Everyday Aftercare Work

22 November 2013
Bartek Szafko
Frink_Cognifide_2016_HeaderImages_0117
Aftercare Team 2012
Aftercare team 2012
Recently, at Cognifide, there have been a couple of open positions in the Aftercare department. So, I decided it would be good to write an accompanying blog post to bring the Aftercare work closer to anyone who may be interested in applying to that department.

What is Aftercare?

Aftercare is a department inside Cognifide that is responsible for maintaining projects that are already in production (or 'live' as we use to call it). Aftercare works on projects by reaching out to the right people in other departments. The team consists of CQ and Sitecore Engineers, Frontend developers, Testers and System Engineers. They all work towards the common goal of keeping our customers' digital platforms stable and working. We also work with our customers directly and offer them services like consulting, to help their on-site teams get the most of existing solutions. We engage with our client operation teams to ensure that deployments run smoothly. Because of our expertise in CMS from Adobe and Sitecore we’re also the emergency people that are called out in case there is a problem with an infrastructure.

Everyday Aftercare work

Keeping a close eye on the infrastructure

Our main job is to ensure that we keep a close eye on our clients' infrastructure and we consider it mission-critical that their site is always up and operational. We know that this is not enough, which is why we monitor sites very closely for all system parameters such as CPU, memory or disk usage, but also more advanced ones like JVM parameters, so in the case of any smell we’re able to act accordingly. We use a large screen TV as an information radiator that displays all the necessary information at a glance. This kind of monitoring is only possible for systems to which we have direct access. Some of our largest clients have their own operations teams; in such cases we’re only called out if some support is required by their teams.
   Monitoring System
Monitoring System

Platform development

Monitoring and acting if something goes wrong is not the only job in Aftercare. We also develop the software actively and constantly, adding new features and improvements.
For some of our clients the Aftercare team is also in charge of creating a local version of their sites. For example, for one of our clients in the pharmaceutical industry we have created 9 (up to the time of writing this post) local site versions and this number is still growing. The process of creating a local version of a site is pretty complicated and requires a lot of communication and cooperation with local markets and agencies, but when you see a platform working then you get the most payoff.

Work with people

Part of the daily Aftercare work also engages us actively in helping our clients. Depending on the level of our commitment, this can go as far as daily calls or could be just one weekly catchup. What also happens quite often is that customers call us to provide some of our expert insights into our digital platforms which could be accomplished via a short call or a more elaborate consulting sessions.

Improvement projects

Aftercare is also a source of R&D initiatives, as we have a unique insight into long term support and maintenance of digital platforms. We take much pride in being able to learn and improve as we go. For example, every time we encounter an incident or a problem we analyse it thoroughly, implement corrective actions and ensure that we have monitoring in place to detect such problems in the future and deploy it across all environments we manage. Aftercare Information Radiator
Aftercare Information Radiator

Process

Because of the nature of maintenance work, which is very difficult to plan, in Aftercare we rely on the Kanban approach which means that we embrace changes as they happen. A visual materialization of this approach are Kanban boards that we use for our projects (if you’d like to read more about Kanban please refer to this blog post). We’re also aware of how important it is to manage processes according to industry best practices, therefore we work on aligning our internal processes with the ITIL framework.

Benefits

Working for Aftercare is really exciting and satisfying at the same time. Face to face contact with real life people requires growth in all directions. You can expand not only your technical abilities but soft/people skills as well. Thanks to that the work is not boring or mundane. Every day is  a new challenge.

 Everyone working in Aftercare receives instant feedback because our actions and decisions affect customers and real users in a matter of days or weeks at most.

Aftercare is a unique place in Cognifide, and one that allows you to grow within months and not years.

We are looking for you!

Maybe after reading how the daily work of Aftercare, you'd like to apply for an Aftercare position ?

Currently we have the following positions open in Aftercare: