IS480 Team wiki: 2011T1 AUSTIN

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Final Wiki Progress Summary

Feel free to browse AUSTIN Final Wiki.


Team Goals

1. Achieve the requirements set by the client. We find it meaningful and interesting to work with the client and technical team to be able to help them to bring their current video platform to a higher level.

2. Learn from each other. Other than applying what we have learnt in SMU-SIS, by learning from each other, we are able to get a greater exposure through communicating with different stakeholders and learning new technologies.

3. Learn the key differences between what we learn in school and real world application, the importance in making business decisions that will affect the whole organization.


Our supervisor is Prof Kyong Jin SHIM (School of Information Systems,SMU)

Team Members

Name Email Roles
AW Ming Kun mingkun.aw.2009@sis.smu.edu.sg Lead Developer (Windows Service) & Business Analyst
Melvir Singh Sidhu S/o JAI S melvirssjs.2009@sis.smu.edu.sg Project Manager & Lead Developer (Web Application)
LI Ho Ting, Victor hoting.li.2009@sis.smu.edu.sg System Analyst & Assistant Project Manager
ONG Siying, Cassie cassie.ong.2008@sis.smu.edu.sg Design Analyst


Role Name Position Involvements
Sponsor / Client Nigel Harper ESPN Star Sports, Manager (Player Team)
  • Decide project deliverables
  • Provide better understanding of project requirements
  • Delegate project
Technical Lead Fawad Niazi ESPN Star Sports, Assistant Manager (Technology Team)
  • Provide technical knowledge of new technologies
  • Describe functional breakdown from entire project scope
  • Provide FTP and Database servers

Roles and Responsibilities

Role Description
Project Manager (PM)
  • Responsible for all communications and updates through liaising with project sponsors and team, as well as project supervisor
  • Manages the project resources, deployment and task allocation for project completion
  • Develop project plans
Business Analyst (BA)
  • Assist the PM in all communications with project sponsor and project supervisor in projects requirements and changes
  • Analyse the business and technical areas of the project
  • Responsible for User Acceptance Test (UAT) and test plans
Lead Developer (LD)
  • Provide support and guidance to resolve possible technical conflicts
  • Ensures that the codes and databases are well-maintained
  • Responsible for exploring and learning new technologies and development platforms
  • Responsible for setting up the environment for UAT internally and externally
System Analyst (SA)
  • Develop project plans and schedules
  • Prepare detailed diagrams based on the project requirements and functions to assist the development team
  • Responsible for the development of all documentations
  • Responsible for assisting the lead developer in meeting the project requirements
Design Analyst (DA)
  • Responsible for designing of interfaces for project sponsor
  • Manage and update the team's wiki page
  • Ensures that all designs are implemented as per project schedule after project sponsor's approval and team acceptance

Project Overview

Project Description

What is A.U.S.T.I.N

AUSTIN is a proposed core internal content distribution system that will be used by ESPN offices worldwide. Content is uploaded onto AUSTIN by employees in their respective offices (E.g., Singapore and India). Uploaded content will be encoded and distributed to the various platforms (mobile, web or TV) locally.

Purpose of AUSTIN

Existing System (also known as ST&VE) lacks critical features. ST&VE is only accessible via the local network and has a whole lot of manual work, which disrupts productivity and increases costs for the company. In addition, distribution of content is local and not international. This has resulted in redundancies. ST&VE does not have any management features at the moment that makes it not viable for the end-user to be a normal working professional without programming/database knowledge, as he has to go into the back-end to manage the system.

Proposed AUSTIN System will allow worldwide submission of assets. AUSTIN will incorporate management functions and will also automate these manual tasks with a central new windows service that integrates seamlessely with the encoder. The encoder is already in place. AUSTIN system, in particular, the windows service will interface with the encoder.

Project Deliverables

AUSTIN is expected to roll out on 2/28/2012 and is divided into 3 critical building blocks namely:

1. AUSTIN Web Application

2. Windows Service

3. AUSTIN Publisher

Building blocks.jpg

AUSTIN Web Application

The functions of the new AUSTIN Web Application, on top of the existing functions which will have to be re-coded for better code documentation and readability, can be sub-divided into 3 key areas: Create Video Metadata, Dashboard, Settings

Refer to AUSTIN Functionalities for our project functionalities.

Project Schedule & Milestone

Introduction: Broad Overview

We will be using the Rational Unified Process (RUP) for our project. This is based on a set of building blocks with specific roles, work products and tasks for each iteration. There will be four main phases (Inception, Elaboration, Construction, Transition) with 5 milestones in total for the team to give ourselves a self check frequently.

