How the triage pe­riod works for WorkingMouse sup­port

SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

The WorkingMouse sup­port model is a lit­tle dif­fer­ent to your con­ven­tional ‘SLA based’ sup­port model. Rather than cre­at­ing a com­plex tiered sys­tem, we pro­vide a monthly, sin­gle level sup­port model. Triage will de­ter­mine if the is­sue falls un­der three cat­e­gories:

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To sum­marise the graphic, clients can log as many tick­ets as they like for a base­line fee and choose which of those tick­ets to re­solve. All tick­ets logged re­ceive a triage pe­riod, which is in­cluded as part of the base­line fee. It’s im­por­tant to un­der­stand that a re­lease does not fall within the triage pe­riod. A beta re­lease, the prod­uct owner per­form­ing user ac­cep­tance test­ing and a pro­duc­tion re­lease re­quires mul­ti­ple stake­hold­ers to align and ap­prove the work. We rec­om­mend group­ing tick­ets to­gether to make ef­fi­cient use of the re­lease process (similar to an it­er­a­tion).

The ticket is treated ac­cord­ing to the cat­e­gory it falls within.

Defect

If the Defect is known (ie in the Backlog and not pri­ori­tised), then the client will be given an es­ti­mate to fix the is­sue and have the ap­pli­ca­tion re-re­leased. They will then de­cide if they wish to en­gage in the work. If the Defect is new and it can­not be re­solved within the triag­ing win­dow then the client will be pre­sented with an es­ti­mate to rec­tify the de­fect and will de­cide if they wish to pro­ceed.

Refinements

The Refinement will be es­ti­mated and pre­sented to the client. They will then de­cide if they would like to pro­ceed with the work. The Refinement will be added to the Backlog if the client de­cides not to pro­ceed at this time but chooses to add it to fu­ture de­vel­op­ment.

Improvement

As per Refinements, Improvements will be es­ti­mated and pre­sented to the client.

Why is a triage pe­riod needed?

Nothing is built with­out an im­ple­men­ta­tion plan and proper scop­ing. This is one of the most im­por­tant lessons that we high­light at the be­gin­ning of a pro­ject. That same prin­ci­ple ap­plies even af­ter the first build of the ap­pli­ca­tion is live.

What is it?

The triage process starts with a re­view of the pro­ject doc­u­men­ta­tion. This can mean re­vist­ing the epics and user sto­ries from de­vel­op­ment as well as the ac­cep­tance cri­te­ria and user ac­cep­tance tests. This process helps de­fine if the ticket is a de­fect, re­fine­ment or im­prove­ment. The ex­act na­ture of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will change de­pend­ing on the re­quest. For ex­am­ple, a ticket that in­volves a de­fect will need that bug to be repli­cated as part of the triage. This will al­low the sup­port team to de­ter­mine why the bug is oc­cur­ring and pre­sent back a so­lu­tion on how it can be re­solved.

This may not al­ways be the case. There may be re­quests that are less or more com­pli­cated than oth­ers. The most im­por­tant point to note on the triage pe­riod is that a res­o­lu­tion path will be rec­om­mended.

Don’t ex­pect mir­a­cles in a triage pe­riod

One key point we want to com­mu­ni­cate is do not ex­pect com­plex bug fixes or new fea­tures within a two hour triage pe­riod. The key to a good re­la­tion­ship with your soft­ware de­vel­op­ment com­pany is un­der­stand­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tion. The point of the triage pe­riod is to de­ter­mine the best course of ac­tion go­ing for­ward. In some rare cases, like chang­ing text or an im­age the ticket may be able to be re­solved, pend­ing a re­lease. But these are rare cases. The ticket will be re­solved out­side of the triage pe­riod, at the re­quest of the prod­uct owner. The ben­e­fits of the sin­gle level model are out­lined be­low.

The ben­e­fits

One of the great­est ben­e­fits of a sin­gle level sup­port model is that con­trol rests with the client. Different sup­port mod­els try to pre­script the sup­port op­er­at­ing rhythm. The is­sue with this is that over time, the level of sup­port needed can change dra­mat­i­cally. For ex­am­ple, there will nat­u­rally be more sup­port re­quired as soon as an ap­pli­ca­tion is re­leased due to an in­crease in us­age. As a prod­uct owner, you may log 15 tick­ets in the first month ver­sus 2-5 tick­ets in sub­se­quent months. The ba­sic sup­port model does­n’t pe­nalise those fluc­tu­a­tions.

The WorkingMouse sup­port mis­sion is to save the day. Support is there for those ur­gent and blocker is­sues but also helps as a re­port­ing mech­a­nism to build a pro­ject back­log for the next round of scope and de­vel­op­ment. Contact us if you have any fur­ther ques­tions about the triage pe­riod and the sup­port model.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yianni Stergou

Marketing en­thu­si­ast and FIFA ex­tra­or­di­naire

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