IT GovernanceProblem Management

8 Tips for Getting Started with Problem Management

Corporate IT functions report high problem management success rates (often two-thirds). But don’t be fooled by the industry reports. What they are more likely doing, says Joe the IT Guy in a recent post, is conducting post-mortems without, “systemic or proactive problem management.”

Define “Problem Management”

But what is, in essence, “real” problem management? Joe cites AXELOS, which defines it:

The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all problems. Problem management proactively prevents incidents from happening and minimizes the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.

Joe also makes the distinction between proactive and reactive problem management. The former analyzes incident trends to find overlooked problems, while the latter looks for a problem’s root cause to avoid or otherwise eliminate existing problems.

8 Tips for Getting Started

Now that we’ve established the basics, let’s explore some tips for getting started with problem management. Tip one: remember this is not as straightforward as it sounds. Second, it’s important to make a clear distinction between problems and incidents (the latter being the domain of the service desk). Third, until your problem management faculties are fully established, you might want to hire a contractor.

Fourth, don’t get caught up, like Superman, trying to solve all the problems of the world at once. Instead focus on a few initial priority problems, and go from there. You can achieve this humble approach by, five, creating a “Top 5 Problem Report” each month. And, six, IT problem management doesn’t need to be expensive. Start with a desire to reduce downtimes.

Seven, each time you plan for a new problem management phase, plan bigger to avoid stagnation, and eight, start your problem management regimen with the end in mind. This means not to enter the process all wishy-washy. It’s called problem management, but the goal is solution delivery!

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