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Ongoing customer support

The platform requires regular support and maintenance activities to remain in a compliant state. If you are on support and you can’t complete any of the items personally, you are responsible for ensuring that an appropriate person does it. If you haven’t already reached out on Slack, reach out during standup to get visibility with the people who might best help.

Are you new to platform support?

Support Rotations

The cloud.gov team utilizes a staggered pair rotation for support. Support assignments last two weeks. One team member exits support duty each week, with a new member starting their two-week rotation. With the other support team member in the middle of their two-week rotation, we ensure continuity of situational awareness, task handoffs, and work in progress.

The support team is not required to “pair” in the traditional sense unless the task as hand necessitates doing so. Having a pair rather than a single person on support allows us to better serve our customers by:

  • Improving situational awareness and communication through necessary, regular check-ins
  • Increasing debugging capabilities and problem-solving capacity (cloud.gov is a vast system to reason over, and two minds are better than one)
  • Providing a higher likelihood of coverage during planned or unplanned absences
  • Allowing for multiple tasks to be worked at once

As the support team has free cycles, they can pick up tasks from the backlog designated with the support-team label. These tasks aim to improve our ability to support the platform by paying down technical debt, adding automation, improving monitoring and alerting, or adding to system documentation such as run-books. Because support team members inevitably face interruptions that cause context switching, the support-team backlog is groomed by the team with this in mind. These stories are not mission-critical, easy to pick up, and easy to hand off to another team member.

Zendesk Support Process

  1. All support requests should be answered within Zendesk. Avoid responding via Google Groups or email, since it will distort our metrics.
  2. There are two people designated to the support team every week. Each week, one person is swapped for another to ensure that there is overlapping context awareness.
  3. At the start of the week, the support team should schedule a 15min meeting to review unresolved issues from the previous week.
  4. Every day, the support team should set up a brief meeting to review and assign New and Open issues. If they like, they can cowork or just assign themselves issues.
  5. For specialized tickets, like security and compliance, the support team can assign tasks to other team members, but they will need to follow up and make sure the status of the ticket is accurate.
  6. Before the day is over, the support team will ensure that all New issues are acknowledged and set to Open or Pending.
  7. Everyone should join #cg-supportstream to get notifications on Slack. This can be useful to alert and coordinate with other team members.

Support Status

New

We’ve not responded. The support leads will respond to the customer before the end of day (5pm local time). If we do not know the answer, we let the customer know that we’ll get back to them within 24-48hrs.

Open

We’ve assigned the ticket but we’ve not responded, or the customer has responded, and the ticket is waiting on our input. We will use this if, for example, we require additional research. Open should not last more than a day and we should let the customer know if we need more time.

Pending

We’ve responded to the ticket and may get a response. If there is no further activity, the issue auto-closes in 5 days. A ticket can move back to Open for a day if a response from the customer requires additional research.

Solved

We’ve responded in a manner that does not expect a response.