A reminder for the weekly team meeting pops up on the calendar. As the participants open their connections, one can hear various sounds of life in the background. Somewhere behind the first participant children are coming up with new games. The second participant’s curious dog would very much like to attend the meeting. The third participant carefully corrects their posture with a sleeping cat in their arms. The fourth arrives and greets everyone: “Hi, we had to negotiate a little, since the whole household is working from home.”
The situation is not fictitious, but at the same time it is not at all unusual. The people working with Gofore’s maintenance services are experienced telecommuters – we work across various cities and even countries daily. The core team of Continuous Services alone is a happy blend of people from all of Gofore’s Finnish sites. Nowadays many things can be taken care of smoothly even while sitting by a lake with a laptop at hand. Functional remote tools alone do not guarantee this fluency. It requires agile, collaborative procedures and efficient knowledge distribution, akin to swarm intelligence, between teams.
During a software development project, it is natural to have one focused core team working on the application and infrastructure development. As the project is completed and the system goes into production, the nature and requirements of the project tend to change. During the maintenance phase, the focus shifts to a more reactive mode of working and new feature development is usually scaled down. At this stage, it is essential that information and know-how about the system and operations is spread across a safety net of specialists. This becomes even more vital in critical situations.
As the current global situation unfolds before our very eyes, there’s been a sudden rise in discussion regarding many things that have perhaps been taken for granted – in particular, remote work and accessibility of services. At the latest this week the entire global community has been waking up to a world that runs rather different from what we’re used to. As anxieties and concerns regarding the global situation and our everyday lives grow, it is more vital than ever that services, large and small, remain operational and accessible. But please don’t worry if it seems like storm clouds are gathering on the horizon – you won’t need to make it to shore alone.
It’s best to pack a life vest while it’s still sunny
When I was a little girl, my grandfather taught me how to row a boat at sea. There was no stepping on the boat dock, let alone actually entering the boat, unless you were securely strapped in your life vest. We blew on the whistles to see that they worked without fault and made sure everything was fastened correctly. We practiced what to do in case an oar should drop into the water. And what to do if the other oar should follow the first, somehow. Someone might consider this silly or see it as an exaggeration, but these lessons taught me more than just safe boating. I learned a surprising amount about risk management in general on the side.
In my current job I rarely get to boat, but I’ve often thought about the similarities between minding a recently released software project and taking proper care of a wooden rowing boat. You should keep the bilge clean, treat the surfaces regularly, and occasionally some more major repairs may be necessary. Choosing a competent partner for the job helps: there’s no need to keep track of required maintenance activities yourself, and the boat (or the application, or the system…) will remain in working order without you having to worry for it – ready for adventures or leisurely rides at any time.
Sometimes a storm can sneak up on even the most experienced seafarer. Peace of mind can be reached even during those times if you’re sat next to a reliable partner who has already double-checked the correct adjustments of your life vest and ensured the oarlocks are in good condition. A professional maintenance service anticipates and prepares for bad weather on your behalf, leaving no room for distress as you are confidently rowing towards more peaceful waters – together.
In addition to meeting and working remotely, we collaborate across teams and sites routinely and steadily. Our agile and modern Service Center operations and maintenance practices are organized to ensure that no service remains a one or two person show. We arrange on-call responsibilities flexibly and distribute expertise and knowledge between teams and specialists, and our service managers ensure the quality of service in collaboration with the Service Center lead.
Our Service Center includes both system specialists and software developers, each one of them just as fluent in collaborating with customers as they are in resolving technical pickles. Our common goal in everything we do is to make sure the customer never has to wonder whether we can offer a particular type of support or whether we have expertise on a particular matter – we will take care of it for them.
What do you say, could we bring you some peace of mind, too?
Service Center Lead