The support stage of the Way of Working.
The support stage is focused on helping the product transition from active development to daily operation. The support team helps to monitor the production environment and focuses on keeping the product running smoothly. While the support stage is optional, planning and preparing for operational support in advance allows for a more detailed knowledge transfer to take place. For that reason, it is best to assume that all applications will go through this stage.
The support staff have a system to triage, replicate, diagnose and attempt to resolve any problems which may be encountered. The original development team can also be called upon if an escalation is required.
There are three types of requests which may be raised: bug fixes, feature enhancements or general inquiries. The requests which come in are typically allocated into a time box (which would have been pre-defined in a support agreement with the product manager), and a support member is assigned to work on them.
All requests which are submitted are given a severity level, which dictates how urgently the ticket is worked on. There are currently four levels of severity:
|Blocker (Severity 1)||Produces an emergency in which the software is inoperable, produces incorrect results, or fails completely.|
|Critical (Severity 2)||Produces a detrimental situation in which performance (throughput or response) of the software degrades substantially under responsible loads, such that there is a severe impact on use. The software is usable but materially incomplete. One or more mainline functions or commands might not operate, or the user is otherwise significantly impacted.|
|Major (Severity 3)||Produces an inconvenient situation in which the software is usable but does not provide a function in the most convenient or expeditious manner, and the user suffers little or no significant impact.|
|Minor (Severity 4)||Produces a noticeable situation in which the software use is affected in some way but can be corrected by a documented change or by a future, regular release from a development team.|
When a project is transitioning from active development into support, it is important that the handover of information is completed successfully. This reduces the risk of support team members having insufficient knowledge to solve a problem and needing to call in the original development team to assist.
Phase 1: Analysis and Transition
Goal: To complete a knowledge transfer from the development team, and ensure there is enough knowledge available for the support team
- Complete a knowledge transfer meeting with the development team
- Hold a comprehensive audit of the existing infrastructure, application and processes
- Complete an audit of the documentation, performance testing, and reports
- Create a gap and requirements analysis on the project backlog
Phase 2: Planning and Readiness
Goal: To complete any missing information identified in the previous step and fix any high-priority bugs currently in the product.
- Fixing immediate and important issues
- Create a Missing Documentation report
- Write an Overall Performance Enhancement report
- Create a summary of the current backlog
Phase 3: Continuous Maintenance and Operational Support
Goal: An ongoing phase to support the product.
- Advise the product manager on how the product’s performance could be enhanced or improved upon as its usage takes off.
- Provide proactive and preventative monitoring through regular usage and testing of the product
- Issue and bug tracking and troubleshooting
- Completing timely updates and requirements-based upgrades
- Maintain back-ups and provide recovery for the software
- Provide helpdesk or on-call support.