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L3 Support Process. Ya Qiang Li 09/21 2012. Agenda. Terminology IBM Common L3 process L2 work with L3 RATLC Jazz Support Useful Links. Terminology. L1 (Level 1): Who directly commuicate with customer to creates a PMR via a Service Request.

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L3 Support Process

Ya Qiang Li

09/21 2012

  • Terminology
  • IBM Common L3 process
  • L2 work with L3
  • Jazz Support
  • Useful Links
  • L1 (Level 1): Who directly commuicate with customer to creates a PMR via a Service Request.
  • L2 (Level 2): A Technical Support Engineer (TSE) who works directly with customers to provide solutions to customer requests (PMRs) about product issues.
  • L3 (Level 3): Who is development. For the purposes of this document the terms are interchangeable. Level-3 is responsible for providing Level-2 with information/guidance to resolve a customer issue in an escalation. Level-3 is also responsible for creating TextFixes for defects.
  • SWAT (Software Advisory Team): A Development Level Team in Rational Customer Support organization responsible for providing L2 with information/guidance to resolve a customer issue in an escalation. They may reproduce complex customer issues to either resolve the customer problem or to determine a potential defect. They may also create and supply “diagnostic” fixes to customers based on problems discovered in the product code.
  • RETAIN (Remote Technical Assistance and Info Network): An IBM application and database for reporting and managing the resolution of customer-reported problems and defects, such as PMR and APAR.
  • PMR (Problem Management Report): A RETAIN record for managing resolution of customer-reported problems. A PMR may be defect-oriented or non-defect-oriented.
  • MDV (Maintenance Delivery Vehicle): A general term for a software package IBM provides customers to update their installed software (e.g., TestFix, Interim Fix, FixPack, etc.).
  • Escalation
    • Overview: A high priority pending customer problem (PMR) for which Support (Level-2) has exhausted its internal resources and needs technical assistance from Development (Level-3) to resolve.
    • Example situations where escalations are used:
      • Level-2 has no clear “next steps” for resolving the PMR.
      • There are significant customer satisfaction issues.
      • Response time commitments made to the customer are in jeopardy.
      • The issue has a high “Business Priority” or impact on sales.
    • Different from APARs / Change Requests:
      • Service Level Agreements (SLAs) are established for Escalations.
      • Escalations don’t always result in an APAR or code change, but an Escalation may result in one or more APARs.
      • An Escalation may involve multiple teams within Level-3 or across organizations (e.g., Development, Test, Product Management, Sales, etc.)
  • APAR (Authorized Program Analysis Report): A RETAIN record created by Level-2 to document and manage resolution of customer-reported defects. One or more APARs are used to resolve a defect-oriented PMR.
ibm common l3 process




System in Production

Create a PMR

Help L2 with PMR

Find Problem

Work with PMR



Report Problem






Deliver Solution


Is an



Continue to work with PMR







Ask Level-2

to open an



Install Solution

Create an ER

Solution in Production

Create an APAR

Resolve APAR

IBM Common L3 process
  • The L3 process begins when:
    • L2 asks L3 for assistance. -or-
    • L2 believes a customer-reported problem (PMR) is a potential defect.
  • L2:
    • Consults with L3
    • Verifies an APAR is warranted,
    • Creates an APAR to document and track resolution of the defect.
  • If an APAR is created, L3 corrects the problem.
  • The L3 process ends when:
    • L2/L3 determines the PMR is not a product defect. -or-
    • L3 delivers a fix for the APAR via a standard fix vehicle (MDV).
ibm common l3 process1
IBM Common L3 process
  • Create APAR (with L2)
  • Create defect for APAR
  • Triage and assign APAR
  • Determine resolution
  • Communicate resolution
  • Process code changes
  • Process documentation changes
  • Finalize APAR
  • Conduct peer review
  • Close APAR
  • Build, verify and deliver MDV
  • Update APAR to identify MDV(s) the APAR fix is delivered in.
l2 work with l3
L2 work with L3
  • L2
    • The prime communication interface and point of contact to the customer
    • Questions requiring little investigation or a quick answer, may be sent to L3. Completed searches of all applicable and available knowledge bases.
    • If L2 has reproduced the customer problem, provide access to a test system or clear documentation of the recreation steps. If L2 is unable to reproduce the customer problem, provide a detailed description of the scenario which illustrates the problem.
    • Collected and analyzed all related documentation that may be needed to resolve the problem, including traces, logs, core files, configuration files, dumps, etc. L2 is expected to analyze logs, traces, etc. to the extent documented in external documentation or internal documentation, which has been provided to L2.
    • Summarize the following information before contacting L3
      • Customer basic environmental information
      • Complete background information
      • clear statement of the problem or question that L3 is asked to assist with
l2 work with l31
L2 work with L3
  • L3
    • Expected to respond to L2 with meaningful, timely assistance, which will minimize the number of times L2 needs to contact the customer.
    • Perform the analysis, determine next steps that are needed, and determine a fix can be created in time.
    • Work together with L2 to create the APAR, determine how to set the customer's expectations regarding how the APAR will be resolved and the APAR's relative priority.

