Vidavee, a Video SaaS Start Up
Product Manager/Agile Scrum Taskmaster
Vidavee was a video web services company that enabled web publishers to easily upload, share, analyze and monetize internet video content.
I helped organize the company's development process into a routine iterative development in which new deployments were happening every 3 weeks. In the end, Vignette bought the company and integrated it into their enterprise CMS software based in Austin and closed the NYC office.
I learned a lot about serious software development from Vidavee. I reported to and worked closely with the VP of Technology (who I continued to work with after this job) and the CTO. I learned about writing formal TSD, MRD, PRD, and ESDs from them which I had not been exposed to done in such thoroughness. I contributed to PRDs that had UIs, and was the UX designer when needed.
The Vidavee product was video uploading, transcoding, hosting, streaming SaaS with integrated advertising and analytics. There was even product recognition screening, speech to text, and facial recognition options. Its biggest competitor at the time was Brightcove. With Vidacee, clients accessed the product via APIs. There were a few client services customizations that had us do IA/UX, graphic design and development.
They hired me because they needed someone to lead their agile sprints and address leading IA/UX and direct graphic designers when needed. But, before they started that, I was integral in *defining* what that process would be along with the VP of Tech, CTO, and the tech lead in Cluj (where I got to spend a month working on this.)
I also helped to facilitate the VP of Tech and Engineering, the CTO and the head of client services to prioritize what they wanted/needed in each sprint and in focused, short meetings that I ran, and often refereed, I would help them whittle down the next sprint's item list to a do-able set of work.
We heavily used Jira and Confluence because we were a globally distributed team. We were in NYC but the developers were in Cluj, Romania, Beirut, and a few scattered in China, Brazil and California.
For each sprint, It was my responsibility to
• Maintain the sprint feature and bugs register for the sprint separated by component (Streamer and Transcoder each of which had its own version number per sprint.
• Inform management of features' release dates and version numbers.
• Make sure that the tech leads in Cluj, Beirut and Brasil assigned tasks to their developers and did not over- or under- assign any. (In Jira you can see what each developer is working on - it's great - and where that task is in the dev-QA-deploy process.)
• Check in daily on Skype with Cluj and Beirut and sometimes Brazil about progress. I was on a schedule where I'd wake up very early EST and work from home with them on Skype and in Jira in the morning.
• I made sure the build master was using the version numbers for each of the 4 components that matched what Jira said they should be.
• During QA I would UAT items that had a UI (There was an entire team in Cluj devoted to QAing the tasks via APIs), and got an OK (or a not OK) from the QA lead that all new component versions passed QA working together.
• With the tech lead compose release notes and known bugs notes for the upcoming release.
• Very early on Sunday mornings of deployments, checked in with the build master that the new product components were launched and that the QA team was smoke testing it.
• Got an OK (not not OK) from the head of QA and the build master that the new set of components together passed smoke testing. (Occasionally it didn't pass the smoke test and had to be rolled back.)
• When I got the OK from the tech lead on the newly deployed build, I would distribute the notification and release notes to upper management.
That may sound like a lot, but it was like second nature. I also loved being immersed in an environment with smart engineers and developers because they inspire me to learn every day that I work with them.