Deploying Planet 4 across Greenpeace: the implementation plan

Learn, plan, setup, launch, document. Rinse, repeat.

Luca Tiralongo
Feb 25, 2018 · 4 min read

With the launch of the prototype, Planet 4 (P4) has de facto switched from its development phase to the “additional development and NRO implementation” phase, pursuing the vision to change the way people do online activism.

2018 will be the deployment year of Greenpeace’s new engagement platform, and the Planet 4 implementation plan describes the approach, timelines and efforts required to upgrade existing Content Management Systems (CMS) to P4.

With great scope comes great responsibility

It took 16 months to create Planet 4. It will take more or less the same time to deploy more than 50 websites across the world and decommission the current CMS, Planet 3 (aka P3). A solid rollout methodology and the right resources are key to maximise effectiveness and ensure that every office will receive the appropriate support.

Planet 4 will ultimately replace more than 40 Planet 3 websites, 9 Wordpress websites and 1 Drupal 7 portal. Such commitment to digital upgrade represents a great chance for Greenpeace to lead the way in the nonprofit sector, but also a great responsibility in the months to come.

The plan will, additionally, propose an interim solution for upcoming campaign pages and set the guidelines to migrate all campaign platforms launched over the years, like Heart of the Amazon, Superheroes and many more. Those "microsites" or "stand alone" sites are not part of the original scope but, to limit the over-proliferation of domains (and reduce costs) they will have to ultimately either be decommissioned or migrated to Planet 4. Hence, the deliverables and guidelines at page 12.

A “handbook” to serve them all, and in July, to bond them all

Such a global scope implies that multiple migrations will be happening at the same time, involving people from different time zones, working at a different pace and coming from offices with specific requirements. Given that the Planet 4 team will have to deploy each instance, provide guidance to local teams and constantly integrate upgrades and bug fixes, a very accurate sprint planning is key to avoid chaos.

The idea is to use the first two waves of implementations to build in-house capacity and produce the “Handbook”, a Planet 4 Wordpress install itself, a curated, public and interactive knowledge base that will be a home for all P4 documentation, tutorials, case studies and memes.

The guidance of the “early adopters”, the support of the P4 project team and the Handbook will allow Greenpeace offices to carry on preparatory work independently and at their own pace, before the P4 Development team come in and deploy the product in scheduled “setup queues”, organized in bi-weekly sprints.

In this community-driven approach, Planet 4 deployments will be planned according to NROs’ preferences and readiness for implementation. Detailed info and a few graphs in the plan.

May resources be with you

The P4 software (and all its core updates) will be delivered for free to all Greenpeace offices. NROs, however, will have to sustain costs for hosting (Google Cloud), for implementing resources (the local project team), for archival tools and for any custom development or custom integration required.

Implementing a new CMS will require time and effort, both on the P4 project team and at office level. To respect such a rough timeline, commitment from both offices and the international team is needed and will have to be signed-off by project sponsors at each implementation, in the form of a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU).

The implementation plan contains estimates to help everyone allocate resource, and links to a detailed task list to identify the right people and the most suitable time for a fairly short, but very intense project. Long story short, while implementing P4, an NRO digital team won't have time to carry on 2 other projects, support a ship tour and deal with day-to-day life. That's just impossible.

Plan long and prosper

Beside the pilot office (Greenpeace Greece), activities have already started with the “early adopters”, the first members of the P4 community of practitioners and innovators that will take P4 to the next level. The next few months should be enough for all offices to plan their Planet 4 implementation, according to 2018/19 priorities (campaign plans, ship tours..) holidays and peak of activities, because launching a new site brings a solid chunk of work, a considerable change management and a huge engagement opportunity.

In a nutshell, Greenpeace digital teams can either relax, wait for others to go ahead and get P4 later on, or check the plan, stay in Wonderland and see how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Great Scott! It can't be, I've just been sent back to the future

Something is not clear or do you want to learn more? Please comment below, send the P4 team an email or check the FAQs

Special thanks to Kelli, Koyan, Laura, Lilian, Natasja and the P4 steering group for their help in shaping the plan and their patience in reply to all the open/closed/re-opened/re-closed comments and questions.

Planet 4

Planet 4 is the codename for the complete redesign of…

Planet 4

Planet 4 is the codename for the complete redesign of This project is developed using open principles, and this Medium Publication will be the central hub for news and updates pertaining to the Planet 4 project. Learn more at

Luca Tiralongo

Written by

Grey-haired since 14. Bike rider. Sea diver. Peperonata maker. Greenpeacer.

Planet 4

Planet 4 is the codename for the complete redesign of This project is developed using open principles, and this Medium Publication will be the central hub for news and updates pertaining to the Planet 4 project. Learn more at

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