Development to Deployment – Ensuring Seamless Support Transitions

Josh Hariz — 4 June, 2024

Two people sitting at a computer supporting one another

Software development and support represent two critical, yet intrinsically linked, stages of the software lifecycle. While development often steals the limelight for its role in creating innovative solutions, support is equally crucial— and at times—even more so. Ideally, projects would seamlessly transition from development to support, however this isn’t always the case. Insufficient documentation, vague business requirements and inadequate testing can all hinder this process. These challenges may lead to extended resolution times, difficulties in issue prioritisation, and ultimately, client dissatisfaction. Our experience has allowed us to find ways to bridge gaps, keep teams in sync and deliver positive client outcomes.

The Two-Way Relationship

In most projects, a dynamic interplay exists between support and development which can vary depending on the project lifecycle. For instance, in Software as a Service (SaaS) models, there is a continuous exchange as developers roll out features and support teams offer feedback for refinements and bug fixes. In more traditional models, development may precede support in a more linear fashion, but the feedback loop from support to development is still vital for ongoing improvements. We do our best to encourage open communication and the free exchange of ideas between teams, ensuring that both sides of the project are always aligned.

Competing Priorities

The challenge between development and support teams often boils down to competing priorities that stem from their fundamentally different roles within the project lifecycle. Developers often operate under tight deadlines and are tasked with the creation of robust features to address complex business needs. This drive frequently places a premium on speed and functionality, sometimes at the expense of creating detailed documentation and considering long-term support needs.

On the other hand, the support team’s primary focus is on the user experience post-deployment, dealing directly with issues and feedback from the end-users.

Their success hinges on having a thorough understanding of the software, which is significantly aided by comprehensive documentation.

At Chamonix, we recognise that divergence in priorities can create friction and inefficiencies if not properly managed. Therefore, we actively work to align these objectives by embedding the importance of support considerations within the development phase.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the gap between development and support requires a strategic approach that acknowledges and addresses the unique challenges each team faces. We’ve implemented several key initiatives:

  1. Integrate support considerations into development: We set aside dedicated time and resources for creating support materials like user guides, FAQs, and documentation during the development phase, treating them as essential deliverables.
  2. Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing: We foster an environment where developers and support staff engage in knowledge sharing sessions to exchange insights and feedback.
  3. Cross-pollinate teams: We occasionally rotate team members between development and support roles to enhance empathy and encourage more supportable solutions.
  4. Leverage documentation tools: We use tools that automatically generate documentation from code comments, reducing the initial burden on developers while keeping documentation closely tied to the codebase.

By implementing these strategies, we’ve helped bridge the gap between development and support while ensuring that our projects are built with both innovation and sustainability in mind. This holistic approach has proven to be a key factor in our ability to deliver high-quality, enduring solutions that meet and exceed client expectations.

The partnership between software development and support is pivotal to project success. Chamonix’s approach to fostering this relationship—through effective communication, detailed documentation, and proactive project management— underscores the equal importance of development and support. In doing so, we not only meet immediate project goals but also contribute to the longevity of any solution.

Discover more information on our Managed Services capability here.

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