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Data Maintenance Requirements
Production Support

Need to evolve data maintenance requirements for an information management requirements specification and want practical timesaving suggestions?

Production support requirements for an information management projectData Maintenance might be different from online transaction processing applications

Why are they different?

Generally, when a project is completed, all software is released to production and the support team assumes ownership for operating and maintaining the system.

The system may require ongoing changes, such as parameter changes and other minor enhancements needed, to ensure optimal operation and; the support team can usually handle these with limited training.

Change requests

However, there is a bit more to an information management project than just code changes. Suppose we have a change request to delete a source system interface and replace it with a new one. It is agreed to consider this an enhancement instead of a new project. This might involve changing:
  • Logical data model, although hopefully not;
  • Physical data model;
  • Data movement model;
  • Interface specifications;
  • Design specifications;
  • Test data;
  • Test cases and scripts;
  • ETL Code; and
  • Business intelligence design specifications and code.
  • Is the operational support team expected to make these changes?
  • If so, do they have the training?
  • Do they have access to the data-modeling tool?
  • Do they have business intelligence design/development training?
  • Does training requirements analysis for production maintenance staff indicate additional training?
It’s critical to understand the anticipated scope of operational support so that training and other requirements can be identified as part of the non-functional requirements.

Operational support testing

Changes to production systems need to be tested in a separate environment before they are certified ready for production. Consider...
  • What environments are required?  e.g. database, ETL, business intelligence reporting;
  • How environments will be synchronized with production?
  • Test data maintenance; and
  • Release procedures.
Quality assurance testing

QA testing sometimes uses existing processes as part of the test plan. Execution of these production scripts in a QA environment might require production support staff. Consider….
  • How much support is required?
  • Staff availability?
  • Any planned operational initiatives that might impact testing e.g. major software upgrades; and
  • Who will provide technical direction, as the QA process may be different from production processes?
Help desk support

Business intelligence users sometimes have “how to” questions concerning the data and/or tools. These are not really problem reports or production tickets, however, they must be resolved to ensure user satisfaction. Consider…
  • Will these types of questions be handled by the IT help desk?
  • If so, what training is required e.g. does the help desk need to understand the data structures to help create queries?
  • If not, what is required to provide this kind of support?

Information management projects require specialized data maintenance and production support staff. This may be required pre-production, to help with QA testing, and post production, to handle daily operational support activities. It is important that training and other resource requirements be identified early in the project to ensure adequate planning.

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