Overview of Hearst Communications
Hearst is a leading global diversified media, information and services company. Its major interests include ownership in cable television networks such as A&E, HISTORY, Lifetime and ESPN; global financial services leader Fitch Group; Hearst Health, a group of medical information and services businesses; transportation assets including CAMP Systems International, a major provider of solutions for managing maintenance of jets and helicopters; 33 television stations which reach a combined 19% of U.S. viewers; newspapers such as the Houston Chronicle, San Francisco Chronicle and Times Union; more than 300 magazines around the world, including Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Men's Health and Car and Driver; digital services businesses such as iCrossing and KUBRA; and investments in emerging digital entertainment companies such as Complex Networks.
Heart’s front-end site rendering team of 20 engineers builds and maintains a platform that powers the customer-facing experience for 175 online magazines. The team uses multiple tools for communicating and sharing information, including Slack, Jira, GitHub pull-requests, and email. In addition, the team is mostly distributed across the US, and from time to time they work with international teams as well, where the ability to share information contextually is even more important.
As the team became larger, important conversations about the code were scattered across their various development tools and systems. It was becoming increasingly common for team members to misunderstand a key decision because they could only see part of the discussion, or altogether miss key conversations and information exchanges. They needed a solution to consolidate team communication and make information about the code readily accessible to all team members. Enter CodeStream.
The Hearst Front-End Site Rendering team derived the following benefits from CodeStream:
The team uses CodeStream as the central communications hub for their several development tools and systems.
The speed of getting questions answered has greatly accelerated. Previously, an engineer would have to go to the source code to share or understand context. Because CodeStream links comments and discussion to the code they refer to, the friction and overhead are completely eliminated.
CodeStream’s latest in-IDE code review feature has given the team a fast and easy way to request early feedback on new code, so work-in-progress is being reviewed even before being committed or pushed. This reduces the chances of a team member going down a coding rabbit hole that could cause painful re-work later in the cycle.
Overall, the team is better aligned, communicating about the code earlier, and code quality has improved.
The Bottom Line
“Great communication is essential for any software development team, but as your team grows, sharing key information about your code simply becomes harder to do. Important conversations become fragmented across different tools and systems, and for teams with remote workers, this is even a bigger problem. For our team at Hearst, CodeStream is the missing tool that helps engineers discuss and review code earlier and more often, and it saves that information alongside the code where it matters most. No tool is perfect, but I give CodeStream 9 out of 10.”
- Alfredo Lopez, Director of Engineering, Hearst Communications