Review APAR Close Info (QA/Reviewer in Level-2 or Level-3)

Set Approved for External Publication=Yes (RATLC Project Admin)


Level-3 Process

Triage APAR

(Submitted RATLC CR)


(Assign RATLC CR)

Process Code





APAR Resolution

Process Doc



ship APAR fix

in next MDV or



APAR a valid




Level-2 / Level-3

agree on resolution

Build and Test










Finalize APAR / Enter APAR Close Info (Level-3)


Set Media Available=Yes

on RATLC CWProject Record

(RATLC Project Admin)

Close APAR


  • RFE
  • Cancelled
  • Duplicate
  • Info Not Provided
  • Unreproducible

Close APAR


  • Fixed
  • Fixed Indirectly
  • Documentation

Close APAR


  • NPTF
  • Postponed

Publish Closed APARs


jazz support
Jazz Support
  • Pre-requisite:
    • Ensure you have been given permission to create an “Escalation” type work item on the “Jazz Support (Private)” project area (URL: Support (Private))
    • If you do not have the permission, please go to the follwing URL
jazz support1
Jazz Support
  • L3 Basic process
    • When the Escalation is accepted by L3, both the L3 Owner and L3 Resolver will be set. Before this change they are set to Unassigned. When the L3 Owner field is set, by L3, this indicates that the Escalation has been accepted and needs to be triaged.
    • Once a L3 Resolver has been selected, the L3 Resolver will be subscribed to the WI, and will be updated via the @username in the discussion. Note - The resolver is the person responsible for researching the escalation
jazz support2
Jazz Support
  • L3 Basic process
    • The following fields on the Escalation overview are populated by L2 with a Summary of the problem, the Clients Environment, and the Customer Problem description. The L3 problem description (Root Cause) is populated by L3 when the Escalation is closed.
    • The last step in this process is to provide a quick update for the Action Plan. The date must be set; this will provide expectations of when it is going to be acted upon and by whom.
jazz support3
Jazz Support
  • L3 Basic process
    • When the Escalation WI is created by L2, the Escalation WI type needs to be selected. Question category; this will mostly be set to Deviation or Question.
    • Here is a description of the different category types:
      • Question: If the customer has a consulting type of question (How do, is there a doc, do we support...)
      • Deviation: This term means the customer is experiencing a behavior not expected
jazz support4
Jazz Support
  • L3 Basic process
    • Here is a description of the different States.
      • Ask L3: L3 is researching the issue.
      • Ask Development: Seeking assistance from a Developer
      • Ask Level2: L2 will ask for some additional information from the client or try a suggestion from Development
      • Give Solution: Start the process of closing the Escalation. The Closure tab will need to be completed before closing. See Closing Escalation section below.
      • Ask SWAT: Ask Senior Technical Support Team Members
    • L2 will set the status of Ask L3. This will indicate to L3 that L2 is asking for assistance.
    • Ask L3 places the state in "L3 Backlog" or "L3 starts investigating" = Equivalent to “Engineering”
    • L3 Engineer reviews Escalation and provides possible workarounds, confirms if it is a defect in the product. L3 will also work with Developers to help determine when a fix can be delivered if no workaround is present.
jazz support5
Jazz Support
  • How to work with L2
    • Once a L3 member reviews the Escalation and when additional information is needed or additional trouble shooting needs to be performed by L2.
    • The Current Status dropdown should be set to Ask Level 2.
    • The next step is to go to the Discussion tab and add a comment and use the person’s Jazz id so that a WI notification is sent. For example @asq please send the current log files.
      • Note: At this point always ensure that all team members are subscribed to this WI.
      • Note: Ask L2 places the state in "L2 Investigating"= Equivalent to “WaitingInfo”
jazz support6
Jazz Support
  • Close Escalations
    • On the Right of the Escalation, in the second drop down, click and choose Give Solution
    • In the third group box which becomes active when Give Solution is selected and choose the appropriate resolution that best matches the situation.
    • Here is a description of each option:
      • Knowledge Resused: Solved with existing knowlege
      • Knowledge Created/Flagged/Modified: Potential technote
      • APAR Created: Provided when a the resolution is going to be part of a Ifix or Release.
      • RFE Created: Not applicable at this time.
      • APAR/RFE reused: Not justifiable
      • No News from L2: Not applicable at this time.
      • Testfix Delivered: When a testfix has been delivered.
      • Invalid: Not a valid Escalation.
jazz support7
Jazz Support
  • Close Escalations
    • Next go to the Closure tab on the far right and complete the mandatory fields.
    • The first mandatory field is Last Solution Given Date. This is the date that the last solution was provided.
    • The second mandatory field is asking if Development was involved (create a test fix, or having a Developer perform some research on the issue.
    • The third mandatory field is for the Preventive Target drop down. I have being leaving that set to None at this time.
useful links
Useful Links
  • IBM L3 process:
  • Ratioal L3 process