Wednesday, February 11, 2015

IT Problem Management Concept

One of the difficult things to understand in ITIL concepts is the concept of problems. Many confuse it with incidents. I have written an article explaining the difference between the two: Incident and Problem: What is the Difference.

Based on the definition, a problem is a cause of one or more incidents. You initiate a problem if you want to provide a long term fix to a resolution to an incident. You also initiate a problem if you want to determine the root cause of an incident.

Say you have a recurring incident and it is causing a lot of lost hours to address, you would want to initiate a problem to look at the root cause and come up with a resolution.

You do not need to wait for recurring incidents to open a problem. If you had a high profile incident, you would want to immediately initiate a problem to prevent that from happening again.

If no incident has happened, but you foresee that an incident may happen, you do not initiate a problem since based on the definition, a problem is a cause of one or more incidents. When this happens, the solution is normally known and a change request is often initiated to prevent the incident from happening.

Questions to ask before opening a problem. If you answer Yes to the following:
  1. Was there an incident?
  2. Should the incident be prevented from happening again?
And Yes to one of these:
  1. Is it critical to know the cause of the incident?
  2. Do we need a long term solution to prevent or minimize the occurrence of the incident?
You need to initiate a problem. Some problems may NOT result in changes because the fix may not be worth doing considering other conditions.

To summarize, the process would flow like this.
  1. Incident occurs
  2. Problem is initiated to look at root cause and propose a solution
  3. Change is initiated to proceed with developing and implementing the solution
To understand the difference between INCIDENT and PROBLEM check my article.