9 March 2013

Part 5 - Problem Management (ITIL Video Tutorials)

Problem management aims to resolve the root causes of incidents and thus to minimise the adverse impact 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. A 'problem' is the unknown underlying cause of one or more incidents, and a 'known error' is a problem that is successfully diagnosed and for which either a work-around or a permanent resolution has been identified. The CCTA (Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency) defines problems and known errors as follows
problem is a condition often identified as a result of multiple incidents that exhibit common symptoms. Problems can also be identified from a single significant incident, indicative of a single error, for which the cause is unknown, but for which the impact is significant.
known error is a condition identified by successful diagnosis of the root cause of a problem, and the subsequent development of a work-around.
Problem management differs from incident management. The principal purpose of problem management is to find and resolve the root cause of a problem and thus prevent further incidents; the purpose of incident management is to return the service to normal level as soon as possible, with smallest possible business impact.
The problem-management process is intended to reduce the number and severity of incidents and problems on the business, and report it in documentation to be available for the first-line and second line of the help desk. The proactive process identifies and resolves problems before incidents occur. Such processes include:
  • Trend analysis
  • Targeting support action
  • Providing information to the organisation
The error control process iteratively diagnoses known errors until they are eliminated by the successful implementation of a change under the control of the Change Management process.
The problem control process aims to handle problems in an efficient way. Problem control identifies the root cause of incidents and reports it to the service desk. Other activities are:
  • Problem identification and recording
  • Problem classification
  • Problem investigation and diagnosis
A technique for identifying the root cause of a problem is to use an Ishikawa diagram, also referred to as a cause-and-effect diagram, tree diagram, or fishbone diagram. Alternatively, a formal Root Cause Analysis method such as Apollo Root Cause Analysis can be implemented and used to identify causes and solutions. An effective root cause analysis method and/or tool will provide the most effective/efficient solutions to address problems in the Problem Management process.

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