This is largely for two reasons: 

  1. So, they can handle ad-hoc, critical requests as necessary. 
    No matter how well your team understands the front-end and back-end of your website, Murphy’s law will always apply: if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong. Your team needs to be on standby to respond to customer issues and fix any urgent problems quickly—particularly anything that bars customers from making a purchase.  
  1. So, they don’t break anything… and then have to handle ad-hoc, critical requests as necessary (see above). 
    Now is not the time for your team to implement their most creative, innovative ideas that they’ve come up with over the last few months. That time came and went with the first ten months of the year and will be back again in January 2021. By putting a pause on implementing any new features or customer experience optimizations, your team reduces the likelihood it will break things. Unlike the rest of the year, the holiday season is not the time for ecommerce development teams to “move fast and break things.” You need to ensure that everything on your site is working properly—that customers can have a superior experience, by finding things they need and being able to make critical purchases in order to make the stressful holiday season a little bit easier.  

How is 2020 Different? 

Whether it’s in healthcare or travel and leisure, we all know 2020 has affected almost every industry in unforeseen ways—and ecommerce is no exception. While previous years have seen a continuous uptick in ecommerce website visits throughout the end of November and the entirety of December, 2020’s spike over 2019 is predicted to be unlike any other year-over-year rise. Your business needs to be even more prepared for the onslaught of customers, making it critical to begin implementing code freezes gradually—starting today (or even yesterday). With a record-breaking uptick in visits looming on the horizon, it’s vital that everything is working properly during your business’s peak times. 

How Should You Prepare for a Code Freeze?  

To be best prepared for all those increasing visits, your team should do the following: 

  • Load testing: As mentioned previously, the volume of visitors on your website should—and almost assuredly—tick up. To prepare, you need to make sure your website can handle the high volume. With load testing, you can see how your website will respond to all of that new traffic. 
  • Performance testing: Your website should be working exactly as your team intends it to for all those new visitors. Make sure there’s no unexpected bugs popping up in the final months before shopping season hits. 
  • Security testing: Unfortunately, many have faced tough times in 2020, making it even more likely that people will be willing to figure out creative ways to save a quick buck this holiday season. Be prepared by testing for security vulnerabilities and fixing them as needed. 
  • Functional testing: It doesn’t matter if your website can handle all the visitors if those visitors can’t check out. So be sure to check all the functionality of your revenue generating flows, and then check them again. 

What Should Your Development Team Do During the Holiday Season? 

All of this talk of slowing down can make any employer scratch their head and wonder, “Well, what should my team do in November and December?” 

First and foremost, your team should be ready to respond to any impending, urgent requests from customers. Their hard work from earlier this year should be paying off in spades—superior customer experience, enhanced features, and faster load times should all be on the  

As for those aforementioned creative plans your team has been dreaming of? Make those plans a reality. With 2021 just around the corner, your team should be planning how to make their ideas a reality by pitching ideas to key stakeholders and then creating detailed plans of action for 2021, so your 2021 holiday season can be an even more profitable success than your 2020 season.  

By instilling a code moratorium across your ecommerce website development team, you can ensure that your customers will have the best experience possible during this 2020 holiday season—and that your team will be able to respond quickly to ad-hoc issues and proactively prepare for an even better 2021 holiday season.  

Reach out here to get a free test of your software and be extra prepared this holiday season. 



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