How to put together an API support team

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.)