CBC Digital Labs
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CBC Digital Labs

What does the CMS Team do at CBC?

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 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.

Team members: Aishwarya Sivaramakrishna, Frederico Santos, Jian Tong, Lucio Agostini, Melissa Pilapil, Michael Chen, Rob McGregor, Xiaodong Yan, Yvette Yan

Q1: Icebreaker (Self-introduction)

  • Yvette Yan: Hi, I am Yvette, and I am a Senior Java Developer on the CMS team. I joined CBC in December 2019, about 3 months after I moved from the USA to Canada. I used to work in a medical insurance company, and this is my first time working in a media company. It has been a totally different but very fun and fulfilling experience.
  • Aishwarya Sivaramakrishna: Hi, I am Aishwarya and I am an Agile Team Lead (ATL). I joined CBC in September 2019. I am an agile enthusiast and love working with people. As an ATL, I strive to build healthy and high performing teams through driving continuous improvement and influencing organizational change; coach individuals to achieve their full potential; optimize teams and organizations by developing the structure and process needed for great product development.
  • Frederico Santos: Hi, I am Fred, and I am a Senior Java Developer on the CMS team. I joined CBC in November 2015. I’m originally from Brazil and I moved to Canada in 2009. Before joining CBC, I worked as Software Architect designing and developing RESTful Web Services for a Real Estate platform integrated with Multiple Listing Services. I have also worked for the George Brown Office of Research and Innovation as programmer researcher for two years. In my spare time, I like to play with my dog or go for a walk in a nearby park. I love hiking and recently I started making videos for YouTube and sharing my experiences with friends and family. Check it out!
  • Jian Tong: Hi, I’m Jian and I’m the QA Developer for CMS team. While I am writing this I realized I have worked in CBC for 15 years! During this time, I learned, got help and support from everybody and improved. I really enjoy it. When I am free, I love to spend time with Skye, a beauty and fully-energized dog who believes she is a puppy forever :-) I also like vacations in the Caribbean, on cruises or in resorts. Hiking, camping are my favourite activities too.
  • Melissa Pilapil : Hi, howdy, hello, I’m Melissa, and I’m the Product Owner (PO) for the CMS team. I joined CBC in July 2017. I enjoy eating over cooking, recording videos over taking pictures and playing board games over playing video games. However, I do all of the above in my spare time.
  • Michael Chen: Hi, my name is Michael, and I’m a senior developer on the CMS team. I like travel, adventure and family life. As a hobby, I like to try all new things.
  • Lucio Agostini : Hello, Bonjour, Hola, Ciao, my name is Lucio and I am the servant leader for the talented people on the CMS team. As a hobby, I like to play live music and look forward to when I can do that again!
  • Xiaodong Yan : Hi, my name is Xiaodong and I am the architect for the CMS team. In my spare time I like to watch Sci-Fi movies/TV shows, I’m also a fan of NBA and hockey (Let’s Go Raptors! Let’s GO Marlies!)

Q2: What does your team do?

The CMS team focuses on managing and developing products that support text content creation and consumption. The work we do contributes to other areas of the cbc.ca ecosystem (e.g. content distribution and content presentation).

Q3: How does your team’s work fit in overall with CBC’s mission and Canadian audience?

The CMS team’s work contributes to CBC’s mission by supporting the text content management systems used by CBC’s content creators and by developing new tools and features to enhance their workflow. For example, we now have a feature that allows landing page layouts to be easily customized. We have also introduced changes that allow content creators to write content using syllabics.

Q4: What does a typical day look like for the team?

Our day usually starts with sharing standup updates in our slack channel, then huddles to discuss impediments, progress and other updates. Some of us may stay longer in the meeting to dive deeper into issues, while the rest of us will go back to work. We will collaborate on tasks when needed, or work individually through the rest of the day. Sometimes, we will have other meetings during the day to discuss future projects.

The CMS team follows the Scrum framework. We have an ‘All hands day’ each sprint, where we do most of the scrum events. We usually have our sprint review, followed by sprint planning and retrospective later in the day. We also have a CMS social late in the afternoon, during which we would play some online games, and socialize virtually.

Q5: What roles does your team have?

  • Senior Java Developer
  • QA Automation Developer
  • Technical Architect
  • Agile Team Lead
  • Product Owner
  • Senior Manager

Q6: What tools and technologies does your team use?

The CMS team uses a range of technologies in our products. Our main product is built on Java EE. We use Elasticsearch, Kibana, Filebeat, APM, and Solr for reporting and logging. Our main product is also currently hosted on AWS.

Q7: What are some recent exciting projects or products your team developed?

Here are some of the major projects that the CMS team worked on recently:

  • AWS migration: We migrated our main product from a vendor hosting environment to AWS. The benefits include scalability and autonomy in releases. We also have an AWS staging environment which we often use to experiment and learn.
  • 2020 Olympics — Flexible landing page layout: CMS has developed many new features as part of the 2020 Olympics project. The new features make page creation easier by making pages configurable. It used to take weeks to develop a landing page, now it takes less than an hour.
  • AMI (Abstracted Metadata Integration Service): This will support metadata standardization across multiple content management systems using the CBC Taxonomy (subjects, persons, locations, organizations, companies, and collections) as the single-source of truth.

Q8: What are some of the challenges your team faces?

  • Ensuring the synchronization of CMS content with other systems such as content delivery, media, image and text mining.
  • Determine the future of our CMS systems and consider if they are aligned with market trends and capable to continue serving CBC’s business needs.
  • Strike the balance in keeping the current system operational vs applying new product enhancements.
  • Decoupling content creation, delivery and page management to improve maintainability and scalability.
  • Keeping up with the new technologies.

Q9: Is your team hiring?

Not at this time, but as we grow as a team, new opportunities may arise!

Q10: What does your team do for fun?

Before the pandemic, we had various kinds of team activities such as bowling, ping pong, board games, and team lunches and drinks (Korean BBQ, Aroma, Amsterdam brewery are among the favourites). During the pandemic, we enjoy playing virtual games such as CodeNames, Drawful & Skribble.iO.



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