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IT Recruiter Training: Understanding Application Deployment, Maintenance and Support

This is part six of a seven-part miniseries dedicated to helping IT recruiters and IT staffing sales professionals understand the software development lifecycle to further develop their technical and business acumen to improve candidate and customer engagement.

My goal with each blog post is to enhance recruiter knowledge and sales knowledge so that IT staffing professionals may share and speak a common language with their candidates (IT professionals) and customers (IT hiring managers) and  provide an engaging experience for the candidates and customers they serve.

My goal with each blog post is to enhance recruiter knowledge and sales knowledge so that IT staffing professionals may share and speak a common language with their candidates (IT professionals) and customers (IT hiring managers) and  provide an engaging experience for the candidates and customers they serve.

In part oneI explained what the software development lifecycle is, why software engineering teams follow a process for developing software and the value of following that process.

In part two I explained the project initiation phase and the project planning phase of the software development lifecycle and provided some sample candidate interview questions and sales probing questions.

In part three I highlighted the key roles and responsibilities of project team members, work artifacts and the deliverables of the requirements gathering phase.

In part four I discussed software design and development including key terms, the role and responsibility of each project team member, and the work artifacts and deliverables produced. And in part five I explained the testing and software quality assurance phase of the software development lifecycle.

In this post I'm going to share with you what happens during software deployment and application maintenance and support phases including key terminology, the role and responsibility of each project team member, and the work artifacts and deliverables produced.

IT Recruiter Training: Understanding Software Deployment, Application Mainteance and Support

The objective of the deployment (or implementation) phase is to install the software in the production environment and bring it into operation. The software must:

  • Satisfy the functional requirements
  • Satisfy the business needs
  • Adhere to all mandates, physical constraints and service level agreements; and
  • Operate as described in the User and Operating Manuals

Role and Responsibilities

Application Support and Maintenance Team
This team reviews all software documentation and prepares the software maintenance plan. They also support the software until the terms of the maintenance plan expire.

Software Development/Engineering Team
The software development team prepares all documentation and manuals for the application support and maintenance team. They also supply any requested training to help the application support and maintenance team learn the behavior of the software.  

Release Manager
The release manager is responsible for approving the software release into production.

Customer/Executive Sponsor
The sponsor approves the overall direction of the project and reviews the strategy and artifacts. 

End User
The end users are the ones who use the application. 

Recruiter Pro Tip
Consider the following candidate interview questions relative to the deployment phase:

  • What is the objective of the deployment phase of the SDLC?
  • In your experience, who typically deploys the software into the production environment?
  • Who provides the training and documentation for the application support team?
  • What is the role of the release manager during the deployment phase?
  • What role do you play in the deployment phase?

Sales Pro Tip
Consider the following probing questions to uncover potential sales opportunities within the deployment phase.

  • What documentation needs to be created for the application support and maintenance team to support your end users on the new application?
  • What training and knowledge transfer still need to be designed and deployed?

The application maintenance and support phase begins once the application is operational in the production environment. The engineering team should provide detailed documentation, knowledge transfer and training to the software maintenance team. This information will facilitate configuration, administration, and troubleshooting.

Once the system is deployed and end users start using the application, the following two things occur:

  1. End users report bugs in the software. Despite best efforts to eliminate bugs, it’s very rare for a new software application to be 100% bug-free when it goes into production.
  2. Because user requirements change and evolve over time, upgrades and enhancements must be made to the software.
There are two main priorities of the maintenance and support phase. The first is to ensure that the users’ needs continue to be met. The second is that the system continues to perform according to the specifications defined in the requirements gathering phase. The application support and maintenance team is responsible for fixing bugs in the software and assisting in product enhancements. 

Role and Responsibilities

Application Support Team
Application support team installs, maintains, and troubleshoots software. They support the end users and are responsible for keeping programs up-to-date and performing optimally. 

Recruiter Pro Tip
The people who provide application support and maintenance services are often entry level developers who are still honing their programming skills. They don’t do much programming since the main job of the application support team is to troubleshoot technical issues and bring them to the attention of the engineers. Because most young and inexperienced engineers aspire to develop software products, recruiting for these positions can be a challenge.

Sales Pro Tip
Because of the nature of the work, application support and maintenance teams often have high employee turnover and thus are consistently looking to hire, often on a contract-to-hire basis. Identifying the individuals within your accounts responsible for application support and obtaining an initial job order is typically an easier path than calling on the more popular IT departments such as DevOps, Application Development or Cloud Computing.

In my final post of this seven part miniseries, I will discuss software development methodologies including Waterfall, Agile, XP and more.

To further hone your candidate qualification skills, check out our eBook, Executing the Candidate Interview, Five Pillars to Effective Candidate Qualification.

Executing Candidate Interviews for Effective Qualification

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