101.0 The Value of SupportStep

The value of support is usually fairly obvious. If you have projects that deliver business applications, you have a software entity that is running in production when the project is done. The project team usually then gets disbanded and goes away, while the business application transitions from development to support. Normally this implies that the application has also been transferred from a project team to a support team. However, even if the project team is still in place, the business application still transitions from project to support. The support team is then responsible for ensuring that the application continues to run as it is supposed to. The support team fixes problems, answers questions, and generally does whatever is required to maintain the application’s reliability and performance. They ensure that ongoing value is received through the life of the application.

Even though most organizations perform an application support function, there are a myriad of ways that the groups are structured and the work is performed. In many cases, the work is done efficiently and effectively. In other cases, the work is organized and managed very ineffectively. The purpose of the SupportStep™ Application Support Framework is to showcase a common set of processes, best practices, and templates that can be used to run the support function consistently throughout the company. The value of SupportStep is delivered to the company in the following areas. SupportStep:

  • Provides an overall structure that all groups that are performing support can follow.

  • Sets an overall direction and destination that all support groups can strive to achieve.

  • Establishes a common set of terms and a framework for thinking that can be used consistently throughout the company. This helps facilitate communication and reduces the chances of confusion.

  • Provides a set of management practices that can be used consistently to proactively manage resources and to align the work to ensure it supports business initiatives.

  • Creates a common and consistent set of measurements for internal process improvements and for external reporting to the clients.

  • Facilitates training and cross-training, since the knowledge and skills of how you do support work are consistent from one area to another.

  • Encourages organizational horizontal planning across multiple groups since each group is using common terms and a common support framework.

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Product info: application support, project management, portfolio management, project office, PMO, program management training, project lifecycle management, program consulting, methodology development, project management training