What is Sustenance Engineering & How it helps in Product Upgrades & Maintenance?
Software Development
Vijay Antony George May 31, 2023

Have you ever wondered how your favorite apps and software products keep getting better with new features and updates? It’s all thanks to a process called sustenance engineering. 

This involves using new-age product engineering techniques like design thinking and DevOps to improve mature product lines, reduce maintenance costs, and keep customers happy. 

At present, we at ThinkPalm help organizations sustain their software products by providing technology expertise, process improvement and necessary tools.

So next time you use your favorite application or software, think about the hard work behind the scenes that goes into sustaining it.

What Exactly is Sustenance Engineering?

Sustenance engineering, or product sustenance engineering, is a vital component of software product development. 

In simpler terms, sustenance engineering is the process of maintaining and improving the functionality, reliability, and safety of a product or system throughout its entire lifecycle.

Moreover, it is a continuous process that ensures the proper functioning of a product and enhances its lifespan by providing updates and maintenance. 

It involves optimizing maintenance strategies, identifying and resolving potential issues, and continuously improving the product or system to meet the changing needs of customers and the marketplace.

The goal of sustenance engineering is to ensure that a product or system remains efficient and effective over the long term.

This involves not only fixing problems as they arise but also proactively identifying potential issues before they become major problems.

Why Is It Important?

As technology keeps changing fast, products don’t last long in the market. Companies have to keep making new products, but it’s important also to take care of the older ones. That’s where sustenance engineering comes in. 

It helps maintain and improve older products while keeping costs low and making sure customers are happy. Moreover, this makes it easier and faster to put the product out in the market. 

So, it’s important for companies to use sustenance engineering to keep their products going for a long time and make more money.

Sustenance Engineering at ThinkPalm

At ThinkPalm, we offer a sustenance engineering solution that helps customers maintain their software products and platforms efficiently and cost-effectively. With our broad expertise in diverse technologies and our strong quality engineering teams working in Distributed Agile, we provide a comprehensive sustenance model.

Our team is responsible for efficiently managing the codebase, implementing necessary code changes, and delivering robust solutions to address application bugs. We ensure thorough testing to maintain the quality and reliability of the software. Our goal is to deliver high-quality solutions in a timely and cost-effective manner continually.

Continuous Support and Regression Testing

Moreover, our sustenance engineering offering includes supporting previous product versions, so our customers can focus on the strategy and directions for future releases. We have a deep understanding of product architecture and development expertise, which enables us to recreate user problems and fix issues as part of our engagement.

We also perform appropriate regression tests on existing functionality, Performance, Scalability, system testing and vulnerability space to ensure that the rest of the features still work as desired. In the case of a security bug or vulnerability, we conduct a security test to ensure that the fix does not create a new vulnerability.

Our Product Sustenance Services include:      

  • Make code changes and manage multiple branches of code.
  • Regression testing on all Major, Minor, Patch, and Hotfixes.
  • Train (Auto regression test suites) triggers on all product areas simultaneously in parallel across multiple releases.
  • Effective triage on failures in test suites and raised bugs in the JIRA system.
  • Manual verification of failed suites in the TestRail tool.
  • Re-create user problems and fix them.
  • Coordinate with development teams for future releases.

What are the Key Features of Sustenance Engineering at ThinkPalm?

  • Stakeholder Value-Adding Activities: Development of new features, upgrade existing features and work on release enhancements.
  • Triage Failures: This feature helps engineers quickly identify the root cause of any issue or defect and start investigating it, saving time and effort.
  • Defect Clustering: Defects are categorized based on the features of the product that are impacted, making it easier to manage and prioritize them.
  • Defect Analysis: Similar or duplicate defects are identified quickly, and recommendations for the best ways to solve them are made, reducing the time it takes to fix the problem.
  • Easily Scalable Team: The distributed agile team allows for easy scalability based on project needs, ensuring optimal resource utilization. Additionally, smaller, focused teams lead to increased productivity.
  • Mature Processes: Best practices are followed in maintaining business processes, such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, bug triage meetings, code review, building domain capabilities and retrospection meetings. These processes help ensure the quality and timely delivery of the product.
  • Contemporary Tools: Tools such as Github, Gerrit, TestRail, ZephyrScale, Xray, Qmetry, JIRA, Jenkins, and Confluence are used to manage the product life cycle, making it easier to collaborate and track progress which facilitates early release to market.

Technical Support and Customer Experience

Technical support is essential for ensuring good quality of service and directly impacts customer experience. In ThinkPalm, we believe that software testing teams can provide valuable know-how about new features and changes to customer support teams.

Our software testing and customer support team members are rotated periodically to understand better the customer’s point of view and product enhancements. This allows us to efficiently support our client’s customers and promptly address their concerns.

Testing and Release Management

At ThinkPalm, our Testing as a Service (TaaS) BU is a software testing-focused organization. Many of our clients expect us to provide assistance in their customer support activities because our team understands their product inside out.Integrating testing early in the product life cycle can reduce defects by 80%!

To manage multiple-release branch testing, we create and manage multiple test beds with adequate infrastructure support using dynamic reservation and allocation methods. Train triggers are initiated through the Jenkins tool as a Serial or Parallel execution.