In addition, we will be having multiple tests to ensure the smooth delivery of our system at the end of the project.

1. Systems Integration Test (SIT)

2. User Testing (UT)

3. Operational Readiness Test (ORT)

Inception and elaboration phases will include business modelling, decision on roles and functionalities, system and database architectural design and decision on scope. The 6 sub-phases in the Construction Phase will involve developing the core functions which are managed by the Windows Service at the back end.

Project Timeline


For a detailed breakdown of the project schedule, refer to AUSTIN Project Schedule.

Planned vs Actual


Project Deliverables

User Testing

Web Application

Windows Service

Addressing some concerns

Most importantly, this system will be deployed internationally thus we have planned longer construction and transition phases for testing and troubleshooting any compatibility issues such as FTP configurations and ensuring that we adhere to the standard secure protocols of ESPN with essential buffer time included. We will also be developing the necessary APIs for other systems to link up with ours for sustainability.

Lastly, the product launch is scheduled on end February 2012 after passing SIT, UAT & ORT in favour of ESPN's requirements. We will have 4 weeks to prepare to final presentation and the final documentation in March before the official completion of the project.

Project Initiation with ESPN

Refer to AUSTIN_Meeting_Minutes for our team meeting minutes.

Project Risks

Our project involves system integration internationally thus we foresee compatibility issues with international servers/databases. As such, we will be devoting more time during the construction and transition phases accordingly to perform intensive system integration tests and ensuring that we will not be faced with any possible delays which might result from failed tests.

However, another main project risk will be the continuous additional new requirements by our sponsors which will severely hinder our project delivery in future. Therefore, we had countless meetings with our sponsors over the past few weeks to finalize all the deliverables before we even set out to embark on the major project.

By deploying a system fully developed by students of SMU will further enhance the reputation of us being a world class university capable of delivering the goods as promised without being short on quality. Therefore, we have definitely secured sponsorship and uttermost commitment from our sponsors ESPN to diminish this risk.

Our team was formed with an equal share of expertise and skills. Ming Kun and Melvir are more experienced with development while Victor will be handling the project management details and Cassie will be involved heavily in the design and documentation to ensure a smooth running of our project. With this, we are confident that the team will be able to handle any unexpected risks with our skills diversification. The skills distribution diagram below has helped us to know which area one should be focusing on.


Development Tools


Development Environment Considerations

AUSTIN Development will be done on our laptops. We will simulate the AUSTIN System on laptops. After which, ESPN will provide us with the third party software that will be required after we deploy our solution on their live environment.

Third Party Tools involved:

Aspera FileConnect


Interface with Aspera FileConnect

In the live environment, Aspera FileConnect is used between the overseas office and the central repository which is also known as the FTP (Source folder). Windows Service will only be able to retrieve assets available in the Source Folder. If asset does not exists, it will prompt the user.

Risk Mitigation

For example, the encoder is not available our machines. Therefore, we simulate the actual live environment where the Windows Service will copy the asset from the source folder to the watch folder. Because the encoder is a blackbox, after a certain a period of time, the Windows Service will try to get to access the output folder to see if the file is generated. This is actually what will take place in the live environment. The simulated environment is much similar to the live-environment.

Interface with Encoder

In the live environment, Windows Service will drop an asset in the Watch Folder. The encoder will process the asset automatically without any user intervention. Any assets in the Watch Folder will be processed and generated in the output folder.

Risk Mitigation

For example, the encoder is not available our machines. Therefore, we simulate the actual live environment where the Windows Service will copy the asset from the source folder to the watch folder. Because the encoder is a blackbox, after a certain a period of time, the Windows Service will try to get to access the output folder to see if the file is generated. This is actually what will take place in the live environment. The simulated environment is much similar to the live-environment.


ESPN has provided us with FTP server space and database server which once again reiterates their full commitment in this project.


As AUSTIN will be hosted on cloud with worldwide exposure upon its completion, it will serve as a crucial backend system that supports the front-end platforms through real-time data processing. To enable huge content transfer (6 gigabyte or more) worldwide and to do that requires a cutting edge tool such as ASPERA FileConnect. The AUSTIN system needs to integrate with this FTP mechanism to fully enable worldwide delivery of assets and to ensure that is it processed successfully, this is done using sleek jQuery and AJAX real-time error(s) validation

In addition, there is a use of ADO.Net LINQ database interaction where the uploaded videos will be updated in real-time, allowing the end-users to have the ability to check for pre-loaded videos and minimize the chances of duplicate videos. Last but not least, the team has made use of version control software, GIT Bitbucker, that is maintained both by the team and the client who will be able to know the team's progress and the users in-charge of any changes.