If you have a service in production (congratulations, by the way) you probably have a lot of questions from other parts of the company.
Customer Service can come to you with some weird scenario that a customer has suffered, or ask you to do that manual task that you still don’t have automated. Or maybe thay complain because the website they use is slow today.
Operations can ask you to import some new data in production. Or maybe their applications don’t work. Or they’ve lost connectivity with some third party service they use.
Other teams can ask you questions about your APIs. Or how your flows work. Or maybe they need you to publish a new event. Or they have acquired a new marketing tool and need to make some adjustments to the data you send to it.
Development teams from other companies
Maybe your APIs are used by other companies. They can be testing their new service in your stage environment running a production service using it. Whatever they do, they will have questions.
You know, C levels always have questions / proposals / whatever that they think are really important and need to be answered straight away.
Who answers these questions
Generally, only a few members of the teams answer them. They are usually the Product Manager, the Tech Lead and the Most Resolutive Person of the team (the person the other teams now it will answer quickly). Generally those people receive these questions in private channels or email and they get overwhelmed by them. They can’t do properly their job because they spend a lot of time dealing with this.
Obviusly, some of these questinos arise because your documentation is not good enough, but let’s face it, having a good documentation is hard and sometimes we don’t have time to have it as good as we’d like. In the meantime a solution is to implement the figure of The Ambassador (orchestral music in the background).
The Ambassador is someone that takes care of all of this. She receives questions in team’s public channels (never by email or private channels) and try to answer them as fast as she can. She keep an eye to all public channels the team has. She try to resolve the questions by herself, but if she doesn’t have the knowledge she asks the team.
The Ambassador is someone from the Development team. We have stablished weekly rotations of the role and it’s working fine. It’s a very interesting position because you get to know other parts of the organization that maybe as a developer ar a bit far. It’s also a very resolutive position, so you get lots of mini-doses of dopamine through the day.
If there’s slack time while answering questions, she can improve the documentation, automate that nasty manual process, improve tracing or dashboards or alarms.
It’s been a very useful role for us and the team delivers a better service thanks to it.
I’m sure you have other ideas to deal with this problem. How do you solve it??
Author Vicenç García