Taking the Pain Out of Support Engineering

045d790f605ea8d482380c5075d802d5?s=47 Cecy C.
April 18, 2018

Taking the Pain Out of Support Engineering

Production support is not a priority. No one on the team wants to work on support cards. Being on-call is a pain. Does this ring a bell? We've all been there! There is a better way to handle Support Engineering for your product. A way that will level up your team, and create positive support experiences for your customers. Drawing on 3+ years of Support Engineering at two different companies, I will share successful Support patterns and tools you can start using today to improve your product support.

045d790f605ea8d482380c5075d802d5?s=128

Cecy C.

April 18, 2018
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Transcript

  1. TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF SUPPORT ENGINEERING @cecycorrea // software

    engineer // context.io
  2. Hi, I’m Cecy Correa @cecycorrea Software Engineer, Context.IO

  3. A STORY

  4. IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER TO SOMETHING, DON’T SAY

    “I DON’T KNOW”
  5. “I DON’T KNOW, BUT I’LL FIND OUT FOR YOU”

  6. WHAT IS SUPPORT ENGINEERING?

  7. SUPPORT ENGINEER developer providing technical support to other developers /

    end-users / internally
  8. BACKGROUND Have worked support for Electronic Arts Return Path /

    Context.IO
  9. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES

  10. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically

  11. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically •

    Prioritize a relationship with support
  12. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically •

    Prioritize a relationship with support • Continuity
  13. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically •

    Prioritize a relationship with support • Continuity • Ownership
  14. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically •

    Prioritize a relationship with support • Continuity • Ownership • Boundaries
  15. SUPPORT ENGINEERING BEST PRACTICES • Learn to think critically •

    Prioritize a relationship with support • Continuity • Ownership • Boundaries • Tools
  16. PART 1: THINK CRITICALLY

  17. CASE STUDY: THE SIMS 3 LAUNCH

  18. WHAT THE STUDIO DID RIGHT • Gave support early access

    • Time to test • Generated TONS of support FAQs
  19. None
  20. IF YOU REMOTELY THINK THIS COULD BE AN FAQ, IT

    SHOULD BE AN FAQ
  21. SUCCESSFUL LAUNCH!

  22. PART 2: PRIORITIZE A RELATIONSHIP WITH SUPPORT

  23. CASE STUDY: MASS EFFECT 2 LAUNCH

  24. WHAT THE STUDIO GOT WRONG • Team did not get

    early access to game • Team didn’t get a chance to think critically, preemptively generate content
  25. WHAT THE STUDIO GOT RIGHT • After sharing data /

    volume of support calls, studio vowed to increase lines of communication with support
  26. GIVE YOUR TEAM ROOM TO THINK CRITICALLY

  27. PRIORITIZING A RELATIONSHIP WITH SUPPORT WILL GIVE YOU THE BENEFIT

    OF THEIR PERSPECTIVE
  28. ...AND THEY NEVER HAD RELEASE ISSUES AGAIN

  29. PART 3: CONTINUITY

  30. 2 PARADIGMS OF SUPPORT

  31. [assuming you have a support ticketing queue]

  32. DEDICATED vs. ROTATING

  33. DEDICATED SUPPORT One person / group whose sole job is

    to answer and solve support tickets
  34. ROTATING SUPPORT One person rotates weekly or bi-weekly as support

    “czar” or “firefighter”
  35. DEDICATED SUPPORT

  36. WHY DEDICATED SUPPORT WORKS • Business continuity

  37. WHY DEDICATED SUPPORT WORKS • Business continuity • Efficiencies found

  38. WHY DEDICATED SUPPORT WORKS • Business continuity • Efficiencies found

    • Relationship building
  39. WHEN DEDICATED SUPPORT STOPS WORKING • Can lead to burn

    out if you don’t have an exit strategy
  40. HAVE A SUPPORT EXIT STRATEGY FOR YOUR TEAM TO AVOID

    BURNOUT
  41. ROTATING SUPPORT i.e. WHY ROTATING SUPPORT DOESN’T WORK

  42. WHY SUPPORT ROTATION DOESN’T WORK • Little to no follow-through

  43. WHY SUPPORT ROTATION DOESN’T WORK • Little to no follow-through

    • No hand-offs, ownership confusion
  44. WHY SUPPORT ROTATION DOESN’T WORK • Little to no follow-through

    • No hand-offs, ownership confusion • Efficiencies lost due to time to ramp up
  45. HOW SUPPORT ROTATION CAN WORK • Create cards for support

    issues, add them to active sprint
  46. HOW SUPPORT ROTATION CAN WORK • Create cards for support

    issues, add them to active sprint • If it happened on your rotation, you still own it
  47. PART 4: OWNERSHIP & ESCALATIONS

  48. REMOVED vs. OWNED

  49. REMOVED ESCALATIONS Another team must fix, they don’t owe a

    reply to the end-user
  50. REMOVED ESCALATIONS CHALLENGES • No sense of priority when throwing

    over the fence
  51. REMOVED ESCALATIONS CHALLENGES • No sense of priority when throwing

    over the fence • Not directly accountable to an end-user / client
  52. REMOVED ESCALATIONS CHALLENGES • No sense of priority when throwing

    over the fence • Not directly accountable to an end-user / client • Not being graded on an SLA
  53. DON’T CARE AS MUCH IF YOU DON’T SEE THE IMPACT

  54. OWNED ESCALATIONS Another team must fix, but they own the

    reply / resolution
  55. WHY OWNED ESCALATIONS WORK • Business continuity, tracking

  56. WHY OWNED ESCALATIONS WORK • Business continuity, tracking • Keep

    client front and center
  57. WHY OWNED ESCALATIONS WORK • Business continuity, tracking • Keep

    client front and center • Increases accountability
  58. PART 5: BOUNDARIES

  59. BOUNDARIES WITH CLIENTS

  60. BOUNDARIES WITH CLIENTS • Establish support hours and stick to

    them
  61. BOUNDARIES WITH CLIENTS • Establish support hours and stick to

    them • Allow buffer time between responses
  62. None
  63. BOUNDARIES WITH CLIENTS • Establish support hours and stick to

    them • Allow buffer time between responses • Reinforce good behavior
  64. None
  65. None
  66. YOUR TEAM’S SANITY AND HAPPINESS COMES FIRST

  67. PART 6: TOOLS FOR THE JOB

  68. DOCUMENTATION

  69. DOCUMENT TROUBLESHOOTING & DOCUMENT THOUGHT PROCESS & DOCUMENT COMMON TASKS

  70. SUPPORT PLAYBOOK A living, ever evolving document with common support

    tasks, FAQs, troubleshooting
  71. THE SUPPORT PLAYBOOK • Helps reduce training time • Helps

    find efficiencies for automation
  72. EMPOWER YOUR TEAM WITH DATA

  73. DASHBOARDS, DASHBOARDS, DASHBOARDS DATA DOG GRAFANA

  74. LOGS, LOGS, LOGS SCALYR

  75. AUTOMATED API TESTS RUNSCOPE

  76. tl;dr

  77. A SUPPORT ENGINEER • Good at troubleshooting

  78. A SUPPORT ENGINEER • Good at troubleshooting • Good at

    communicating
  79. A SUPPORT ENGINEER • Good at troubleshooting • Good at

    communicating • Good at seeing patterns
  80. A GOOD SUPPORT ENGINEER IS A GOOD ENGINEER

  81. PRIORITIZING A CULTURE OF SUPPORT ENGINEERING means PRIORITIZING A GOOD

    ENGINEERING CULTURE.