What's the size of your Enterprise support teams?

We're looking to establish some kind of industry baseline metric for how many support staff are needed to support large scale instances of shared software tooling, specifically Jira & Confluence in this space.  The way we are modelling it is splitting the role into

  • Platform support - Keep Lights On, making sure platforms stay running, patching, minimal maintenance.
  • Business support - Access requests, user help, recommended practices, business analysis, running communities, mentoring, training and working with local champions.  This role may typically be application support, configuration analyst or local guru.

I'm particularly interested in use cases with 1000+ users.  The current setup has 6000 users in some systems.

Ideally I'm looking to establish a metric that says for every 100/500/1000 users we recommend x number of support people.  There are going to be many variations on this and the biggest difference is the depth of the service catalog the support team offers.

  • Is it a free for all where there are 100s of administrators (Chaos Monkey Support)
  • Is it a basic offering with just project/space creation and access rights (Bronze Support)
  • Is it a service which starts to add business value and show users how to get the best from the tools (Silver Support)
  • Is it a premium service which offers users with direct access to expert users who can giev advice around best development (or business) practice? (Gold Support)
  • Self Service Support - no support team outside platform support.

To start the ball rolling I've tallied up a few examples I know about talking to people and I'd say 1 Business support / 500 users for a Silver Support (minimal self service)

Platform support will depend a lot on your practices and if you are doing "true" devops. Traditional models I'd say  1 person per 3-4 applications. With the right automation I'd go 1 person goes a lot further but you still need a platform support team of 4 to run bare minimum 24/7 support.  If you have full automation, monitoring & alerting then you could also leverage the business support team to run that cover as well.

There are some of you who run large systems but with this JIRA at 6k users, 400k issues I'd consider this only a medium sized system.



1 answer

Hi Matthew,

It is really hard do scale a support team based on the number of users. You can have a small instance but very customized and you will need more support than on a instance of 6000 when someone is using basic JIRA/Confluence features. Everything depends on few conditions but I agree that you might find a golden mean. 

To give you some background .. I am maintaining a 25 000+ Atlassian Stack (Crowd, JIRA, Confluence, Fisheye, Bamboo, ... ) that needs to run all the time and working in a team of 2-3 people (including me). We are very experienced already team that could troubleshoot issues very quickly from any system however of course we have some scripts that help us in couple of tasks. BTW. Not only automation but also if you have a good KB then you can reduce your support very significantly.

In the past I remember that our team was bigger (more than 5 people) but it was the time when Atlassian apps where not so popular like now and we needed to focus on some migrations. Now we focus only on support and maintenance (but not only Atlassian also other systems like for example SVN, Sonar, ..)

You are mentioning only about JIRA and Confluence.. So having current knowledge and team that I have 2-3 people should be enough. Or maybe 1 person more that could be like a "load balancer" help others when there is more work required on a specific task.

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