Astucemedia is a creative services and software development firm. We specialize in the design and implementation of broadcast graphics, channel/program branding, and real-time data software.
The Astucemedia Data Platform software is tailored for broadcasters and supports many live data providers. These include real-time financial market data feeds (Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, Mubasher), sports data (Opta, Stats), weather (StormGEO), and US elections (AP). We also provide comprehensive integration with the Vizrt workflow used by broadcasters around the world.
We had a problem
Our biggest challenge is to keep differently scoped lists in sync – high level planning views that show you what’s coming over the next several months vs. weekly, more granular development efforts. The problem is that very few tools have nailed high level roadmap views without losing touch with reality.
We did not have a tool that allowed us to communicate these lists effectively. This meant that we also had no way to explain our planning efforts to the team without bogging them down through endless email cc’s.
Aha! as a solution
The Features board in Aha! is my go-to page on most days. We use a combination of weekly releases to plan our development efforts. And our team loves the multiple parking lots capability. It allows us to create several prioritized backlogs that we monitor in parallel.
Strict agile planning would insist on a single backlog. However, the Aha! Features board doesn’t force that specific use case on you. Instead, Aha! lets us spread our efforts and create more manageable lists that can be prioritized. This gives us more flexibility when planning for upcoming weeks. We can easily move items in and out of our backlog to meet shifting priorities and active projects.
Features can easily be cross-linked between each other in many different ways –without imposing a relationship pattern. This makes it easy for anyone to add information as it evolves. For example, if a feature gets broken into multiple items, the links are maintained. This helps everyone stay on track while connecting their work to a bigger picture.
The flexibility that Aha! offers has allowed us to explore having both our software and services teams use it. Having both teams work within the same tool gives our roadmap a true sense of company “load” over time. It also offers more transparency than we have ever enjoyed before.
Life is good
During our initial proof-of-concept period, we submitted a few recent feature requests from senior managers via the Ideas Portal using their login. We wanted to test how they would react to receiving automated emails from a new tool. A few weeks later, we got a verbal, “Oh, I saw that you guys implemented Feature XYZ and deployed it to Server X. Good job!” — without endless back-and-forth emails.
I could not believe how seamless the feedback loop was. We have been able to cut back on email and “lost requests” to a degree that seemed impossible before. This productivity increase is one of the driving forces for integrating Aha across our 3 levels of visibility:
- Day-to-day developments and updates
- Planning and collection
- Management overview (what’s next)