Originally published on Economy.bg, February 1, 2022 (Link to article) (In Bulgarian)
What are the key products that the teams in Bulgaria are working on?
As a technology company which provides timely and reliable information on hundreds of sporting events, we have many products and projects based on our excellent knowledge of the world of sports. One of our key projects is the so-called Hosted Solutions. These products allow us to provide our customers with sports data solutions that have an attractive and dynamic look which matches their corporate identity. We provide the hosted solution as small fragments of sports content (widgets) or fully styled websites.
Could you tell us briefly about each of them?
Widgets are standalone parts with live sports data content that customers can add to their site or applications. For example live scores from specific sporting events, tournament standings, player profiles, teams and much more. Currently, our portfolio consists of over 25 widgets from which our customers can choose. The product is very popular among online news sites and blogs because in each article they can add dynamic sports content related to the article.
Our White label solution is a complete website with sports content, branded according to the needs and identity of our clients. Such a site contains many pages with different components, including widgets. We develop sites dedicated to a tournament such as the World Cup and the European Football Championship, as well as sites that cover many different sports.The two products are fully compatible and with their mutual integration, it is possible to achieve diverse and interactive sports websites.
How many people work on each of the projects and what are their fields of expertise?
Our IT department develops a range of products for every major sports forum such as European or World Cup, Olympics, Cycling, Formula 1. We strive to use the latest trends and requirements in web development and provide customers with a modern and different view of the world of sports.
The construction of such a product begins with the product team, which defines the requirements, time intervals and together with the IT teams develop a project plan.
The development includes 3 teams from our IT department:
- Widgets: for the production of individual parts with sports content;
- Sites: for the development of a complete site;
- QA: to ensure the level of quality.
Generally speaking, about 10 employees of the company from different teams and departments are involved in one big collaborative effort, joining forces to create the best end product possible.
What technologies do you use for individual projects?
Product development involves front-end and back-end developers, as well as QA (quality assurance). For the front-end, the most commonly used technologies are Vue.js, React, along with several NPM modules such as webpack, axios, loadash and the latest versions of ECMAScript. The styles are written in Sass and HTML5 for the structure. Our clients rely on us to process and show sports data in the fastest way. That is why we use technologies such as Ajax, MigratoryData, Websocket for instant data display.
Our Back-end services work with both relational SQL databases and NoSQL databases.
The biggest sports events are of great interest, which significantly increases the traffic to our hosted products. To manage this traffic, we rely on Amazon’s cloud solutions such as CloudFront, S3, ElastiCache. We also implement multi-level caching, constantly exploring new optimization options.
We monitor the quality of our products at every stage of their development – from customer requirements through design, functionality, even after the official release. This includes a large number of test cases, which we record and track in Testrail. Communication with various teams about bugs is done in JIRA and we use BrowserStack to simulate different browsers and devices. We have a set of tools for SEO testing, link testing, etc., and we have started the transition from manual to automated testing with Cypress.
How is the work process organised and what is the management structure of the individual projects?
We use Scrum methodology to organise the work process. We plan and analyse the work done and distribute the tasks among the team members for the next two weeks. It sounds easy, but the whole process is backed by many inter-team meetings and in-depth discussions. This widely accepted methodology facilitates both day-to-day work and customer requirements. Every day the team members have the so-called “daily meeting”, where all kinds of challenges, customer and corporate needs are discussed.
The structure of a standard project consists of a salesperson, a product manager or a project manager and a leading representative of a specific IT department. After a successful “kick-off”, each detail is described in the specifications and presented as a requirement for the successful completion of the project.
How have projects changed over the years?
The development and improvement of projects over the years has always gone in several directions: Compatibility with different browsers: our goal is to make our products run on as many browsers and devices as possible. This, of course, includes the use of technologies that are supported by newer versions of browsers, but also compatibility with those that do not yet meet the latest standards. Responsive design: we take into account the size of the screen on which our application is open and that part of the content in which it is inserted. Performance: With Amazon Web Services, we easily optimise our products to load faster, be more intuitive and easy to use. Availability: we have integrated support for the so-called screen readers, thanks to which people with visual impairments can make full use of our sports solutions. Localization: every year we expand the support of the languages of our products with the help of our Content Department.
What are the biggest challenges in this project or in each of the key projects you are working on?
The challenges are many and varied depending on the project specification, but one thing never changes and that is the deadline. Whether corporate or client, the project deadline must be met. The deadlines for the development of our products are strictly consistent with the beginning of the respective sporting event. That is why it is so important for us to properly plan and allocate time because in the world of live sports coverage we have no right to be late. This motivates us to give our best and every deadline leaves a mark on the road to success.
What are the greatest achievements you can note about this product or each of the key products you are working on?
The last year has been very successful for our product. On the one hand, we managed to implement two major projects for the European Football Championship and the Summer Olympics, and on the other – to modernise our set-up. We were able to migrate to the latest versions of the software we use and launch some of our services in a docker environment.
At the same time, we managed to develop our teams and attract 7 new employees who help us achieve better results and meet customer needs with high quality and professionalism.
What’s next for the individual projects?
The year 2022 is expected to be quite busy with major sporting events. Of course, we are ready to start with a brand new solution for the Winter Olympics in China. We have prepared surprises for the new Formula 1 season, but the icing on the cake remains the Football World Cup at the end of the year. Expect from us an even higher focus on the comprehensiveness of our solutions, providing our customers with improved, functional and convenient products and services.