We monitor train run activities using the Watchmen Execution Dashboard, which depicts the Branch, Train Type, and Product Area wise results with accurate data on Total TCs, Coverage % and Pass %. We measure the overall quality of train runs with a score of 100% Coverage and 95% Pass rate.

Train execution runs data, bugs, infrastructure issues, etc., are captured as part of the Confluence page for every training run and reported to the client on a day-to-day basis.

Monitoring Client Support Activities

ThinkPalm monitors client support metrics in JIRA dashboards to ensure efficient customer support activities. These metrics include:

  • Productivity Metrics dashboard:

  1. Gerrit commit Velocity:- Here, we give a better overview of the total number of commits of any engineer weekly and monthly. Diminishing commits by a single engineer on a single project can be an indicator of lower productivity.
  2. Story points delivered:- This shows how much work the individual can complete in a 2-week sprint ranging from a 1-point story to a 3-point story and the velocity of this is measured per engineer weekly to monthly. Also the velocity of the team is measured for a sprint.
  3. Manual test execution count:- This metric shows the no. of manual test execution count by an engineer per day.
  4. Train ownership:- This metric shows the no. of automation trains owned by an engineer for trigger and triage activity, for a single release (Major, Minor, Patch or Hotfix).
  5. No. of runs per Month (SR & FR):- Here, the metrics describe the average regression train runs for a month in Short Regression and Full Regression, and the monthly total runs for each release version.
  6. No. of releases supported:- This depicts the no. of releases qualified through the train run execution for a month and bi-weekly basis.
  7. Automation count:– Here, the metrics give the data of no. of new automation scripting done per engineer for a month.
  • Bug Quality Metrics dashboard:

    This dashboard shows the severity-wise distribution of open bugs for each release branch.

  • Bug Validity Index:

    This index tracks the ratio of valid vs invalid bugs and invalid bug classification based on resolution type for each release.

  • Missing Triage Information:

    This widget tracks the number of tickets created without triage information in a weekly and monthly trend.

  • Infra & Script dashboard:

    This dashboard tracks the number of open tickets and tickets by age and also tracks the flaky tickets.

  • Tickets Created vs Resolved Ratio:

    This metric tracks the ratio of tickets created to tickets resolved and open tickets shown by age. 

  • MTTR Board:

    This metric tracks the MTTR for stories and bugs in a monthly trend.

  • Periodic Reports:

    ThinkPalm provides periodic reports to the client with the above statistics.

KPI Monitoring

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are monitored to ensure that ThinkPalm’s performance matches industry standards. KPIs include:

  • Average Story Completion: This metric tracks the average time taken to complete a story.
  • Bug Tickets: This metric tracks the number of bugs reported.
  • Productivity: This metric tracks the team’s productivity regarding the number of stories/story points completed in a sprint.
  • Bug Velocity: This metric tracks how bugs are being resolved.

What are the business benefits of Product Sustenance at ThinkPalm?

  • Reduces customer EPICs: By meeting EPIC criteria with review and approval by customers, product sustenance can help in reducing customer EPICs.
  • Helps with automation: Product sustenance can assist customers in automation to add new trains and maintain them as part of all phases.
  • Enhances test execution: Product sustenance can evolve customers in the execution of test suites, scenarios and test cases, preparation and maintaining them.
  • Improves customer satisfaction: By providing an advanced level of customer satisfaction while keeping the quality of products in place, product sustenance can improve customer satisfaction.
  • Aids in customer retention: By helping customers in an optimized way to improve growth in an organization, product sustenance can aid in customer retention.
  • Increases efficiency: By keeping the process of making the lifecycle of the product short and effective, product sustenance can add efficiency to the product cycle.

Benefits of Legacy Product Sustenance with our Deep Technical ExpertiseBenefits of Legacy Product Sustenance with ThinkPalm's Deep Technical Expertise

We at ThinkPalm can deliver you cost-effective solutions for maintaining and sustaining legacy or previous versions of products while meeting customer service level agreements. 

Moreover, our solutions seamlessly integrate with existing defect resolution systems, helping to reduce the time to market and overall maintenance costs of these products.

ThinkPalm’s Expertise in Sustenance Engineering

At ThinkPalm, we specialize in sustenance engineering solutions, providing organizations with constant product upgrades and maintenance. 

Moreover, our team of quality engineering experts follows best practices in distributed Agile and mature processes, such as sprint planning, daily stand-ups, bug triage meetings, and retrospection meetings, to ensure quality and timely delivery. 

Connect With Our Experts Today

We offer a comprehensive sustenance model that includes managing code in multiple branches, delivering well-tested solutions for application bugs, and providing regression tests. 

Furthermore, we deeply understand product architecture and development expertise, enabling us to recreate user problems and fix issues efficiently. 

Contact our experts today to learn more about our sustenance engineering solutions and how we can help keep your products updated and maintained.

Sustenance Engineering and Software development services in the UK

Author Bio

Vijay Antony George is a Release Manager working at ThinkPalm Technologies. With over 12 years of experience, he has a strong background in DICOM technology within the Printing domain. He is a tech enthusiast, a self-disciplined individual. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, participating in religious activities, playing the keyboard and guitar, singing, and caring for pets.