Tag Archives: support engineer

Expanded support

Heat, floods, hurricanes and other unplannable events quickly lead to delays. We are proud that, despite everything, the handover of the keys to support went smoothly yesterday and the new volunteers now have access to the relevant systems to assist the existing team.

On the allegorical picture you can see Joost handing over the access rights to Aleš, Matthias and David. Also present: Critical Admin, President and Secretary.

Deutsch: Support verstärkt

Hitze, Hochwasser, Hurrikane und andere unplanbare Ereignisse führen schnell zu Verzögerungen. Wir sind stolz darauf, dass trotz allem die Schlüsselübergabe beim Support gestern geklappt hat und die neuen freiwilligen Mitarbeiter ab sofort Zugang zu den relevanten Systemen haben, um das bestehende Team zu unterstützen.

Auf dem allegorischen Bild seht ihr Joost, der Aleš, Matthias und David die Zugriffsrechte überreicht. Mit von der Partie: Critical Admin, Präsident und Sekretär.

Support Activity and Error Rates

In the last few weeks, our one Support Engineer (Werner, working mostly alone) has processed 65 support requests, 40 in the last week. Each case generates 5 mails. At the moment, the SE works with an absence of system, on a clunky silly mailing list, so there is no workflow assistance available to him. He has to remember each of those cases over the days-cycle time, and relate them to all the other emails.

Errors are inevitable. I’ve so far seen and counted 3 errors or blunders. Which means we’re talking around a 5% error rate. That’s to be expected when building a new system, working with fresh people, with minimal historical help, and working through a flood of a backlog with crappy technical support and poor information. Also known as, drowning.

(Obviously, in time, we want to reduce that to around 1-2%. When I did my 5-10 cases a month back, I generated at least one error. I’m not good enough for Support, I’m up in the 10-20% range.)

You can help us by pointing out the errors, directly, and suggesting what it is you would rather have seen. Positive suggestions are always appreciated.

an almost empty Triage mailboxThe Triage team — Wolfgang, Martin, Michael, Joost — have to this point worked through outstanding emails back to July this year. See the attached for a picture of today’s Inbox. *Yes, it’s more or less empty!* They got there last night, and have reached the target I set them, to get back to July.

That means a human has processed every one of approximately one thousand support emails received over the last 5 months. There’s probably dozens of errors in their processing, but that misses the point.

In the next month or so, some or all of the Triage people above will get through their ABCs and become SEs or Support Engineers. At that point Werner will have help. At that point, we’ll be able to improve our systems. And, we’ll need more Triage people!

You can help us by signing up to Triage. Let me know if you fit the profile: Assurer, great with mail / MUA, etc, time to handle lots of little, quick tasks, good with English reading (other languages an advantage), and you grok the community (CCA, DRP and you want to know more about Security Policy but were always afraid to ask…). IRC.

We need people outside the European evening slot…

interim, temporary, impatient Support t/l,
looking for any excuse to get sacked!