KT for Highly Technical Support


IBM Rational’s success using Kepner-Tregoe Resolve for service and support and the growth of the IBM Brazil Software Lab brought KT Resolve training to South America. IBM BSL has software support teams spanning many different IBM software brands including Rational, Information Management, Cloud & Smart Infrastructure, Analytics, Sterling and others—working in Spanish, Portuguese and English.


The challenge for IBM BSL was that KT Resolve “should be how we do what we do.” IBM BSL supports a highly technical client base that is more likely to report more complex problems than those raised in other technical support environments. While there had been some limited KT Resolve training, training needed to be expanded and properly supported. The plan was ambitious: to reach 100% of all support engineers and managers trained with KT Resolve, implement a coaching initiative and have all support teams using KT at full throttle.


IBM BSL had some tech support personnel trained in KT Resolve and a few KT coaches. Now training capabilities were to be expanded by sending a support manager to KT’s Leadership Development Institute in Princeton to become a KT Program Leader. Experienced in many different initiatives for improving support processes, soft skills training and coaching, foreign language programs and overall client satisfaction, the support manager, as a KT Program Leader, returned to lead refresher courses in KT Resolve and to train the remaining support professionals.

In addition, a KT revitalization initiative brought the KT approach to the forefront of support practices. This “KT Champions” initiative identified engineers that made good use of the KT techniques in working with support tickets (known within IBM as PMRs.) Moderated by a KT coach, these Champions started reviewing PMRs under the light of KT and then replicated their experience within their teams. The systematic KT approach became top-of-mind and those that had not yet been trained were asking for their turn, creating much-needed momentum for the next round of training. Another key initiative was to train additional KT coaches to support and facilitate others. Coaches are selected based on their Situation Appraisal and Problem Analysis documentation. The ambitious improvement program continues to be supported by the KT Program Leader who regularly makes presentations at IBM technical events that introduce how KT is used in the software support community.

The use of KT Problem Analysis techniques has enabled all our support engineers to speak the same language, regardless of product line, complexity, or geography. KT has provided the means to offer our clients a consistent approach to troubleshoot their problems, and a comprehensive analysis of all the dimensions that surround and affect their concerns. It is not unusual to witness clients solving their own problems, while we help them visualize all those dimensions by applying the KT processes, and they are greatly impressed with our engineers’ abilities to ask the right questions, that ultimately takes them to the needed solutions. – Renato Barbieri, Kepner-Tregoe Program Leader at IBM Brazil Software Lab


  • KT Resolve has been fully adopted as the way work is done
  • Improvements are underway related to the speed and quality of complex problem solving
  • Customer complaints about bad problem reporting have declined
  • Early results include a 33% reduction in time taken to provide an actionable solution and reduced time to find cause of complex problems

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