At work, I’ve been involved in a new effort to overhaul how we handle the development support of our production software. As the Ops lead, that is something I am very passionate about, so I am excited to be involved in this effort. I have to admit that I’m somewhat of an idealist when it comes to projects at work, but I have this vision that production software live in production…
Under this ideal system, there is a team that meets regularly to evaluate and prioritize new feature requests, bugs, or chores that have come up with our production software. The team consists of those involved in supporting the software, those that use the software, and those that manage our long-term software portfolio. As a team, we discuss and come to terms with the relative priority of the different requests. By providing visibility on the process, and giving people the chance to say their peace, they gain trust that their issue will be worked when it is the most important and that they won’t feel like their time is wasted (in reporting the ticket) or marginalized (when they have to deal with the software issues).
At regular intervals, the development team dedicates time to the prioritized work. During this time, other technical staff that understand the impacts of the work on the overall system are engaged to help guide the work. Additionally, the individual that reported the ticket (or a knowledgeable proxy) is directly involved so that they can voice precisely what it is they want, help weigh alternatives, and ultimately ensure that the issue is resolved or the feature implemented satisfactorily.
As a piece of software ages, it is continuously updated to keep the most critical bugs from affecting users and to keep its feature set relevant for what users want. Further, it becomes clear when a piece of software is not being maintained, and we can evaluate it for sunsetting appropriately.
…While this is certainly an idealized view (and I know that reality doesn’t usually like to cooperate with idealism), writing it out hopefully illustrates how it all fits together.