ITIL Problem Management – 2

Problem Management is an absolute requirement for any company interested in reducing the number of incidents occurring in their environment and help us in minimizing the impact of Incidents that cannot be prevented. Problem Management is responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems.
An example
Say your laptop battery is not working properly & your laptop isn’t working without any battery backup. This is an incident because it disrupted the service- working on something. You fix it by keeping it connected with the charger for the time that you are working. This way you are able to work on your laptop & the incident is closed. But now, you have a problem- you always have to keep the laptop connected to charger if you intend to work.
To fix the problem, you need to change the battery of laptop.
Normally, an incident needs to be fixed within a specific timeline. Problems can be left indefinitely until an incident happens.
Actions to be taken for handling problems:
Do nothing - if the business is not affected by problem, or if benefits are less than the cost of fixing problem.
To deploy work around if determination of root cause exceeds the benefits.
Determine root cause and fix problem if the benefit is worth fixing.
How problem management works:
In Problem management, we use analysis techniques to identify the cause of the problem. For Incident management, we find the cure: Restoration of service. Thus, Problem management takes longer and should be done once the urgency of the incident has been dealt with: for example, removing a faulty office laptop and replacing it with a working spare laptop by IT Helpdesk, takes the urgency away and leaves the faulty laptop ready for repair.
Problem management can take time but within limits to lessen the cost of resolution.
Process workflow: The following is the standard problem management process flow outlined in ITIL Service Operation but represented as a swim lane chart with associated roles within OSF ISD.
problem management process flow
Role of Problem Management Review Team: 
Problem logging:
Problem logging is critical as all the necessary information from the incidents has to be captured while creating the problem. Problems should be created from the Incidents, maintaining the link to the incident(s). Before creating of a new problem, search for similar existing problems to avoid duplication.
Problem categorization is essential to avoid ambiguities and makes it simpler to search incidents and associated problem records.
Prioritization helps in identifying critical problems that need to be addressed. Impact and urgency associated with a problem decides which problems need to be addressed first. When a problem is created from an incident, the impact, urgency and priority values get assigned from it automatically and reduce the task of prioritizing the problem for technical staff.
Role of Solution Provider Group:
Problem detection: Trend analysis is a proactive approach to problem management by which one can avoid the occurrence of the problem beforehand.
Investigation and diagnosis
Problem investigation gets to the root cause of the problem and initiates actions to resume the failed service. Analysis of impact, root cause and symptoms of the problem provide a resolution.
If it’s possible to find a workaround to the incidents caused by the problem, a temporary way of overcoming the difficulties, it is important that the problem record remains open and details of the workaround are always documented within the Problem Record.
Raising a Known Error Record 
As soon as the diagnosis has progressed enough to know what the problem is even though the cause may not yet be identified, a Known Error Record must be raised and placed in the Known Error Database – so that if further incidents arise, they can be identified and related to the problem record.
Problem resolution
As soon as a solution has been found and sufficiently tested, it should be fully documented and prepared for implementation.
Problem Management Review Team / Change Management / Solution Provider Group: Changes to production to implement the solution need to be scheduled and approved through the Change Management process.
Problem Management Review Team
Problem Closure
When any change has been completed (and successfully reviewed), and the resolution been applied, the Problem Record should be formally closed – as should any related Incident Records that are still open. A check should be performed at this time to ensure that the record contains a full historical description of all events – and if not, the record should be updated.
The status of any related Known Error Record should be updated to shown that the resolution has been applied.
Author : SiddharthPareek

Click Here for Service Management Course

About Author
Siddharth Pareek