Wednesday, December 20, 2017

When Support Calls

Just over a year ago now, I put out an appeal for resources on testers doing technical support. A tester on my team had asked for background material before his first support call and I didn't know of any, beyond our internal doc for support staff.

Turns out there's not much out there: I got a book recommendation, for The Mom Test which isn't strictly about either testing or technical support, and a couple of offers to pool experiences from local testers Neil Younger and Chris George.

I bought and blogged about The Mom Test, and started a Google doc where Neil, Chris, and me began to deposit notes, stories, and advice (our fieldstones). Some of my own material was culled from blog posts here on Hiccupps (e.g. 1, 2) at a time when I was managing both the Test and Support teams at Linguamatics.

When the doc had got to about 20 pages, I began the painstaking process of editing it into shape. Eventually four broad categories emerged:
  • What even is technical support?
  • What should I do before the call?
  • What should I do on the call?
  • What should I do after the call?
And then I began the next painstaking process of editing that into something coherent, taking guidance from a set of reviewers that included testers, technical support staff, those who have done both, the tester who wanted that first advice, and a technical author.

The Ministry of Testing got interested at this point. They didn't like the title, Technical Support Can Be Testing, but that was just the start of three or four rounds of even more (naturally) painstaking (you know it) editing.

I won't say that I didn't sometimes look up and wonder where I was.

Happily, the MoT editors accepted another title with just as much pun power as the original, When Support Calls, and as the end of the editing process (painstaking, as already noted) came to a close, they commissioned some ace monster artwork. The piece at the top here is a re-imagining of an xkcd cartoon which inspired one of the drawings used in the four articles that we created.

Then, eventually, today it went live on the Ministry of Testing Dojo. Please enjoy it.

And now excuse me while I walk myself into the sea.
Image: Thomas Harvey from an original by xkcd.
Thanks: all our editors and reviewers, everyone at Ministry of Testing, and especially Neil and Chris.


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