A Software Maintenance Team — What does it do? Why is it important?
At 10Clouds we pride ourselves on our software maintenance team, which is responsible for everything that happens to a client’s project post development. But what specifically does their work involve? And what value does it deliver to both the product owner and the end user? We speak to Olga Bełczewska, one of our Service Delivery Managers to find out more.
Sometimes when we think of a product life cycle, we see the end phase as the delivery of the product. But maintenance plays such a vital role after a product gets delivered. What exactly does your team work on?
The Maintenance Team plays a number of different roles. At the most basic level, we watch out for any bugs in a client’s project and fix them as quickly as possible. Even with a high quality software development process, some bugs are unavoidable - the trick is to spot them as quickly as possible. If a product has recently been launched on the market, there’s nothing worse than a poor user experience caused by a bug in the system. So this is where we come in and make sure that everything is running smoothly.
If the client wants minor changes made to the product post-release, we can implement these relatively quickly without the need to sign a contract. These products are handed over to us from one of our development teams, and as a company, we’re really invested in their success. We see ourselves as product delivery partners, which means that we’re there with clients at every step of their product journey - from discovery, through to the development of a scalable and effective solution, all the way to maintenance. We also sometimes take care of the maintenance of products that weren’t initially developed by our teams.
What different roles do you have on your team? What are each of these people responsible for?
In our team we have several roles:
Service delivery manager
That’s me. I’m responsible for the whole service delivery on many levels. Internally, I look after things like team building, setting priorities and processes. Externally, I work with clients on preparing contracts, monitoring client satisfaction and I act as a single point of contact in the case of more complex issues. I also set timelines, plans, and budgets.
They are responsible for processing all the tickets entering our Jira Service Desk maintenance queue. They also dispatch tickets and estimate the time that each task is likely to take. We use Jira Service Desk to report bugs from customers, manage them in an appropriate queue and allow for communication within the ticket.
They are the people who work on solving the given tasks. We currently have six people in the team and we are still growing.
They take care of our skilled developers and help them to broaden their skillsets.
What value do you deliver to clients?
The maintenance team essentially acts as a backstop, ensuring that the client’s product is working exactly as it should. We like to think of ourselves as stress-relievers - our clients entrust their product to us safe in the knowledge that we will spot any bugs. They are therefore freed up to focus on higher value tasks, such as thinking about the next step of their product development or scaling!
If the product is further developed in the future, the client also doesn’t need to worry about accruing additional technical debt, because our team is there to address any updates as and when needed. We can also work on refactoring and upgrading the solution to get rid of eventual technical debt in the existing solution.
What does a product owner risk by not having a maintenance team?
Without a maintenance team, the product is essentially left alone after development. So the risk is pretty big. If the product isn’t regularly updated and checked to see whether it’s working on all infrastructure levels, a number of usability issues might creep in. Also, if there’s a need for any small enhancements required by end users, assembling the team needed to create these might take some time. Importantly, there’s nobody to fix the bugs spotted by users. Please remember that keeping products up to date in a fast-moving digital world is crucial nowadays, especially from a security perspective.
What is your favourite part of your role?
There are many! But primarily I really enjoy building an incredible team which I can see brings value to our clients. We work so well together, that even when people leave the team to take responsibility in regular projects and grow there, they still want to take part in the maintenance related-tasks.
I’m also very fascinated by the projects that we work on. Lately we had the huge pleasure of maintaining a project in the cryptocurrency wallet sphere. We all learnt such a lot from the experience. We had to quickly get to grips with the solutions that our developers had implemented and then make sure that we keep the product working for its end users. It was so great to see its gains in the market. I love seeing the impact of our collective work!