Your network of bloggers and journalists is a valuable asset, but are you making it work for you?

Mustr helps you and your team organise your network of journalists and bloggers. That way, you can concentrate on improving your relationship with them.

The functional essence of Mustr is to encapsulate the entire workflow of a PR agency for managing relationships with different stakeholders and sending out campaigns. These campaigns can be sent from within the platform to a filtered list of contacts.

This filter is very advanced as it is crucial for any PR agency or PR department in an organisation to get the right information into the right mailboxes.

Of course there’s much more to it, but we kindly invite you to have a more elaborate read on www.getmustr.com or request a demo.

FINN PARTNERSHIP

We partnered up with Finn near the end of 2015. It has been an intense collaboration ever since. Finn is one of those agencies where you’re invited in and you know right away that you’re in a great place. They’re not (yet) the largest in size, but they surely set an example. Finn serves as a knowledge center and a place where ideas can grow beyond traditional day-to-day operations of a PR agency.

Over a number of years, they’ve been building out an online platform called «Mustr». Their strategy so far had been a classical ‘lean startup’ approach: build a minimum viable product (MVP), release early, release often. Build - Measure - Learn. To get to product-market-fit, that was the right strategy, only the codebase couldn’t keep up given the many changes in the datamodel that took place over the years.

BUSINESS AND IT ALIGNMENT

For the development of Mustr we were keen on a best-practice Devops approach. Devops is short for ‘development’ and ‘operations’. Here’s how Wikipedia describes devops:

DevOps (a clipped compound of development and operations)
– a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other IT professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.

In terms of steps, here’s how devops can be considered:

  • Code

    Code Development and Review, continuous integration tools: we used CircleCI (continuous integration).

  • Build

    Version control tools, code merging, Build status: we used Github as version control tool.

  • Test

    Test and results determine performance: we wrote functional as well as non-functional tests.

  • Package

    Artifact repository, Application pre-deployment staging: we experimented with Docker for a little while but decided to postpone for a short while.

  • Release

    Change management, Release approvals, release automation: we made it easy to deploy from Github with automated check that all tests passed before we could deploy.

  • Configure

    Infrastructure configuration and management, Infrastructure as Code tools.

  • Monitor

    Applications performance monitoring, End user experience.

We set up a system with 4 roles:

Developer

dedicated developer for a number on months.

Project manager
from developer standpoint

made the technical translation of functional requirements.

Project manager
from client standpoint

dedicated person in the development team that pre-checked packaged builds.

End user

dedicated individual on customer side who performed testing and gave regular feedback.

Architecture

After a thorough data modelling phase, we decided on the system architecture. We opted for an API-based application with RESTful services between front- and backend. We used Github for versioning, CircleCI for continuous integration and Codeception as testing framework.

In the back-end we used PHP with the Symfony framework, and in the front-end we created a ReactJS application.

We kindly invite you to have a look at how smoothly the front-end app works your browser, as well as the fast interactions with the back-end system. Create a trial account at www.getmustr.com.

We were happy to be faced with a challenge that required strict project management. We learned a whole lot, and decided to base all our operations on this principle from now on. We keep exploring day after day, so we’re more than open to any feedback or input in this regard.