fix4all: Developer Rotation on the Support Team

Background

The support team fields a wide array of questions from customers, and we as the company learn quite a lot about ways to improve GitLab just by helping our customers. In addition, sometimes customer-reported bugs get addressed in a timely manner, but other times they remain unfixed for quite some time.

Introducing fix4all

fix4all is a rotation where one developer–or anyone in GitLab–will spend a week of his/her time helping the support team. There are several goals:

  1. Reduce the time it takes to resolve customer tickets.
  2. Reduce the time to fix customer bugs.
  3. Increase the shared knowledge between developers and service engineers.
  4. Increase customer awareness within the development team.
  5. Foster better cooperation between members of different groups.

Implementation

At the release kickoff, we will assign four developers to be on the fix4all rotation. Each participant will be assigned a week within that month to focus on helping support.

Follow your normal working hours when assigned to fix4all. You may have other commitments to fulfil; that's fine, but if you can't dedicate at least half your time to fix4all, discuss this with the Support Lead in advance.

Tasks

Each developer will be assigned a week where they work directly with the support team. The exact day-to-day tasks may vary depending on the most pressing needs at the moment. Review the following resources before starting your fix4all rotation:

When your fix4all week begins, join the #support channel and introduce yourself! You may also wish to join #support-live-feed to monitor tickets as they come in.

In general, you should follow these priorities:

Helping Service Engineers

If a Service Engineer needs someone to join a call with them, or has questions about a ticket they're handling, and you're available, then you are their first resource!

Take an optimistic view of your own expertise and be willing to research a topic if necessary, but if the question is too far outside of your expertise, let them know and help them to get the right people involved.

Responding to ZenDesk tickets

If there are a large number of unanswered tickets, or some are close to breaching, you should answer some tickets! The Support Handbook is the canonical reference, but here's a quick-start guide:

Bugs

If the Support team doesn't need help with tickets, you should aim to fix bugs labeled customer or customer+ in GitLab CE or EE, starting with the highest-priority items:

Aim to complete issues you started work on during a fix4all rotation, even if that means you need to work on them after your time on fix4all has finished.