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 ITIL (Foundation) Cram Notes

6.5.2 Problem Management Process

A problem is defined as an underlying cause of one or more incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a problem record is created, and the problem management process is responsible for further investigation.

A) Purpose of Problem Management Process

1) To document, investigate, and remove causes of incidents.

2) To minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems on the business that are caused by underlying errors within the IT Infrastructure, and to proactively prevent recurrence of incidents related to these errors.

B) Objectives of Problem Management Process

1) Prevent problems and resulting incidents from happening.

2) Eliminate recurring incidents.

3) Minimize the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented.

C) Scope of Problem Management Process

1) Diagnosis the root cause of incidents

2) Take steps to eliminate them (with other processes, in particular change management process).

3) Document problems, workarounds and resolutions (maintain the known error database) for more effective handling of similar incidents

D) Basic concepts

1) Reactive and Proactive problem management activities: 

a) Reactive problem management process

Reactive problem management process activities will typically be triggered in reaction to an incident that has taken place.

Reactive problem management complements incident management activities by focusing on the underlying cause of an incident to prevent its recurrence and identifying workarounds when necessary.

b) Proactive problem management process

Proactive problem management process activities are triggered by activities seeking to improve services.

Proactive problem management complements CSI activities by helping to identify workarounds and improvement actions that can improve the quality of a service.

2) Problem Models : handle problems that have not and will not be resolved (e.g. the cost of a permanent resolution is too high) by some pre-defined workaround

E) Problem Management Process Activities

Life Cycle of Problem Management is as follows:

1) Detecting Problems identify problems in reactive / proactive ways

2) Logging Problems 

a) Record all relevant problem details for a full historic record

b) log in the problem record (link to the incidents)

3) Categorizing Problems: Categorize Problems in the same way as incidents, using the same coding system, so the true nature of the problem can be easily traced in the future and meaningful management information can be had, and enables incidents and problems to be more readily matched.

4) Prioritizing Problems depends on impact(number of users being affected) and urgency of the problem(how quickly the business needs resolution).

5) Investigating and Diagnosing Problems

a) Apply problem-solving techniques.

b) Use the CMS to help determine impact and pinpoint and diagnose the exact point of failure.

c) Use the KEDB for problem-matching techniques to see if the problem has occurred before and, if so, to find the resolution

6) Identifying a Workaround provides the workaround to service desk for resolving the incident and reassesses the priority

7) Raising a Known Error Record 

a) A known error is a problem with a documented root cause and workaround.

b) Known error records should identify the related problem record and document the status of actions being taken to resolve the problem, its root cause and workaround.

c) All known error records should be stored in the known error database (KEDB)

8) Problem Resolution implement the solution through change management (as emergency change)

9) Problem Closure a permanent solution has been tested and implemented so that the problem will not occur again (user confirmation NOT needed).

10) Major Problem Review 

After every major problem, conduct a lessons learned review examining:

a) Things done right and wrong

b) What to do better in the future

c) How to prevent recurrence.

d) Whether there is any third-party responsibility and if follow-up actions are needed.

F) Incident Management Process- Interfaces with other stages of ITIL Service Lifecycle.

1) Interfaces with Service Design

a) Financial Management for IT services: 

Assists in assessing the impact of proposed resolutions or workarounds, and pain value analysis

Problem management provides information about the cost of resolving and preventing problems.

Used as input into the budgeting and accounting systems and total cost of ownership calculations.

2) Interfaces with Service Design

a) Availability Management: 

Involved with seeking reduced downtime and increased uptime

Much of the management information available in problem management will be communicated to availability management.

b) Capacity Management: 

Some problems will require investigation by capacity management teams and Techniques.

Problem management provides management information on the quality of decisions made during the capacity planning process

c) IT Service Continuity Management: 

Problem management acts as an entry point into IT service continuity management where a significant problem is not resolved before it starts to have a major impact on the business.

d) Service Level Management:

Problem management contributes to improvements in service levels, and its information is used for some SLA review components.

SLM provides parameters within which problem management works.

3) Interfaces with Service Transition

a) Change Management: 

Problem management ensures resolutions/workarounds that require a CI change are given to change management via RFC.

Change management tracks changes, advises problem management

b) Service Assets and Configuration Management: 

Problem management uses the CMS to identify faulty CIs and also to determine the impact of problems and resolutions.

c) Release and Deployment Management: 

Responsible for deploying problem fixes out to the live environment.

Problem management will help resolve problems caused by faults during the release process.

d) Knowledge Management: The SKMS can be used to form the basis for the KEDB and hold or integrate with the problem records.

4) Interfaces with Service CSI

a) Seven step improvement Process:

Incidents and problems are a basis for identifying service improvement opportunities; adding them to the CSI register.

Proactive problem management activities may identify underlying issues that if addressed, can contribute to increases in service quality and end user/customer satisfaction

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