Support process#

Overview of the support process#

Here’s a brief overview of our support process[1]:

  • A Community Representative sends a request to

  • This is triaged by our Support Triager team.

    • They assess whether they can resolve it quickly, and potentially do so.

    • If they cannot resolve it, then we raise this support issue with our engineering team.

  • If the issue is an Incident

    • We will designate an Incident Commander to orchestrate our efforts around the incident.

    • We will prioritize resolving it over everything else.

    • We will open a dedicated Incident issue to track its progress.

    • We will provide regular communication to the Community Representative as we investigate and work to resolve the issue.

    • We will notify them once the incident is resolved.

  • If the issue is a Change Request or Guidance Request

    • We will incorporate these requests into our work planning pipeline

    • We will prioritize with our other work based on impact, complexity, and whether we have dedicated funding for this work.

    • For these types of support, each community has a Support Budget that defines the hours we can sustainably spend on non-incident support requests.

  • When any support issue is resolved, we will communicate with the Community Representative to confirm with them.

Process for support triage and resolution#

Here is the process that we follow when triaging and resolving support requests.

Triage process#

The goal of the triage phase is to understand the Support Request, decide if it is related to an incident, and choose the appropriate resolution pathway.

This process is carried out in an ongoing basis by the Support Triagers.

  1. Monitor our support channels. We use FreshDesk for all support requests, and the Support Triagers should regularly keep an eye on this account for new requests. When a new support requests comes in, move to the next step.

  2. Read and understand. Within one working day[2], read the support request and try to understand what action would resolve it.

  3. Decide if there is an incident. Determine if a request meets the definition of an incident.

  4. Categorize the Support Ticket in FreshDesk.

  5. If an Incident, go to Incident response process.

  6. If not an Incident, go to Non-incident response process.

  7. End of rotation hand-off, see below.

Non-incident response process#

The goal of the non-incident response process is to bring standardization to our support response. This simple workflow tries to battle the bias towards a reactive response whereas it is also bringing some common patterns so all of our non-incident support responses are cohesive and shared among our support triagers. The current iteration of the workflow states each step and who should be responsible/accountable for the specific step, plus some other clarifications.

When a new ticket lands in Freshdesk under the support group and it is not an incident, we aim to respond within 24 working hours with a suggested next action. The next steps should be followed when resolving a ticket:

  1. Who: Support Triager

    First, we determine if the person initiating the support ticket is authorized to do actually do so. While we may interact with many folks from a community during resolution of a ticket, we constrain who can initiate a ticket to Community Representatives only. This prevents our support staff from being overwhelmed by tickets that need to be handled elsewhere. If the person initiating the ticket is not a community representative, the support steward should cc the community representatives, and ask for approval. The support steward may choose to use the following email template:

    Hello ,

    I’m cc’ing you on this support ticket we received from a member of your community. To streamline our support process, 2i2c is accepting support requests only from communtity representatives. Can you read through the request, and let us know how you wish to proceed?


    You can use this airtable as the source of truth for who can initiate support requests for which communities. You should find the username & password for 2i2c airtable account in the organizational bitwarden.

  2. Who: Support Triager

    First 24h initial ticket evaluation. In the first 24h a support ticket was opened, you should do an initial evaluation of the ticket and ask the Community Representative about any additional information you may need.

  3. Who: Support Triager

    Spend 30 minutes trying to resolve. If you believe you can resolve the issue within 30 minutes, try resolving it yourself.

    1. If you resolve the issue, then jump to the “Confirm resolution” step 10.

    2. If you don’t believe you can resolve the issue (or you couldn’t) in 30 minutes, jump to the next step.

    Follow the guide at Initial timeboxed (30m) ticket resolution checklist to try and reach to a decision.

  4. Who: Support Triager

    Open an issue in the 2i2c/infrastructure repository. If this is an issue that cannot be resolved within 30 minutes, then open a GitHub issue for the team to discuss.

    Open a “Freshdesk ticket tracker” type of issue. Use this to describe the ticket and provide as many details as possible about the results obtained in the first 30m investigation (if any).

    This issue will then be automatically added to the Eng & Prod board by the existing automation alongside the the type: support and the impact level specified in the form project fields.

    If the issue has a critical impact (we defer that first evaluation to the support triager), an additional ping to the support Slack channel is needed to boost the signal.

    What does critical mean?

    We recognize there might be some support-related issues that do not count as incidents, but they need a quick resolution (inside the current sprint window) because they are impacting the execution of desired or existing workflows (degraded experience) for our communities. Examples of those sorts of issues (requests) are:

    • Image refs updates

    • Profile updates

    • User storage limitations

    • Grafana (and Prometheus) failures

    Additionally and depending on the nature AND context of the issue (request):

    • Access to specific buckets

    • Authentication and authorization updates

    The support Triager should self-assign the critical issue and work on it immediately (this is now outside of the 30-minute timebox described in step 3).

