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Problem Management Process

Implementation Guidance (this section must be removed from final version of the document)

Purpose of this document This document sets out the problem management process including flowchart, activities, reporting and roles and responsibilities.

Areas of the ITIL® Framework addressed The following areas of the ITIL Framework are addressed by this document: Service Operation – Problem Management

General Guidance Of all the ITIL processes, problem management probably has the greatest potential to directly affect the service you provide to users. There are many techniques that may be used to analyse and investigate problems and we would recommend that you become familiar with as many of them as possible. In implementing problem management two different approaches are often taken. The first involves the creation of a central problem management team which is responsible for logging and managing problems. The second takes the view that problem management is an activity that everyone in the IT team should take responsibility for and encourages a more distributed process with less central coordination. As with many such decisions, whichever is chosen, the real key lies in the degree of commitment shown to making it work.

Review Frequency We would recommend that this document is reviewed annually.

Toolkit Version Number ITIL® 2011 Service Operation Process and Policy Pack Version 1 ©CertiKit 2015.

Acknowledgements ITIL is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

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Copyright notice Except for any third party works included in this document, as identified in this document, this document has been authored by CertiKit, and is Š copyright CertiKit except as stated below. CertiKit is a trading name of Public I.T. Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 6432088 and registered office at 5 Falcons Rise, Belper, Derbyshire, DE56 0QN.

Licence terms This document is licensed on and subject to the standard licence terms of CertiKit, available on request, or by download from our website. All other rights are reserved. Unless you have purchased this product you only have an evaluation licence. If this product was purchased, a full licence is granted to the person identified as the licensee in the relevant purchase order. The standard licence terms include special terms relating to any third party copyright included in this document.

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Problem Management Process

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Contents LIST OF FIGURES .............................................................................................................................................. 6 LIST OF TABLES ................................................................................................................................................ 6 1

INTRODUCTION ....................................................................................................................................... 7 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4

2

VISION STATEMENT .................................................................................................................................. 7 PURPOSE ................................................................................................................................................... 7 OBJECTIVES .............................................................................................................................................. 7 SCOPE ....................................................................................................................................................... 8

PROBLEM MANAGEMENT PROCESS ................................................................................................ 9 2.1 OVERVIEW AND PROCESS DIAGRAM ......................................................................................................... 9 2.2 PROCESS TRIGGERS ................................................................................................................................. 11 2.3 PROCESS INPUTS ..................................................................................................................................... 11 2.4 PROCESS ACTIVITIES ............................................................................................................................... 12 2.4.1 Problem Detection ........................................................................................................................ 12 2.4.2 Problem Logging .......................................................................................................................... 12 2.4.3 Problem Categorisation ................................................................................................................ 13 2.4.4 Problem Prioritisation .................................................................................................................. 13 2.4.5 Problem Investigation and Diagnosis ........................................................................................... 14 2.4.6 Workaround .................................................................................................................................. 15 2.4.7 Raise Known Error Record if Required ........................................................................................ 15 2.4.8 Change Request ............................................................................................................................ 15 2.4.9 Problem Resolution and Closure .................................................................................................. 15 2.4.10 Major Problem Review ............................................................................................................ 16 2.5 PROCESS OUTPUTS .................................................................................................................................. 16 2.6 PROBLEM MANAGEMENT TOOLS ............................................................................................................ 16 2.6.1 Service desk system ....................................................................................................................... 16 2.6.2 Problem Analysis and Investigation Tools.................................................................................... 17 2.6.3 Email ............................................................................................................................................. 17 2.6.4 Configuration Management System .............................................................................................. 17 2.7 COMMUNICATION AND TRAINING ........................................................................................................... 17 2.7.1 Communication with Users ........................................................................................................... 17 2.7.2 Communication with Customers ................................................................................................... 18 2.7.3 Communication with IT Teams ..................................................................................................... 18 2.7.4 Communication with Suppliers ..................................................................................................... 18 2.7.5 Process Performance .................................................................................................................... 18 2.7.6 Communication Related to Changes ............................................................................................. 19 2.7.7 Training for Problem Management .............................................................................................. 19

3

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ....................................................................................................... 20 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7

OPERATIONAL ROLES ............................................................................................................................. 20 RACI MATRIX ........................................................................................................................................ 20 PROBLEM MANAGEMENT PROCESS OWNER ............................................................................................ 21 PROBLEM MANAGEMENT PROCESS MANAGER ....................................................................................... 21 PROBLEM IDENTIFIER .............................................................................................................................. 22 PROBLEM ANALYST ................................................................................................................................ 22 THIRD-LINE RESOURCE........................................................................................................................... 23

