What Is Problem Management? Everything You Need to Know About It

What Is Problem Management? Everything You Need to Know About It

Whether you are an entrepreneur, a successful businessman, or the CEO of a giant multinational, problems are bound to arise. No matter how meticulously you plan every more or how much capital you invest, you will not be able to free yourself from unfortunate circumstances, if and when they occur.

Remember, encountering a problem does not mean you were not meticulous enough, the way you deal with the problem, however, says a lot about you. And this is exactly why we have come up with this post to help you understand what is problem management and guide you through it.

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s first take a look at what is problem management and what does the term entail?

What Is Problem Management?

Problem management is defined as the identification of causes of underlying problems and errors etc. The process enables you to implement preventive measures to ensure control and avoid the recurrence of errors in a specifically designed system.

With the diagnostic analysis of historical data of such issues, rational steps are introduced in the system to minimize the chances of the re-occurrence of such issues in the future. This ultimately helps businesses control the cost of resolution of issues and save time and energy.

In a nutshell, problem management significantly helps an organization in the identification of root causes of issues and enables the system to proactively handle and manage such problems before they occur. Moreover, problem management is structured to augment problem-solving as well as to mitigate the chances of unexpected disruptions.

Problem management further enables the running system to minimize interruptions, enhance service levels, and boost root cause resolution.

What Is the Primary Goal of Problem Management?

As described earlier, problem management is all about managing the lifecycle of all underlying problems in an IT service.

Let us now look at the main objective of problem management. The main focus of problem management is to prevent problematic incidents from happening. And if by any unfortunate means, they do occur, problem management aims to prevent the incidents from occurring again in the future.

How Does Problem Management Work?

how-problem-management-works

Problem management is not just about fixing the problem, but it is about coming up with the best possible method to eliminate the root causes. However, the focus should be on finding a permanent solution that can always work to sort out the issue within no time.

We must also highlight the fact that identification and locating the problem is by no means an end or a solution. Identification has no value for any organization unless and until it is structured and functional. Furthermore, problem management has to be practiced across multiple teams, within the organization.

By practicing, we simply mean that the teams are well-versed with the system and its running. The security team, IT team, and software developers should all be familiar with the problematic incidents and should be well-informed in tackling the issue.

Let us explore how problem management is different from other management processes:

1. Problem Management and Incident Management:

Problem management and incident management have become more and more intertwined. However, there are some key differences. Problems are essentially seen as causes of incidents that occur in a system while incident management mostly tackles the incident for a shorter period of time because the ultimate goal is to complete the service.

However, in problem management, the process takes a long time because the goal is set in stone and not temporary. Problem management resolves to give a permanent solution so that the chances of reoccurrence of any incident are alleviated.

Problem management aims to look for the causes of the incident, why the incident occurred, how it can be resolved, and what measures are to be taken to prevent such incidents again.

Thus, problem management takes the front seat as it endeavors to focus on improvements and better service quality.

2. Problem Management and Change Management:

In ITIL processes, change management is the process in which changes are planned, tracked, and released while ensuring that the service is not disrupted. Nevertheless, if the change does cause disruption or downtime, problem management comes to the rescue.

The change is analyzed and investigated through the problem management process. Change management may also be invoked if a change is required to resolve a certain problem.

4. Problem Management and Knowledge Management

Knowledge management is the creation of a repository or a storehouse of documentation and solutions for common procedures and incident workarounds. Thus knowledge management is a helpful tool that can be utilized for an effective problem-solving strategy.

To make it more understandable, let us elaborate with an example. If a particularly known error surfaces, then a single click can generate a Known Error Article in the database. Thus the information and solution regarding the very incident are easily accessed saving time and effort in fixing the recurring incident in the future.

5. Problem Management and Service Request Management

Service request management is defined as the submission of a request from a user to get access to information, applications, and software enhancements. It can be difficult to differentiate between request and incident. In fact, both incidents and requests were included in the same category of ‘incidents’ until the release of ITIL V3 in 2007.

Merits of Problem Management

merits-of-problem-management

Problem management, when done right, can unleash many benefits for any business.

1. Continuous Service Improvement

Problem management comes in handy because there is a constant struggle to improve service provision. The teams are investing their time and effort to resolve problematic incidents.