    If the support Triagers (both of them) do not have the capacity to resolve the critical issue (ie. working on another critical issue, being out of their working time, etc.), they should ping the Engineering Manager (or the delegated person) so they can secure resources to resolve that issue on the fly (see step 8 below).

    The support Triager should not work on issues with impact lower than critical (unless they are assigned as part of the “planned” reactive work in the context of a running sprint (see step 8 below).

  5. Who: Partnerships representative and the Engineering Manager (or respective delegates)

    Revisit the impact metadata. Once a week (at minimum) the support view in the Eng & Prod board should be revisited to validate the impact level on support-related issues. Currently, we allocate a 30-minute working session every Wednesday (open to everyone to participate) to perform such impact revision and further prioritization (“planned” reactive) every other week (see step 8 for more details).

  6. Who: Support Triager

    Add a reference/link to the created engineering issue inside the Freshdesk ticket. You can use an internal note or make it public when you communicate back to the Community Representative in step 7. Also, move the status of the ticket to the “Pending” state.

  7. Who: Support steward

    Communicate status. Once we have an issue created to track the next steps, send a message to the Community Representative letting them know about the situation: after some initial investigation and no immediate fix, a follow-up issue was created that will be assigned in the future accordingly to the current prioritization. Also, let them know what the next steps will be. Here’s a template to help guide you:

    Hello { NAME }, thanks for sending us your request. We've concluded that
    this is not related to an outage or diminished service, so we'll incorporate
    this request into our team's work planning process. We'll send an update
    when we've got a plan for completing this request.
  8. Who: Engineering Manager (currently assigning reactive work) or someone delegated by the Engineering Manager

    Prioritize the request. Any non-critical issue should wait to be included in our sprints (on Wednesdays, every other week) to be worked out as part of the “planned” reactive work. Follow the how to prioritize Change and Guidance Requests guide to decide how we should prioritize this request relative to the other work we need to do. We should be fully transparent about the support queue to our Community Representatives if they ping us for updates.

    If there is any critical issue, we could assign people on the fly (during the sprint) to resolve them, but we should minimize that behavior (it should be exceptional cases).

  9. Who: Support Triager

    Resolve the request. When some engineer is assigned to a support-related GH issue in the context of a sprint, we move ahead with the investigation/resolution for one (1) sprint. If we failed to find a fix during that time, we communicate back that state in the Freshdesk ticket and resolve it.

    Exceptional tickets might need more than one sprint. These tickets need to be explicitly approved as exceptions.

  10. Who: Support Triager

Confirm resolution. Once we have resolved a support request, send a message to the Community Representative to confirm that we believe it is resolved. In FreshDesk, mark the incident as Resolved.

  1. Who: Support Triager

    Close the request. If the Community Representative confirms that their request has been fulfilled, consider this request closed. In FreshDesk, mark the incident as Closed.

End of rotation hand-off#

Below is the process describing the expectations before a triager’s end of rotation.

  1. Processed ~all unassigned tickets

Support triagers should aim to process each unassigned ticket before the end of the rotation.

This helps us ensure no tickets becomes stale and unattended, and nudges us to get tickets closed or resolved rather than stuck open or pending indefinitively. Tickets left open becomes weight over time.

  1. Unassign from tickets

Support triagers should by end of rotation unassign themselves as agents from all tickets.

This helps making responsibilities unambigious. A ticket’s assigned agent should be either nobody or one of the current triagers.

  1. Write handover notes

Support triagers should, when they unassign from a ticket ensure a handover note is available and up to date towards the end of the ticket.

A ticket handover note should summarize whats relevant to know in order to drive the ticket towards a resolution without needing to read through the conversation up to that point.

This should be written using the private notes feature of freshdesk.

Prioritizing non-incident support requests#

For support requests that are not related to Incidents, we have more flexibility in when to do the work. We cannot sustainably prioritize all support requests over our other work, so here is a rough prioritization order to follow:

  1. Requests that come with dedicated funding.

  2. Requests that impact many communities.

  3. Requests that align with our pre-existing goals.

  4. Requests that align with an upstream open source project’s goals.

  5. Requests from communities that haven’t used much Support Budget.

  6. Requests that have a high-impact on a single community.

  7. Our other work items

  8. Requests from communities that have no more Support Budget.

Ask the PMs

We have a few roles that are particularly useful for triaging and prioritizing our work items.

  • Our Project Manager should have visibility over everybody’s workload, and helps us prioritize work during sprints.

  • Our Product and Community Lead should understand which work items will be most impactful across our communities. (we currently do not have anybody serving in this role, but will soon!)

When deciding how to prioritize a Change Request, ask for guidance from these two team members.