New features in Sequence

5 October, 2009 by

After focusing on a new (soon to be announced) product during August, in September our focus shifted back to our current product, Sequence; today we release new features in Sequence, as well as a few improvements to existing ones.

New “Processed vs. Scheduled” Graph

We have replaced our old graph for a much more granular, more precise version, which will give our users a better outlook of upcoming work.

New Processed vs. Scheduled Graph in Sequence

New Processed vs. Scheduled Graph in Sequence

Browse titles by Month

As the number of scheduled titles grows, the amount of paging required to get to a given set of titles sometimes is too much. It is now possible to browse straight through to a given month by selecting it in the month dropdown; browsing by month works in combination with the rest of the filters, like the content provider filter or the tags, so it is pretty handy.

Browse titles by month

Browse titles by month

Announcements

Has the workflow changed? Anything to share with the whole team? Sequence Announcements are a great way to do it. As soon as one gets published, it will appear at the top of the page for everyone to see. They are easily dismissible once they are read, and in case someone misses one, past announcements can be found in the ‘announcements’ section.

New Sequence Announcement

New Sequence Announcement

Past Announcements

Past Announcements

Revamped Users Section

The whole Users section has been redesigned and expanded. It is now possible to see at a glance who has tasks assigned and how many, as well as who is active in the account.

Recent Activity and Assigned Tasks in Sequence new users list

Recent Activity and Assigned Tasks in Sequence new users list

The user page has been expanded to include a detailed view of recent activity as well as of tasks assigned. The latter is accessible straight from the “Your tasks” section in the dashboard, where a new link to the user’s “assigned tasks page” is displayed if the number of assigned tasks grows.

Extended User Information

Extended User Information

Workflow Templates: Free form materials

Previously, when setting up the list of required materials within a workflow template in Sequence, you had to select from the list of materials available. This is now fully flexible and it is now possible to add materials that are not in the list.

Free form materials list in workflow templates

Free form materials list in workflow templates

Workflow Templates: Reordering tasks

It is now easy to change tasks order when creating a workflow template, something that was previously only possible on a title by title basis.

Reorder tasks in workflow templates

Reorder tasks in workflow templates

Reorder tasks in workflow templates

Reorder tasks in workflow templates

And more…

We have also taken advantage of this release to fix small annoyances that are never urgent to fix but that we think are important in order to provide a smooth user experience.

We hope you like it and we look forward to your feedback!

BeBanjo – Welcome to Sequence

30 June, 2009 by

Sequence

It’s a big week for BeBanjo. We are formally launching Sequence, our solution to manage your media operations more efficiently.

We’ve been working on this for quite a while now. Sequence was built in very close collaboration with our friends at Telefonica Servicios Audiovisuales, one of the main facilities companies in Spain. They’re using Sequence to manage their Imagenio IPTV service that goes out to more then 600.000 customers.

More recently we’ve brought BSkyB on board. They’re using Sequence to manage a variety of multi-platform TV services around the Sky Player platform.

All of this has culminated today in a couple of announcements:

  • First that we’re formally launching Sequence (press release)
  • Second that Sky is announcing that it’s chosen Sequence to help manage the workflow of its Sky Player platform (press release)

We’ve also launched a brand new BeBanjo.com website that contains a lot of information to help prospective clients to evaluate Sequence:

  • A three minute “What’s Sequence” video produced by Riot Cinema Collective.
  • A five minute walkthrough of Sequence
  • An FAQ
  • Pricing information

Over the next few days we’ll be inviting 100 companies from all over the world to take Sequence for a spin. Hopefully they’ll like it. We’ll keep you updated on that.

All of this will be communicated through a press campaign over the coming days/weeks.

Behind the scenes, we’ll continue to work hard on other exciting features and products. We’ll keep you in the loop right here on the blog and on BeBanjo.com

Have a nice summer.

Bastian and Jorge

Feature: Editing multiple tags for multiple titles

7 April, 2009 by

Our workflow application features a very flexible tagging system; this enables our customers to have a completely open way of describing the programmes and titles they add to their content schedules, and makes it easy to then filter or find titles of a particular kind.

At the beginning, we just saw tagging as a way of filtering the content; we understood that although two titles might have the same release date or availablity window, some titles are more urgent than others. An example would be with ‘new releases’ versus ‘archive content'; the former are always more expensive to acquire rights for and have higher opportunities of revenue on a VOD service than the latter, so as a video service operator you want to make sure you get the ‘new releases’ out of the way first and then focus on the rest of the content. Our tagging system makes it really easy to focus on the important things first.

