Home > Articles > Web Services > WebSphere

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Technical Support for Very Large IT Projects with Multigenerational Plans

WebSphere Application Server technology is typically used to host powerful but complex JEE applications. Some of these large IT projects have multigenerational plans. There will most likely be active new initiatives for years. To support such large IT projects, a level of support personnel stability is necessary. This helps your team deal with complex technical details, maintain project management continuity, and build work relationships with peer technical teams and business partners.

Let’s look at what you can do to best assist the previously mentioned large IT projects.

Building a Small Subteam

These large IT projects are the manifestation of senior management’s determination and the financial commitment of an IT organization for top priority as well as strategic business initiatives. Besides, these are difficult projects because of size, complexity, and visibility. You want to carefully choose those who are most suitable to be the members of a small, but elite, WebSphere subteam.

Of course, you want to use your best and most experienced WebSphere engineers for the most important WebSphere projects. However, they are scarce resources. You may also want to pair off senior WebSphere engineers or consultants with junior team members. This allows your senior WebSphere engineer or top consultant to delegate entry-level technical or project management tasks to junior team members. This allows your senior team members to focus on complex and difficult work and add more value. Your junior engineers have an opportunity to learn to do a job, build confidence, and gradually take on more challenges under the guidance of senior team members. This arrangement also helps you to better deal with possible staff turnover and provide continued quality support for your strategic projects.

Separate WebSphere Support

For the WebSphere engineering support of a very large IT project, you have the following two distinct areas of focus:

  • Production environments
  • Testing and development environments

It is important to understand the specific requirements for each area and assign the right kind of WebSphere engineers and consultants.

For production environment support, the WebSphere engineer or consultant selected must have good technical skills. However, equally important, if not more critical, are good communication skills and project management capabilities.

For the selected WebSphere engineer to lead the WebSphere work in a large production environment, she must be able to communicate clearly and powerfully. A factual, considerate, and assertive manner is highly desired. Key communication capability is particularly important when working with the production support team on resolving differences during production emergencies.

The second attribute of the role is the ability to have both a great sense of urgency to get the job done while keeping a calm and professional demeanor. For example, the team members must focus on resolving a nagging production problem and restoring the service of an important production system while confidently and professionally interacting with the team and management.

Last, but not least, is project management capabilities. The candidate for this senior WebSphere engineer position must understand the value of carefully managing a large WebSphere project. She needs to be familiar with the practices and mechanisms of project planning, change management, job scheduling, quality assurance, and progress management. For example, the candidate must be able to lead the subteam to deliver many servers within deadline. The candidate must have an appreciation of quality control (for example, diligently following established server build and validation processes). The candidate must have the enthusiasm to perform a large number of difficult project management jobs. For example, she must have the patience to participate in lengthy change-control meetings, and must fight through planning sessions for the right window to perform a critical change. Without technical project management skills and enthusiasm, success is elusive for the candidate.

The next area of focus needs to be the testing and development environment support, including the critical stress-testing environment, which requires a different type of WebSphere engineer. Some of the attributes for this role include JEE development background, enthusiasm for deep diving into technical niceties of tough problems, and the patience of combing through large amounts of testing data to reach recommendations for solving tough system problems or complex performance issues.

JEE development experience comes in handy for collaborating and conversing with testers, developers, and architects to resolve difficult technical problems uncovered during testing—especially stress testing.

Curiosity and interest in understanding and tackling tough technical problems are essential for this role. The WebSphere engineer assigned to this job must not be someone who only has the technical knowledge and skills needed to do the job. A suitable candidate must truly enjoy solving tough technical problems and be proud and excited to provide excellent solutions.

Patience for combing through a large amount of testing data is important. The WebSphere engineer must have the patience to work with testers to analyze and research testing results. The WebSphere engineer must have the perseverance to participate in repeated tests and analysis to seek optimal system configurations.

The candidate must have exposure to a broad set of technologies. This helps her develop an end-to-end view of a large WebSphere Application Server-centered IT system with many integrated components and interconnected systems. In particular, this is important for optimizing WebSphere Application Server systems in problem avoidance and performance enhancement. For example, from a traffic and load perspective, an end-to-end view from the customer browser, geographical load balancer, Web server, security server, and application server, all the way to the backend enterprise data store helps in constructing a fine-tuned traffic pipeline that minimizes system problems and maximizes system performance.

Ensure Standards and Practice Consistency

Over time, a large IT project can evolve into different system standards and engineering practice. In the long run, such differences are costly to correct, if possible at all. Therefore, you need special countermeasures against possible consistency problems for large projects. Both organization adjustments and engineering processes can help reduce the inconsistencies.

System Consistency Challenge

Having a small team engaged on a large WebSphere project for an extended period of time may present unique challenges. One of the challenges is deviations from WebSphere Application Server standards, which would then cause inconsistencies in engineering practices. For example, to expedite a WebSphere Application Server build to suit an application, the WebSphere engineer engaged may define the resources, such as Java Database Connectivity (JDBC), at server level rather than at node level, as your enterprise WebSphere Application Server build standard recommends. This may lead to a problem when a different WebSphere engineer updates the resource definition. He may be unaware that a nonstandard resource definition was used. As a result, the change in resource definition may be made at the node level rather than server level. This causes the application to fail when it tries to find the resource definition, and an unscheduled production outage occurs. It also causes automation problems that are to be used to audit enterprise systems.

Team WebSphere System Architect

To prevent such inconsistency problems, you can assign a senior WebSphere engineer with both WebSphere Application Server system experience and JEE expertise to work with all the projects as the team system architect. The primary role of the team system architect is not to design every possible WebSphere Application Server topology and configuration document for all the projects for which your team is responsible. (Of course, the team system architect can always provide input for WebSphere Application Server architecture issues.) However, his primary function is to review every WebSphere Application Server topology and configuration document that your WebSphere team delivers to ensure that the documents conform to the enterprise WebSphere standards and generally accepted WebSphere engineering practice.

System Audit

Another effective means to ensure WebSphere Application Server system consistency is to periodically conduct a system audit. This audit can be done using an automated program and, when necessary, a manual process. For example, a quarterly WebSphere system audit can be done. You need to also perform a spot check of the system as an ad-hoc quality assurance. Any problems uncovered during the system audit need to be corrected. WebSphere system audits without rigorous follow-up are useless.

Rotation and System Stability Considerations

A reasonable partial rotation of WebSphere engineers for large and important IT projects can help achieve high WebSphere Application Server system consistency and standardized engineering practices. However, this rotation may also destabilize your critical WebSphere Application Server systems and disrupt work relationships. These large IT projects need organization stability to be successful. Therefore, you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons and reach a balanced solution to any intended rotation as a correction to possible system inconsistencies. Of course, there are always many organizational considerations, business objectives, and project imperatives that you need to consider with personnel changes.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020