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Problem Management

Problem Management complements Incident Management by:

  • Working reactively and proactively to detect and analyze issues that require root cause analysis with a goal of preventing, eliminating or minimizing the impact of Incidents
  • Providing a mechanism for recording and tracking "Known Errors" as well as the process used to resolve such issues

More information on Problem Management

Problem Management Process

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Problem Management Process Flow Diagram - major steps explained belows
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Process Flow Description

The major steps of the Problem Management process include:

Record Problem

A Problem is most often initiated in ITSM because an Incident(s) points to a larger concern where cause is unknown. A Problem record is created via an Incident record with initial relevant details brought forward. A Problem record can be individually created in ITSM, as well, when ITS Staff recognize a need to investigate based on their own proactive monitoring.

Review and Analyze Impact

The Problem Coordinator reviews the Problem record and determines whether potential impact justifies further investigation. The decision to proceed may be based on factors including but not limited to:

  • Impact to service; cost associated with repeated occurrences
  • Potential resource and financial expenditures needed to investigate
  • Key business processes impacted as discussed with the Service Owner

The Problem Management process terminates here if a decision is made against further investigation.

Investigate and Diagnose Problem

The objective of this stage is to identify root cause.

  • The Problem Coordinator assigns the record as appropriate and the respective Support Group Administrator of the Assignee monitors progress.
  • If the root cause is not identified, the Problem Coordinator is involved again.
  • The decision is made whether to leave the Problem record open and continue investigation or to terminate the Problem Management process here.

Record Known Error

Once root cause is identified, a Known Error record is generated from the original Problem record. An investigation into a potential fix takes place.

Note: A Known Error is not always the result of a specific Problem. A new implementation or upgrade may result in Known Error records not associated with a Problem record. These may be unresolved test issues or bugs not considered implementation show-stoppers and possibly correctable in the future.

Take Corrective Action

If no corrective action is identified and taking no action is an acceptable solution, the Known Error and original Problem records can be closed; or they may remain in an open state until corrective action can be identified.

  • If corrective action is possible, the Change Management process is engaged toward implementing a fix.
  • An unsuccessful change means revisiting whether no action is an acceptable solution at this time.
  • A successful resolution allows the process to continue to closure of the Known Error and Problem records.

Close Known Error

The Known Error record is closed. The final status must be either "Closed" or "No Action Planned." A reason must also be indicated.

Close Problem

  • The Problem record is closed and might trigger resolution and/or closure of appropriately related unresolved open Incidents.
  • If a root cause was not originally identified during Investigate and Diagnose Problem, the record could be allowed to remain open in "Pending" status with reasons provided until a root cause can be later identified.

Detailed Description

Learn more about the process in the Problem Management Detailed Flow Description.

Problem Management Process Manager Information

The Problem Management Process Manager is responsible for designing the Problem Management process and defining process metrics for the organization.

The ITS Problem Management Process manager is Greg Benn (gbenn@umich.edu)