In this series, I’ve been looking at the case for problem management and discussing some of the success factors and the techniques and approaches that can help in implementing it. Now I’d like to sum all this up by sharing 10 steps that reliably lead to success in problem management.
1. Establish ownership. Make a specific individual responsible and accountable for problem management, and involve all relevant teams, managers and subject matter experts.
2. Identify ‘major impact’ incidents: those that result in lost productivity, repeat incidents, or similar incidents affecting common configuration items. Make sure a problem report is raised for each of these incidents.
3. Define the impact of problems on the business (e.g. 1 = high impact, 4 = low/no impact) and – based on that impact – their urgency levels (e.g. 1 = immediate, 4 = five days).
4. Focus attention on those problems with the greatest business impact, and schedule them for attention according to agreed business priorities.
5. Identify dependencies (networks, applications) and assign them to dedicated “resolver groups”. Your problem manager should receive daily status updates from these groups.
6. Hold regular scheduled meetings (including business managers) to discuss problems. If you have a project or program management office, get it involved when problems require change/project management assistance.
7. Post the outcome of root cause analysis to a database of known errors.
8. Encourage IT staff to get involved in updating the known error database – make this a KPI and reward performance.
9. Evaluate problem processes, ownership and escalation to find out what’s working and what’s not. Address any weaknesses that you find.
10. Use a robust service management application that can assist the service desk by proactively identifying potential problems or known errors.
These 10 steps are well worth following because they embody best practice, and because our experience with clients shows they enable successful problem management in the shortest possible time.
In the next and final blog post in this series, I’ll describe a real-life problem management success story from one of our clients, Plymouth City Council in the UK.
If you’d like to know more you can also download our Smart Guide to discover what every Service Desk Manager must know about Problem Management.