Helpdesk Working Group


Monthly meetings

  • Skype calls are how we host our meetings. Please view the Agenda/Minutes to find Skype usernames.
  • Fallback plan if Skype does not work:
    • Toll free: 1-866-692-4538
    • Not free: 1-517-466-2084 (occasionally needed for cell phones)
    • Chile: 1230-020-0298
    • Japan: 0066-33-132434 (or +81-3-5539-5185 for Tokyo)
    • Germany: 0800-664-4252
    • Passcode: 9480444

Relevant webpages:

Final Documents

Group Meetings/Telecons

Date Agenda & Minutes
Location of current Agenda and Minutes: Agenda and Minutes on Google Docs
Aug, 1, 2016 Agenda and Minutes 20160801
June 17, 2016 Agenda and Minutes 20160617
April 11, 2016 Agenda and Minutes 20160411
Mar 7, 2016 Agenda and Minutes 20160307
Feb 8 - 10, 2016 F2F Agenda and Minutes
Jan 11, 2016 Agenda and Minutes 011116
Dec 14, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 121415
Nov 9, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 110915
Oct 5, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 100515
May 15, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 051515
April 10, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 041015
March 6, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 030615
Feb 6, 2015 Agenda and Minutes 020615
Nov 14, 2014 Agenda and Minutes 111414
Oct 10, 2014 Agenda and Minutes 101014
June 11, 2014 Agenda and Minutes 061214
Sept 6, 2013 Agenda and Minutes 090613
July 5, 2012 Agenda and Minutes 070513
Apr 18, 2013 Agenda and Minutes 041813
Feb 01, 2013 Agenda and Minutes 020113
Jan 23, 2013 Agenda and Minutes 012313
Sept 28, 2012 Agenda and Minutes 092812 - Review of the Blockers for Kayako 4.0 deployment at:
Sept 07, 2012 Agenda and Minutes 090712
June 20, 2012 Agenda and Minutes 062012
Sept 30, 2011 Agenda and Minutes 093011
July 14, 2011 Agenda and Minutes 071411
Jun 16, 2011 Agenda and Minutes 061611
Feb 15, 2011 Agenda and Minutes 021511
Jan 13, 2011 Agenda and Minutes 011311
Dec 16, 2010 Agenda and Minutes 121610
Dec 09, 2010 Agenda and Minutes 120910
Dec 02, 2010 Agenda and Minutes 120210

ALMA Helpdesk Policies:

Relevant documents:

Policies for helpdesk design:
  • "ALMA will maintain a user support homepage that will collate information on all its users subsystems, including user documentation, known issues, and "frequently asked questions" (FAQs). This page will also allow direct access to the ALMA helpdesk and User Portal." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-01]
  • "ALMA shall establish a helpdesk system through which users can submit questions or request help with ALMA products or procedures. These requests will be time-stamped, logged, and assigned a unique ID automatically. Users will access this helpdesk from the ALMA user portal." [AOPvE, Sec 4.7]
  • "The Head of Science Operations will work with the ARC Managers to set-up a helpdesk response process. On a rotating basis, ARC staff will be assigned to helpdesk triage. The assigned triage person will review incoming messages on a regular basis (every few hours during slow periods, several times an hour during peak periods). If possible, the assigned triage person will answer the message and close the event. If not possible, the help request will be re-assigned to an appropriate staff member or ARC. The assignee can re-assign the ticket but in general the triage process should be precise enough to pass help requests to the right person or regional center a very large percentage of the time. The overall procedure must avoid bouncing the user back and forth and must aim at providing the user with a unique and consistent answer. All helpdesk questions and answers will be logged." [AOPvE, Sec 4.7]
  • "Users must be registered with a trusted system in order to submit a helpdesk ticket. The intial trusted systems will be the ALMA User Portal and user portals of the Executives." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-25] (is this policy or implementation?)
  • "If the helpdesk is a distributed application, it must have a similar 'look and feel' and functionality (ticket characterization etc.) on all servers." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-26]
  • (Helpdesk Reqt doc, section 3.3.2 has lots of words on allowing Executives to use their existing helpdesks for support, as long the ALMA components retain the same 'look and feel', but I think it basically boils down to the policies above)
  • The helpdesk will have a category for users to submit urgent issues with the proposal submission process. This department will be staffed for extended hours in the period leading up to the proposal deadline. [SciOpsRR]
  • "The helpdesk must provide tools to allow some level of ticket tracking for all submitted tickets, regardless of where they are (re)directed. This should include which tickets are unresolved, how long they have been open, to which ARC they are assigned, and various statistics (e.g. the number open/closed tickets assigned to each ARC, associated with each subsystem, submitted by various types of users, etc.)." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-39]

