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Software Development and Support Process Definition Services

Start-up, expansion stage and mature software companies alike are facing hyper-competitive markets. Such markets are characterized by:

  • Reduced cycle times
  • Increased technical complexity to deliver whole products
  • Richer feature sets
  • Increased organizational complexity created as a result of M&A activity

Many software firms do not have well-defined and supported processes in place. Further, the lack of such defined and supported processes is a major impediment to a company's success in the market place. At INSTEP, we believe that process is not a rigid straitjacket that stifles the energy and creativity of the staff involved in creating your product. Process exists to build the product faster, better and cheaper. It is intended to reduce the unforeseen emergencies, reworks, and "fire-fighting" that characterizes too many organizations. The goal of process is to free your staff to exercise the ingenuity and imagination that create great products.

INSTEP's software development and support process definition services include:

Assessment and Improvement of Development, Services and Support Processes
INSTEP's staff has extensive experience in defining, development, deploying and supporting commercial software products. This experience allows them to rapidly assess the strengths and the weaknesses of the product management, development, professional services and support practices of an organization. INSTEP traditionally begins a client engagement of this nature with an assessment of one or more key process areas.

INSTEP has identified ten key process areas that impact the efficiency, effectiveness, and scalability of taking products to market. Not all process areas are covered in every assessment; the scope of an assessment is defined based on the needs of the organization. The ten key process areas are:

Following the process assessment, INSTEP can contribute to the operations of our clients. This often involves the definition of commercial best-practice development processes, including templates, workflows, and guidelines. We work with internal and external teams to guide the implementation of improvement recommendations that arise from the assessment. INSTEP then develops metrics to assess and track the effectiveness and efficiency gains of our intervention. On occasion, our staff will perform interim executive operating roles and assist in the hiring of key permanent staff members.

Development of Strategies for Dealing with @Web Speed Time to Market Pressures
Competitive pressures for fast delivery of products, and the special needs of delivering services through the ASP model are changing the requirements on software development and deployment. Many of basic assumptions of commercial software development have to be re-examined. For example, field support practices and costs for product patches change radically when a company adopts an ASP delivery model for its software, and that can change QA and other practices in the company. New models and development practices are needed to meet these challenges - in some cases we have to go back to first principles to meet the business goals set for the engineering and operations groups. INSTEP can help you examine your current processes and determine whether they are appropriate for the business and delivery model you have chosen.

Mentoring and Coaching of Executives
Start-up companies that have focused on technology development sometimes lack the depth of product and engineering infrastructure and processes that are needed for effective product definition, release planning and development. INSTEP staff is skilled at assisting existing staff with execution, coaching them through unfamiliar processes and occurrences. We can also suggest organizational structures that have proven effectiveness and respect the talents and interests of the company's staff.

Customized Engagements
Many clients have specific needs that do not fit neatly into any single INSTEP service offering. In these cases, we work with the senior management of the client company to develop a customized engagement scope of work and plan to meet its individual needs. Such engagements often involve elements from several of our service offerings.

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