4

ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTATION ..................................................................................................... 24

5

INTERFACES AND DEPENDENCIES ................................................................................................. 25 5.1 5.2

6

OTHER SERVICE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES ........................................................................................... 25 BUSINESS PROCESSES ............................................................................................................................. 26

PROCESS MEASUREMENTS AND METRICS .................................................................................. 28 6.1 6.2

CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS .................................................................................................................. 28 KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS............................................................................................................ 28

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6.3 7

PROCESS REPORTING ......................................................................................................................... 30 7.1 7.2

8

PROCESS REVIEWS AND AUDITS ............................................................................................................. 29

PROCESS REPORTS .................................................................................................................................. 31 OPERATIONAL REPORTS .......................................................................................................................... 32

GLOSSARY, ABBREVIATIONS AND REFERENCES ...................................................................... 33 8.1 8.2 8.3

GLOSSARY .............................................................................................................................................. 33 ABBREVIATIONS...................................................................................................................................... 34 REFERENCES ........................................................................................................................................... 34

List of Figures FIGURE 1 - PROBLEM MANAGEMENT PROCESS ..................................................................................................... 10

List of Tables TABLE 1 - DETERMINATION OF PRIORITY .............................................................................................................. 14 TABLE 2 - PRIORITY DEFINITIONS ......................................................................................................................... 14 TABLE 3 - RACI MATRIX ...................................................................................................................................... 20 TABLE 4 - ASSOCIATED DOCUMENTATION ............................................................................................................ 24 TABLE 5 - INTERFACES WITH OTHER SERVICE MANAGEMENT PROCESSES.............................................................. 26 TABLE 6 - INTERFACES WITH BUSINESS PROCESSES ............................................................................................... 27 TABLE 7 - CRITICAL SUCCESS FACTORS ................................................................................................................. 28 TABLE 8 - KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS .......................................................................................................... 28 TABLE 9 - PROCESS REPORTS................................................................................................................................. 32 TABLE 10 - OPERATIONAL REPORTS ...................................................................................................................... 32 TABLE 11 - GLOSSARY OF RELEVANT TERMS ....................................................................................................... 34

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1 Introduction 1.1

Vision Statement

The vision of [Service Provider] in the area of service management is as follows: [Insert the vision statement defined as part of service strategy] This process forms a key part of the realisation of that vision. 1.2

Purpose

In order to reduce the number and frequency of incidents and improve the level of service to users, it is essential that the causes of incidents are investigated and, through managed actions, permanently removed. Problem management has the potential to not only make services better but to reduce the support overhead of providing them, so minimising cost and maximising warranty. It is important therefore that it is carried out according to a clear, well designed process. This document defines how the process of problem management is implemented within [Organization name]. The purpose of the problem management process according to ITIL®1 is: “to manage the lifecycle of all problems from first identification through further investigation, documentation and eventual removal.” (Source: “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS) A problem is defined as: “the underlying cause of one or more incidents.”

(Source: “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS) 1.3

Objectives

The objectives of the problem management process are to: 1

ITIL® is a registered trade mark of AXELOS Limited.

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     

1.4

Proactively prevent incidents from occurring by identifying and fixing their root cause Minimise the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented by providing information about their causes and workarounds Define the way in which problems will be identified, logged, investigated, resolved and reported on so that consistency is achieved within the IT organization Ensure that the management and investigation of problems takes due account of business priorities and helps to maximise business productivity Foster an effective and efficient approach to the handling of problems that presents a positive image to the business and maintains user satisfaction Ensure that information about problems and their progress is communicated to the relevant parties in a timely and accurate manner at all times Scope

The scope of this process is defined according to the following parameters:    

Organizational o [List organizations and parts of those organizations covered] Geographical o [List locations from which problems will be identified and managed] Services o [Define the services covered by the process] Technical o [If necessary, cover the technology that may give rise to problems managed via this process]

This process covers all problems identified by [Service Provider] in support of the customers and users of services defined in the service catalogue. The following areas are specifically excluded from this process: [Describe any areas that need to be clearly stated as outside the scope]

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2 Problem Management Process 2.1

