Problem Management and the Wheel of Solutions


“Why is Problem Management important?” I was once asked. “We do a really good job of resolving Incidents quickly right now.”

While this may be true, and the business sees the Incident Management team as the star who fixes issues, problem management is there to do the investigative work for the times that there is no quick solution or when we just want the issues to go away permanently.

How many times have you heard this “….and as if by some divine intervention the issues was resolved!”  This comment while a mild exaggeration has likely been thrown out in a post incident review at some point in an effort to cut the tension when no root cause has been identified. While this comment may mentally take you to a place where you are expecting the seas to part, in reality it is likely that this is where the incident investigation will end with a closure code of “closed – not able to reproduce” or something of that nature. This is a great place for Problem Management to take over.

Another situation where you may want to employ Problem Management may be when it is late in the evening and many support resources are on a conference bridge attempting to determine how to resolve a particular incident. Your “IT Comic” says “we need to spin the wheel of solutions.” This is where having a solid known error database or some type of repository which has previous solutions would help improve resolution rates. Having problem coupled with a Knowledge Management strategy can show maximum value for improving service delivery..

While most organizations are quick to adopt incident management mainly due to its visibility and maturity among the service management best practices, Problem Management should not be over looked. You may not need to have a formalized process rolled out today but even putting in a few functions of the problem process you can start the journey to improvement.