Also, they work hard to bring up effective remedies to ensure that such incidents do not occur again in the future. Thus, service improvement also leads to enhancing the level and standing of the organization.

2. Reduction Of Cost

If a problem is just resolved and no action is taken in order to prevent the chance of recurrence, it will cost the organization a heck of time and cost. Contrarily, effective problem management abstains the organization to incur hefty costs and time on such issues. The engaged units or teams proactively deal with such issues, before the issues even occur.

3. Increased Productivity

If the problem management mechanism is actively working and engaged with the teams, the organization will not require to allocate cost and time for such problems that can be controlled proactively.

4. Improved Service Quality

If records of problems and issues are effectively recorded and maintained, and analyzed for future prevention, it will surely enhance the service quality level of the organization.

5. Decreased Problem Resolution Time

Effective problem management enables an organization to immediately resolve the problem, which is recurring in nature and cannot be avoided to re-occur.

6. Reduction of the Number of Incidents

With effective record management and root cause analysis of errors and problems, the number of incidents can be reduced.

7. Improved Customer Satisfaction

If an organization is functioning with the aim to reduce problems and effective units are working round the clock to enhance service levels, the former strategy will increase customer satisfaction.

Process Flow For Problem Management

1. Problem Detection

Problems occur in multiple ways and can also be reported through various sources & channels. Sometimes the problems are reported either by the internal or external customer or by the automated system of the organization. The helpdesk must record the incident to record the frequency of occurrence, the resolution of TATs, and analyze the root cause analysis for future reference.

2. Problem Logging

As soon as the problem is detected, the same should be lodged with the helpdesk with the necessary details

3. Investigation and Diagnosis

Analysis of the problem will be undertaken to find the root cause of the incident which will be based on the depth and impact of that incident. The same incident will also be compared with the existing problems in the system database to find techniques to solve the problem.

4. Workaround

At times, based on the severity of the problem or error, a temporary solution is provided to streamline the system for the user. But it is vital to implement a permanent solution to the problem detected.

5. Create a Known Error Record

Once the error is examined and diagnosed, the same should be recorded in the database so that the same future errors of the same nature can be quickly identified, and technical solutions may be provided rapidly based on historical data.

6. Resolution

Post confirmation of resolution from the user, the same solution should be recorded in the database for future utilization along with the implementation of the standard change procedure.

7. Closure

Once the problem has been resolved, the helpdesk must close the problem and the related issues. It must be ensured that the classification of problems is accurately tagged, and recorded along with resolution TATs and possible remedies for future management of the problems.

8. Major Problem Review

Problems are segregated based on their depth, impact, and nature of urgency. The main purpose of problem review is to the constant introduction of betterment in the process of problem management. A review of the previous problem resolution may seek the gaps between the correct and incorrect actions taken, what can be improved and what actions can be to avoid the occurrence of past problems. The review also enables the management to fix the responsibilities and performance of outsourced teams in the problem-solving process.

9. Problem Control and Error Control 

Problem and error are two different dimensions of problem management. Problem is added into the interrogation to find the foundation cause of the problem and upon successful completion of the investigation, the same problem is turned into a known error. The above segregation enables the help desk technician to provide a temporary solution to the user on an urgent basis. On the flip side, error control refers to the resolution of know errors into resolutions.

Roles And Responsibilities of Problem Management Team

Clearly defined roles and responsibilities are key to the successful execution of problem management. The team comprises the following:

1. Problem Manager:

A problem manager is an authorized person who may or may not be accountable for organizational roles. This specific role of the problem management process is responsible for all facets of its coordination, including:

2. Problem Solving Team:

Resolution of Problems may be carried out by internal team members or external service providers or suppliers. In situations where a serious or major Problem occurs, the Problem Manager may formulate a dedicated problem Management team that is made up of resources with specific expertise.

In such scenarios, where critical or severe trouble arises, the problem manager may form a devoted problem management team with specific skills and resources.

Final Words:

The main role of problem management is to prevent events from happening again, and if they do happen, to prevent them from happening again. This was all from our side on what is problem management, we would like to take our leave now but, before we go, remember, you can reach out to us at fwilson@ntaskmanager.com for any queries, at any time. We will get back to you as soon as we can!

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