However, as time goes by, we see tagging used more creatively and for things we didn’t anticipate, like for instance, using tags to mark the titles that require certain advertising clips or others. We love it when this happens; although we might address the advertising problems specifically in the future, it turns out our tagging system provides the flexibility that customer needs right now.

There was a problem with this, however. Until now, although was easy to add tags on a title per title basis, it was a LOT of work if you needed to change tags for multiple titles at once. You needed to go one by one, replacing the tags for each title, which was very inefficient.

To solve this problem, we have introduced a new tag editing feature, which makes updating tags for multipe programmes a breeze. We think this will make the tagging system even more powerful. Check it out in the video below (3 mins long)

We hope you like it!

On User Stories and business value

26 February, 2009 by

In our presentation at Railsconf Spain 2008, LuisMi Cavalle and I talked on and on about how much we like User stories, about how they are a great way to communicate functionality from stakeholders to designers to developers, and how we use cucumber to convert these plain text descriptions of what our software should do into acceptance testing that actually verifies what our software actually does. You can see the beautiful yet “not-for-the-faint-of-heart” slides of BDD from the trenches in english, but they don’t stand on their own as well as they do when accompanied by our impressive delivery (spanish only). You can also follow this up with @cavalle’s upcoming set of posts on our development process (there ya go, LuisMi, some pressure for you…)

Lately, to try to avoid our natural tendency of going for what is cool more than for what is useful, we are focusing more and more on identifying the business benefit first, ideally in conjunction with our customers. Here is an example of the narrative for one of the features we are working on:

In order to have the upper hand when negotiating content deals with content providers
As an owner/manager of a TV service
I want to see a performance comparison report between content providers

This is still high level, and a lot of acceptance criteria will have to follow to understand a few things here, such as how we measure ‘performance’, but we’ve accomplished something very important: we now know clearly WHY we are doing this. It will remain there as a goal against which we will be able to measure the success of having such report: if it helps in content negotiations with content providers – WIN! If it doesn’t help… well then FAIL! and maybe we need to reconsider whether that feature makes sense at all or not.

Most importantly, it is the business benefit itself that allows us to prioritize features; it is harder to know if “performance comparison report” should go before, say, “tag editing” than if “having the upper hand when negotiating content deals” should go before “filtering titles more efficiently”. If you still find them hard to prioritize, your customers can tell you, because they can associate a monetary value to each of them; they know how much money good or bad content deals cost them versus the money it costs them having to hire one more guys to manage operations.

Habemus Webpage

3 February, 2009 by

It took us a while, but we managed to get a new website up. It’s very simple, and I’m quite proud of it. 

Tell your friends, brothers and sisters! Http://bebanjo.com

 

-B

Join the Banjo Revolution…

28 January, 2009 by

banjot

 

More and more companies are getting on the Banjo bandwagon. This is definitely becoming a trend. Microsoft now has a Banjo Blog online.

;-)

’tis the Season

22 December, 2008 by

Last week we had our first BeBanjo Christmas party. The festivities mostly consisted of consuming obscene amounts of red meat and loads of red wine. We had T-Shirts made for everyone with something that helps us to stay focussed (WWCTBWWGT).

 However, there was also time for some serious talk. 

WWCTBWWGT - We Will Cross That Bridge When We Get There

WWCTBWWGT - We Will Cross That Bridge When We Get There

Towards the end of the party, Jorge and I did a recap of what we accomplished this year, and gave an overview of what’s coming up for 2009.

It’s been a very stimulating time since we started the company. What I’m particularly proud of is that we managed to assemble a team of A-players who are all leaders in their fields. Everyone is fully bi-lingual and very involved in the international community whether it comes to usability/design, Ruby on Rails (our development framework), or the international TV community

To the BeBanjo Team: Together we’ve accomplished an amazing amount in a very short period of time. We’ve rocked in 2008, and we’ll rock even harder in 2009! Thanks and a big hug.

To those we’ve encountered on the way:  I wish you the best for 2009! Thanks for trusting in us, stimulating us, helping/supporting us and driving us to succeed in our mission.

Being Banjo we are really looking forward to make our statement , earn our respect and be successful  in each of our professional communities during 2009 and I’m positive that during next year’s Christmas party we’ll have even more things we can look back on with pride. 

Happy holidays. 

