How much are you willing to put into Golf?

A day in the life of TEC AM team.

“Be where the action is!”

This is what I thought when joining the R&A Golf team that was preparing for the single most important event of the year: The 148th Open Championship. From the outside, it looks like another great Digital event project that the agency has, so I believed it to be: “Oh well, I’ll just pick tasks from the board” … Of course, you need to know your Sitecore, learn about golf and understand the event. It is a great project because I had the opportunity to be part in designing and development of a new website with a new player scoring engine. In my mind, it looked quite simple:

After a while and multiple tasks developed it was actually much more clear what we were doing. For sure it was not your usual project and the level of complexity was defiantly above from what one can find when working as a developer. Everything looked like it followed an agreed pattern:

  • • Planning and preparing the event
  • • Infrastructure Load and Performance testing
  • • Third-party services coordination and synchronization
  • • Website and scoring engine adjustment based on traffic

How was your journey?

Days were passing with a usual software development life cycle: we build things based on the requirements, deploy them and then test them. I noticed that testing is important for this project. Everything was tested and retested. Checking functionalities multiple times and going through a full Testing Week where event rehearsal was done, made sense only when entering the Event mode. Now, this was special, with something extra on top! It wasn’t just a project that is live but is an event that is live and going to be live during 8 full days. The image now became much more complex: from the people that were onsite where the event was taking place, to us in the Event room.

Now it made sense why so much effort was put in this project. The Open event reflects the result of hundreds of hours of preparation and testing, agile mindset and constant communication.

During event..

The Cluj Event support team is in constantly overviewing the Website infrastructure, analytics and other technology involved in delivering a unique experience to users. This happens also through a swift communication with Client and our company representatives in the Digital Media Centre, ensuring we get first-hand information about changes, updates or potential disruptions of the initial plan. Strive for perfection and great user experience is in the core of all Engineers, Content delivery representatives and website managers throughout full 8 days of the event.

Because things were all the times happening, I thought is going to be chaos. But actually, things were very smooth:

  • • Roles and responsibilities are assigned to people and subject matter expertise is built throughout the planning and build phase.
  • • Within the team Engineers focus from Infrastructure and Cloud Management, Sitecore and Website Management, Scoring engine and Business Knowledge to support change.
  • • The team is split throughout the 16-18 hours in the office, following shift patters to secure people are in their best capability to react fast and solve issues by reducing risk.
  • • A Kanban approach enables people to engage directly on the raised situation, being monitored throughout the day by Technical Leadership both from the Event room as well as Media Centre. All this happens by constant engagement and coordination from the Customer side:
    • • Issues or Changes are raised in an Issue Management tools: online and physical board.
    • • Severity and impact is communicated by AM Engineers. Priorities are assigned by clients.
    • • Risk is mitigated by following a clear Path to Production strategy that secures 0 Downtime.

How was the communication with The Open During Event?

From what I’ve seen the key to the event is Communication. Both Client and TEC Digital Agency demonstrate a clear vision towards offering a unique user experience to golf fans and sports enthusiasts. During the 8 days of the event, all people involved make sure are available through multiple communication channels. Communication Milestones are planned throughout the days to enable all changes on the website that need to reflect the event schedule: from the initial Tee times to the Scores in the Player Score card; from the Stream Video management to the Course tracking. Everything is done in an exact and precise manner and reflects months of preparing and business and technological understanding.

TEC Leadership team was in constant communication with the Representatives in the Media Centre to ensure that throughout the 8 days, AM Engineers are clear on the priorities and tasks they need to engage into. Everything is filtered and the communication path is followed through a pre-established RACI Matrix, to ensure there is a fall back mitigation for everything.

Nicoleta NEGHINA .NET Developer