Information Technology Problem Management

Information Technology Problem Management


The IT Problem Management helps IT people to identify the root cause of an error, resolving a problem will fix the error which means stop these incidents from occurring in the future. Problem resolution and elimination of root cause often calls for applying a change to the configuration item in the existing IT environment.

I will talk in this post about IT Problem Management Definition, objectives, processes, and sample workflow.

IT Problem Management Definition

Wikipedia defines IT problem management as an IT service management discipline designed to “minimize the adverse imp
act of incidents and problems on business that are caused by errors within the IT infrastructure, and to prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors”.

Which means effective IT Problem Management will reduce the cost, increase the availability and gives the IT people the time to focus on the business not on support and fixing errors.

IT Problem Management Objectives

The primary objectives of IT Problem Management are to prevent IT problems and resulting incidents from happening, to eliminate recurring incidents and to minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.

IT Problem Management Benefits

The main benefits from IT Project Management:
Improving IT service quality. Remember that high quality and reliable service is very good for business.
Reducing number of incidents. Proactive problem management is instrumental in reducing the number of incidents that interrupt the business/organization every day.
Build a known error database (Knowledge Base). Documenting the known errors and solutions will reduce the number and impact of problems.
Give the IT people the opportunity to start self-learning. One of the main concepts for IT problem management is learning from past experience. The process document all previous errors and problems to identify trends, and the means of preventing failures and of reducing the impact of failures, resulting in improved productivity.
Increase the rate of fixing errors by the Service Desk. Problem management enables the Service Desk to know how to deal with problems and incidents that have previously been resolved and documented.

IT Problem Management Processes

1. Identifying and Reporting Problems

A problem can be generated in a number of ways like:

Problem form by IT staff member.
Generate a problem from an incident by IT staff member.
Service catalog allows user to log problems.
A problem can be generated from an email.

A problem can be associated with a configuration item using CMDB (I will talk about it in future) to help the problem management team see the affected item and its relationships to other configuration items and to measure the impact on the business.

Resolving problem can be done by a user or group. Which means the problem can be assigned to a user or group and this can be done manually or automatically.

The problem can be generated from an incident. This gives the problem management team the opportunity to quickly refer to knowledge base already generated and find the solution or start workaround to reduce the problem impact on the business. Once the problem is solved all related incidents will be solved.

2. Investigating and Updating Problems

Problem was identified and reported in the first step, the second step is to know what is the problem, what it is impact on business and do updates on the problem.

In this stage the user or group was assigned to solve this problem will start solving the problem and update the problem status and information.

Problem can be associated to Service Level Agreement (SLA) to monitor the progress of the problem according to the defined rules in the SLA. As time passes, the SLA will dial up the priority of the problem, and leave a marker as to its progress. SLAs can also be used as a performance indicator for the problem management team.

3. Resolving Problems

If a problem needs a change in order to be resolved, it is possible to request a change (Read My previous blog “IT Change Management”), which will be then resolved using the change management process.

Once you start saving the problem by using change management the problem will be closed when the change is close.

Problem Management Sample Workflow

Here is a sample of Problem Management workflow (The workflow for IT Problem Management is configurable; it depends on the work environment).

Problem Management, Workflow Sample