-Bastian

What happens once a content deal is done – Traffic – Part I

9 December, 2008 by

A content licensing deal gives the buyer (licensee) the right to display the content from the seller (licensor) for a specific period of time on an specific distribution platform in a specific country. The time during which a licensee has the right to display a specific title is called that title’s “window”

Once the deal has closed, it’s up to the licensor to ship materials (DigiBeta tapes, DVD’s, music cue-sheets, transcripts, box art, EPK’s, subtitle files, additional audio tracks etc.) This usually happens a set time before the window’s start date.

The human side of traffic

The human side of traffic

 

The other day I was visiting a media company at an undisclosed location somewhere in Europe and I took this picture to show you the human side of “materials traffic”.   ;-)  

 

 

When I asked the gentleman pushing the cart if it was OK to take the picture he mentioned that this cart was pretty empty. Usually these are filled to the brim.

I have a limited edition BeBanjo post-it pad for the first one to correctly guess where I took this picture. Your best guesses in the comments please….. I know, I know…. not so generous, but we’re still a start-up, so this is as good as it gets for now.

In the coming months I hope to write more articles about the workings behind the scenes of all these TV channels and services that millions of people watch everyday. Stay tuned.

-Bastian

How we work. A detailed look at one of our development iterations. Part I

12 November, 2008 by

As good agile practitioners, we like short iterations; effort is easier to estimate and it gives us a sense of focus, a limited amount of work that we can motivate ourselves with while we forget about future bridges that might or might not need crossing. We work on weekly iterations that run from Friday to Thursday and we finish on Thursday because often we find ourselves working harder at the end of each iteration, sometimes going late in the day to try to accomplish what we set out to do in the first place, and allowing this to happen on Fridays is bad for morale and bad for the quality of the product, since naturally everyone wants to go home early on Fridays and this can lead to rushed decisions. We force ourselves to finish on Thursdays and that way we can have a relaxed Friday, wrapping up the iteration, going through it in detail, noting bugs if we find any and carefully planning and starting the next iteration. As much as we can, and this is not easy, we try to avoid big efforts at the very last moment, since we have realized these hardly ever make any difference in the customers’ overall impression on what we have accomplished and it does however have a negative impact on us.

We try to work interface first, which means that we try to work out in advance what the simplest possible web interface would be for the features we seek to implement. For the last couple of weeks we have been very lucky to count for that with who I am sure is one of the best interaction design companies out there (Programa Vostok, with Javier Cañada and Mark MacKay), who come in once a week to spend the day with us, review the work done in the previous week and work on the UI for the following week’s features/user stories. You could say this is the kick-off for each iteration.

We first talk in general about what we want to implement in this iteration and why, whether it is absolutely necessary for the app to have these things and whether our customers could live without them or not; we try to make sure we implement only (and this is the hardest part) what is a “must have” and not what is “nice to have” and Javier and Mark focus on making the “must haves” kick ass, really easy to use features that add value to the application. They do this first on paper, and then they switch to Fireworks and prepare some PNGs; once they are done, they walk us through it, we discuss it, and we generally nod in awe and amazement, although we sometimes (rarely…) boldly offer some suggestions too.

This happens generally on Wednesdays, while the current iteration is in progress, which leaves us roughly two days to implement the HTML/CSS and write down the acceptance criteria for the corresponding stories/features.

In our Presentation in the Conferencia Rails Hispana, Luismi Cavallé and I will explain how we go about writing the acceptance criteria for each of the stories to provide a a “ubiquitous language” (as Dan North described it originally in his introducing BDD) for stakeholders, developers and customers, how all our development and testing gravitates around them, how we Pair Program for best results and how we use Behaviour Driven Development (BDD) principles to guide us in the design of the application code, step by step, feature by feature.

Allí nos vemos!!

We speak at Rails Conf Spain!

12 November, 2008 by
Speaker at Rails Conf Spain

Speaker at Rails Conf Spain

This year BeBanjo is all over the place at the Conferencia Rails Hispana!

Sergio Gil, our latest addition to the team, widely known as porras in the Ruby On Rails community and three year in a row speaker at the conference will talk (or should I say “teach”) as only he can about Ruby On Rails best practices.

Raimond Garcia, our man from Mallorca, wizard of anything Ruby, Cucumber, Capistrano… will be showing us how to express behaviour in plain text with Cucumber with Nando García from The Cocktail, another heavy weight in the Rails community.

And I will join LuisMi Cavallé, hacker extraordinaire and our lead developer man, in trying to share and discuss with the community how we work and how it all gravitates around user stories in BDD from the trenches. Keep an eye out for my next post for a sneak-peek.

See you all there!!


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.