CBC Digital Labs
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CBC Digital Labs

What does the Audience Acquisition & Engagement team do at CBC?

Hands typing on a keyboard with CBC Digital Labs logo

This post is part of a series on “What teams do at CBC” in 2021. In each blog post we are celebrating one of our amazing teams in Digital Strategy and Products at CBC and will shed light on the fantastic work they do. Teams will be sharing about how their work fulfills CBC’s mission and serves our Canadian audience. Team members will also talk about what it is like to be on their team and what they do for fun.

Introducing the Audience Acquisition & Engagement team

Screenshot of AA&E team members on a Google Meet call
  • Kate Stewart: Product Manager, 7 years with CBC (top left corner of Google Meet screenshot)
  • Elizabeth Melito: Senior Developer, 6 years with CBC
  • Jonathan McCloy: Agile Team Lead (aka Scrum Master)
  • Vishaka Ariyaratne: Senior Developer, Quality Engineering, 9 years with CBC
  • Ray Shum: Senior Manager, 9 years with CBC
  • Mike Burroughs: Product Designer
  • Leigh Silverstein: Senior Developer, 6 months with CBC
  • Abdel Bolanos: Senior Developer, 4 years with CBC
  • David Choe: Senior Developer, 7 years with CBC

Q: What is your favourite CBC TV or Radio show?

  • Leigh: Favourite CBC TV show: High Arctic Haulers
  • Elizabeth: Great Canadian Baking Show and Schitt’s Creek
  • Vishaka : Marketplace and CBC Docs
  • Kate: Q

Q:What does your team do?

The Audience Acquisition and Engagement team is focused on reaching audiences on distributed platforms, engaging their interests and converting them to loyal CBC fans. Distributed platforms include Google AMP and Apple News. CBC’s email newsletters and the Member Centre for managing member data are also products that the team is responsible for. The team is an experienced, friendly, close-knit group of nine who value their work and the time they spend together.

Membership enables new ways to connect with CBC’s digital products while also increasing CBC’s understanding of its audience to create more relevant, valuable content and experiences for Canadians to enjoy.

Q: How does your team’s work fit in overall with CBC’s mission and Canadian audience?

It fits in two ways. We work with a lot of 3rd party services to help bring CBC content to Canadians, which helps to make our content more globally accessible. We are also helping to develop a new membership initiative within the CBC, which is all about creating a more fulfilling, tailored experience for our audience.

Q: What does a typical day look like for the team?

Usually it’s meetings and working on complicated changes to integrations between the CBC and 3rd parties. When you’re dealing with so many external factors, there are always breaking changes that need to be handled in a timely manner.

We work in an Agile environment (Kanban and Scrum), so we follow rituals like standups, grooming and retrospectives. We also meet with other teams to facilitate collaboration and share knowledge, and sometimes we get to do creative brainstorming for new features and products. Each of us always has a ticket or two (or five) in the JIRA board that we’re focusing on finishing up during the week, and there’s lots of opportunity to ask for advice, help or feedback from the team (code review, demos, peer programming and knowledge transfer).

Q: What roles does your team have?

We have a Senior Developer, Quality Engineering who confirms the quality of new releases, and writes automated tests so that we always know the code meets certain functional standards. We also have 4 Full Stack Developers, a Product Designer, a Product Manager who ties it all together, and an Agile Team Lead (ATL) who acts as the scrum master.

Q: What tools and technologies does your team use?

We manage a lot of different projects, so we work with a lot of different languages, tools, and technologies. On the backend we generally use NodeJS, usually just with a barebones express setup. We also use PHP for certain projects, and Python for some of our Selenium based tests. On the front-end we seem to mostly use ReactJS, sometimes with a hint of Redux. We’ve found a lot of use for relational databases, and we generally use Postgres for those needs. From a container perspective, we use OpenShift technology to help us package and deploy different products. For unit testing, we use Jest or PHPUnit.

  • QA Automation: Robot Framework and Cypress
  • Accessibility testing: axe-core, and browser plugin automation tools such as Wave, ANDI, headingsMap, aXe and a few more
  • Other: BrowserStack (for testing on different desktop and mobile web browsers)

Q: What are some recent exciting projects or products your team developed?

We recently took on the membership project, and we’ve been working at migrating the old member centre to the main CBC website. The membership project was built in React, but it was done a few years ago, so there were lots of little changes that needed to be made. Sometimes big changes. The main CBC website is also interesting because performance and SEO is a big deal, so everything is server side rendered and bundled together with very aggressive code splitting.

Q: What are some of the challenges your team faces?

We integrate with a lot of external partners, and getting everything to behave consistently across endless environments, devices, and internet conditions is extremely challenging. Sometimes you’re trying to debug from a minified library, sometimes you’re dealing with documentation that doesn’t match an SDK. You have to get creative, and you have to be ready to give up the ideal solution for the working today solution.

Q: Is your team hiring?

Yes we are but the deadline just passed for this Product Designer, Membership & Personalization services vacancy!

To join our other teams at CBC, check out our current openings here.

Q: What does your team do for fun?

Birthday celebrations, trivia, pie day (before the pandemic) and online party games.

Q: What is your approach designing products for the general public?

We’re in the enviable position of getting to hear from our audience regularly, directly through their replies to our newsletters and through reports from our National Client Services team. It helps us keep a pulse on what the audience’s expectations are. As we delve into the services we will provide to CBC members, we are assessing potential value propositions via surveys, user tests, card sorting studies and A/B testing. The goal is to understand audience needs in a light-weight way, so we can decide where to spend our development efforts to the greatest effect.

To join our teams at CBC, check out our current openings here.

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Telling stories about who we are, what we are doing, what we are learning, and how we are making decisions as we work to create the best possible experiences for Canadians in digital spaces.

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CBC Digital Labs

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