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Case Study: Performance Unlimited

Published 09/08/2018

 

Client Name

Pittsburgh Pirates

Industry

Sports and Athletics

Problem Summary

The Pittsburgh Pirates wanted to give their strength and conditioning staff a way to track, measure and correlate qualitative and quantitative data to their athlete’s on-field performance.

For example, they wanted to see if their training regimen and guidance translated to on-field performance.

Solution Summary

Gunner Technology proposed a Progressive Web App that could be used by trainers, managers and players.

General Managers, for example, would have an admin level, read-only look into the data with the ability to create graphs and charts.

The trainers could create qualitative questionnaires such as recovery survey which would rank players based on their answers to the questions.

For example, a player who answers “A” on the question: How many of hours of sleep did you get last night?

A) 7 or more
B) 5-7
C) 3-5
D) Less than 3

Would get four points (3 for B, 1 for C and 0 for D).

The trainers could customize the scoring and create as many surveys as they wanted.

The players could take these on their own, or the trainers could enter responses for them.

Similarly, the app would allow the trainers to enter players training data such as 40 yard dash time and bench press numbers.

We would then built a back-end parser that would consume data from Stats, Inc and tie it to each player.

Challenges

The main challenge was coming up with a clean UI that would allow players and trainers to fill in the information extremely quickly.

The players are not happy about any extra work so any sort of impediment would irritate them.

Also, it was a somewhat political balance because we were potentially hurting the trainers who we were working with to build the application.

What if there was no correlation between their advice and performance? Or worse – an inverse correlation.

Finally, this was in the early days of PWAs so getting the app to function in areas without data reception was tricky.

Technical Approach

We went with a PWA because the app needed to function on a slew of different devices. Desktops, laptops, projectors, TV screens, phones, tablets, etc.

For design, we used the Bootstrap UI framework which we used to provide a user experience similar to Twitter and we also built-out a leaderboard to entice the players into wanting to do the surveys to compete with one another.

On the backend, we went serverless with node AWS Lambda, DynamoDB and Kinesis.

We relied on the open source D3 JavaScript library to generate the charts and graphs.

Project Management Approach *

We took an Agile Scrum approach to this project with two, one-week research sprints to start the project followed by development sprints until completion.

Each development iteration lasted a week and was followed by a demo to stakeholders who offered consistent feedback and guidance.

Project Roles

Cody Swann – Project Manager

Cody Swann – Solutions Architect

Dary Merckens – Front End Developer

Dary Merckens – Back End Developer

Proficiencies Used

  • Kinesis
  • AWS
  • Lambda
  • Serverless
  • DynamoDB
  • Agile
  • JavaScript
  • PWA
  • Service Workers
  • Bootstrap
  • CSS
  • HTML
  • Agile
  • Scrum
  • Continuous Deployment
  • Continuous Development
  • Git
  • Node
  • D3

Lessons Learned

The stakeholders were some of the best we’ve had.

They bought into the agile process even though they were knew to it and were involved every step of the way.

They understood cost-implications of feature requests and how to balance good-enough vs perfection.

We really learned from this the importance of getting buy-in from the client with your project management approach.

Benefits

We are under agreement to not share the results of the application, but, let’s just say we wouldn’t mind if you took a look at their record before and after the launch of the platform.

Why Gunner Technology?

The Pirates were intrigued by our experience at ESPN.

Also, as former athletes, we were able to communicate with the client and understand the requirements right away.

To seal the deal, we offered them two weeks of free development to showcase what we can accomplish.

Project Screenshots

performanceunlimited (1) - Cody Swann.png

Architectural Diagram

JustGivingImage1a - Cody Swann.PNG