Technical Support is Part of DevOps Activities
July 01, 2015
What kind of issues does your team meet when the service is launched? Most likely there are alerts like lack of CPU or memory resources, performance issues or broken components. Also you have bugs and exceptions reported from exception monitoring tools. All this happenes because of scripts and exception handlers your team built into monitoring infrastructure or configured there. But there are lot of issues can't be found automatically, like:
- UX issues like "how to find that function..." or "what should I do to get it work".
- Logical issues or bugs when a customer expects the app behave another way then it does.
- Bug reports you didn't receive automatically because of missed checkpoints, exception handlers or something else.
You know it is very important to listen to customers and adjust your product to be more friendly and requiring less training. This will make your product more usable and successful and make your team less busy with resolving support tickets. If it does matter to you then just provide your customers with simple Help Desk they can submit their requests and get update on the state. There should be two ways to submit requests at least: send it via email and submitting web-form with details.
It is obvious, Help Desk is not the specific but additional channel to get issues related to your product or service. The exception monitorings, application and server monitorings are just other channels to get details of the technical debt. We kept this in mind when built the DevOpsBoard service. The service aggregates issues, exceptions and bug reports from every channel and makes it visible to the whole team as cards on the task board.
Every member of your team is busy with his tasks. You wouldn't like to dedicate a person for the support activities. That is why it is required to build very lightweight process of technical support. Lets have a look at typical support activities:
- Decide the way a ticket should go further - resolve it quickly, wait for details or pass to development and operations to reproduce and fix.
- Update FAQ and other help yourself documentation.
- Notify a customer when the ticket is closed.
With the help of DevOpsBoard notifications on comments and status changes are sent automatically to customers and team. You can use automatic actions to move tickets directly into DevOps pipline, to assign priority and responsible person based on subject or description of a request. To put a ticket into DevOps pipeline manually any team member just drops corresponding card into DevOps backlog instead of duplicating it in issue tracker used by developers or operations.
As you can see there is no additional work at all, so any member of your team can play the role of support engineer from time to time.