How to put together an API support team

Summary:Application programming interfaces don't deploy by themselves -- it takes a team to get it right.

Who does it take to put together and manage an application programming interface? A multi-disciplinary team, that's who.  

The essential members that need to be brought into an API team are documented in Building Successful APIs, a new book just published by the folks at SOA Software. (Book available at no cost at the SOA website, registration required.)

Product Manager: "The API, unlike previous IT activities within the enterprise, is a first class product of the organization—something as critical as a cellular offering in a Telco, or a loan or other type of product in a financial organization. The API product manager is responsible for the branding and marketing of the APIs, as well as costing, tracking, and billing for API usage."

Community Manager: "The community manager directly supports the community of app developers."

Technical Writer: "A professional technical writer should be engaged to ensure that the documentation is accurate, complete, and accessible, and is delivered in coordination with the version release schedule. It is a very important role given that developers cannot use your API without documentation."

API Support Staff: "The API support staff should not only be responsible for the correct and smooth running of the API in the normal IT sense, but should also manage and respond to a trouble ticketing system driven by the community."

Developer: "As well as developing the API, the developer would be responsible for the following areas of development:  SDKs that would be available via the community; the API Sandbox; Non-functional capabilities, such as security, logging, and monitoring for the APIs that are not provided by the API Platform."

Operations: "The API will be a 24x7, 365 day, business asset. As with all of these asset types, IT operations are asked to manage the asset and the support of all the API’s non-functional requirements. Once the API goes live, continuous operational support is a must."

(Thumbnail photo: Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Topics: IT Priorities, Enterprise Software

About

Joe McKendrick is an author and independent analyst who tracks the impact of information technology on management and markets. Joe is co-author, along with 16 leading industry leaders and thinkers, of the SOA Manifesto, which outlines the values and guiding principles of service orientation. He speaks frequently on cloud, SOA, data, and... Full Bio

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