Standardizing Mindgrub: Why the Agency Chose a Single Website Platform


Mindgrub is a design and development agency based in Baltimore, Maryland. They standardize on Pantheon to streamline development and build better sites for their clients.

Founded in 2002, Mindgrub solves client challenges by harnessing the newest technologies to build custom mobile, social, and web apps. Lead Software Engineer Brian Thompson and the team first started using Pantheon in 2012 for a few projects, but never for a live production site. They liked the workflow, but decided to go another route—running their own servers until learning about Pantheon for Agencies at DrupalCamp PA in 2014.

Not having to manage infrastructure—servers, security updates, other day-to-day tasks—allows us to provide more value to our clients. The consistency of a single platform streamlines our workflow.

Brian Thompson, Lead Software Engineer

The team was tired of spending valuable time managing infrastructure, and was eager to offload non-billable tasks to a single platform. They now standardize on Pantheon to build, launch, and manage all of their client websites.

The Quest for Efficiency

12 developers strong, the web team at Mindgrub builds client sites for both Drupal and WordPress. Before Pantheon, they used managed hosting to run client sites—using Jenkins to manage continuous integration and Ansible for server configuration. Although this method worked, infrastructure maintenance often pulled the team away from working on billable hours. They needed a solution that could save them time and give them more consistency from project to project.

“Pantheon worked seamlessly with our process in the sense that there are strict controls between the dev, test, and live environments,” Said CTO Sa’ad Raouf. “This is core to our engineering principles and how we do software development. The Pantheon structure aligns perfectly with the right way of doing things.”

Raouf, Thompson, and the team began using Pantheon’s seamless workflow for client projects. The engineers liked being able to develop locally, using Git to push code to the platform. The team began shifting more and more towards Pantheon as they realized the time save for their team, and the value-add for their clients.

Fast Tracking to Pantheon Success

In June of 2015, Mindgrub and Pantheon teamed up to launch Fast Track, a program for Pantheon agency partners looking to quickly standardize their web development on the platform. As part of this inaugural event, Pantheon team members spent two days at the Mindgrub office meeting the team, migrating sites, and training everyone on how to use Pantheon to its fullest.

“Our expectations were very high,” Raouf said. “The program was a good deal of investment up front to offload work in the future. It ended up being a great success.”

The program started with a high-level meeting to learn about Mindgrub’s existing workflow, their challenges, and what it would mean to standardize on Pantheon. The Pantheon team then reviewed all of the projects in active development and conducted enablement training with the Mingrub development team. Afterwards, the group worked together to migrate five sites to the platform—a mix of Drupal, WordPress, and regular HTML/PHP sites—allowing Mindgrub to use Pantheon's fully-optimized workflow as a standard solution for their site development needs.

“Most of the migrations took 15-20 minutes with a few, more complex, sites taking a little longer,” Thompson said. “Without Pantheon, doing something like this would’ve taken anywhere from 4 to 8 hours.”

Why Standardize?

After wrapping up the Fast Track program, Thompson and Raouf are more convinced than ever of the value in standardization for agencies. “We’re just not worried about infrastructure anymore,” Thompson said. “That’s a huge weight off our shoulders and allows us to do more of what we love.”

They now start all projects on the platform, and plan to launch all new production sites on Pantheon. Using a single platform enables the team to streamline development, without compromising the quality of their work.

It’s flexible, the price point is attractive, and the startup time is minimal. Standardization just makes sense.

Sa’ad Raouf, CTO


  • Faster project setup

  • Easy team management tools & onboarding of new employees

  • Automated backups and security updates

  • Offloaded server management & DevOps

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