Policies for helpdesk service:
  • "The local ARCs shall be the primary interface between the user communities and the Joint ALMA Observatory. Most communication between users and the observatory will go through the ARCs." [AOPvD, Ch11]
  • "Support personnel at or under contract to the ARCs will provide the required staffing to respond to helpdesk tickets." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-03]
  • "The ARC to which a users helpdesk queries will be sent will be specified by an entry within their profile in the ALMA User Portal. It will be selected from among the users 'Eligible Affiliations'. User's 'Eligible Affiliations' are automatically inferred from their institutional affiliations. In short, a user is eligible to be affiliated with any region in which they hold a professional post or appointment, or which they are associated with by means of a formal Memo of Understanding (MOU). The eligible affiliatons are EU (Europe), NA (North America), EA (East Asia), Chile, or else 'Non-ALMA member'. ... For users with more than one eligible affiliation, only a single ARC should be identified at any given time for providing users support." [Helpdesk Reqts, Sec 3.3] (is this policy or implementation?)
  • "ARC astronomers shall take turns performing help-desk triage. The assigned triage person will review incoming messages on a regular basis (every few hours during slow periods, several times an hour during peak periods). If possible, the assigned triage person will answer the message and close the event. If not possible, the help request will be reassigned to an appropriate JAO staff member or ARC." [AOPvD, Sec 11.2.3] (is this Policy or implementation?)
  • "Users will receive a custom reply to their helpdesk tickets within two working days of receipt by the ARC. Ideally, this would be a resolution of the ticket, but could simply be a statement that the ticket has been assigned to an expert." [Staff Guide, Sec. 6.1] (should we amend to require quicker response during proposal deadlines for urgent issues with proposal submission?)
  • "Whenever possible, helpdesk tickets should be assigned to available User Support Specialists attached to the ARC to which the ticket was originally assigned. Only if the required technical expertise is not locally available should tickets be assigned outside the host ARC." [Helpdesk Reqts RQ-35]
  • "The query and resolution fields of all helpdesk tickets MUST contain an English translation. The ARC to which the helpdesk ticket is submitted will provide this translation." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-44] (note - for the chosen helpdesk system, we will apply this only to knoweldgebase articles, as that is the system which is viewable by all users worldwide).
  • "Any helpdesk ticket fields that are viewable or searchable by users must include all relevant data for understanding the solution, but be kept free from information that identifies the submitter or their institution." [Helpdesk Reqts, RQ-46]

Policy issues from the SciOpRR:
  • Should send email to users when L2/L3 ticket assigned, if USS doesn't think it can be answered in a day or two. Tell them that the ticket is being worked on and we'll get back to them.
  • Should staff the helpdesk 24 hr/day leading up to the proposal deadline, for emergency notifications only (e.g. OT submission issues, UP issues, etc...)
  • Give a brief description of the scope of each catagory.
  • At least initially, Knowledge Base articles should have a single moderator (maybe one per region) to ensure uniformity of response.

-- AnthonyRemijan - 2010-11-30
Topic revision: r56 - 2017-12-13, SarahWood
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