Overview and Process Diagram

The process of problem management is shown in Figure 1 and summarised below. Problems may be identified from many sources, usually either as a result of ongoing or recent incidents (reactive problem management) or from a retrospective analysis of historical incidents (proactive problem management). Once detected, problems need to be logged, categorised and prioritised in a similar way to incidents. A problem will then be investigated, potentially using a variety of available approaches and tools, including chronological analysis, pain value analysis, brainstorming and 5-Whys. The purpose of the investigation is to identify the root cause of the problem which, if fixed, will eliminate incidents arising from it, so improving service to users. If a workaround is already known or becomes available as a result of the diagnosis of the problem then this may be communicated to the incident management process for use until the problem is fixed. Once the problem has been successfully diagnosed and the root cause found, a known error record is raised in the known error database. If a change is needed to resolve the root cause of the problem then a change request will be raised via the change management process. The problem will then be resolved and the resolution tested to ensure that it was successful. If fixed, the problem will then be closed and, if the severity of the problem justifies it, a major problem review will be carried out to identify lessons learned and any additional improvement actions.

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Service desk

Event Management

Proactive Problem Management

Incident Management

Supplier or Contractor

Problem detection

Problem logging

Problem categorisation

Problem prioritisation

Problem investigation and diagnosis

CMS

Incident management

Implement workaround

Y

Workaround needed?

N

Raise known error record if required

Change management

RFC

Y

Known error database

Change needed?

N

Problem resolution

N

Resolved?

Y

 

Problem closure

Major problem?

Lessons learned Review results Service knowledge management system

Y

Major problem review

N Continual Service Improvement

End

 

Improvement actions Communications

Figure 1 - Problem Management Process

(Source: “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS)

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2.2

Process Triggers

The problem management process is initiated as a result of one or more of the following triggers: 

 

2.3

As a reaction to one or more incidents with similar symptoms occurring for which the cause is not currently known. This may be recognised by: o The service desk o Second-line o Third-line o Suppliers o Customers o Users o Other source or stakeholder From information provided by the service transition stage regarding problems that have not been resolved prior to live running e.g. bugs in software or issues with configuration items As a result of a proactive analysis of previous incidents or message logs carried out with the intention of identifying common factors and trends worth investigating Process Inputs

The process of problem management requires a number of inputs in order to be able to function effectively. These may not always be available but will ideally be: 

    

Details of incidents related to the problem, including o Number of incidents o Dates and times of incidents o Categorisations o Impacts o Symptoms o Actions carried out so far with results Configuration Management System (CMS) records for relevant CIs Technical and business input to investigation and diagnosis sessions such as brainstorming Details of completion of requested changes from the change management process Feedback from incident management, users and other parties regarding whether the problem resolution has been successful Information from internal development teams and external suppliers regarding software and hardware problems that are known about but not yet fixed in the version in use within the organization

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2.4

Process Activities

The individual process activities at each step are detailed as follows. 2.4.1

Problem Detection

In order to make the problem management function as effective as it can be it is important that problems are identified as early as possible. Problems may be identified from any source, including:      

IT team members Suppliers Monitoring tools Customers Users Analysis of incident records

All of the above will be encouraged to provide feedback to the problem management team about potential problems, including user perception of specific areas of service which may indicate an underlying problem. The problem management team will provide advice and guidance about whether an issue represents a valid problem. Problem management will make regular contact with the business in order to get team members to put forward potential problems for investigation. Often the user is aware of things that are not right but perseveres with them because that’s the way it has always been. The problem manager will make efforts to get the business perspective on what they see as the main IT-related problems. Initially the problem manager will make contact with the Business Relationship Managers (BRMs) to create a first pass list and ask them to pass on the problem identification concept to those areas of the business they are in regular contact with. The problem manager will then liaise with the BRMs on an ongoing basis to log, assess, prioritise and investigate those problems that are brought forward. In addition, on a quarterly basis an analysis of logged incidents will be performed by the problem manager in order to identify areas in which possible problems exist. 2.4.2

Problem Logging

It is important that, once identified, problems are recorded so that effort can be allocated to resolving them. Upon a problem being recognised, a problem record will be created by the problem management team within the service desk system and populated with the references of the related incidents and the details of the symptoms of the problem, including:

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    2.4.3

The business impact of the problem (quantified where possible) Users and user groups affected Any relevant information about the timing of the problem Possible causes identified so far Problem Categorisation

Three levels of categorisation will be used for problems. These will the same as used for incidents so that a degree of cross-referencing can be performed. Category hierarchies will be available within the service desk system and will be reviewed on a regular basis as part of process improvement activities. Changes to the categories will be managed carefully so that the implications to SLA reporting are understood and catered for accordingly. The process manager will review on a regular basis the use of categories in logging problems to ensure that they are used consistently by all parties. 2.4.4

Problem Prioritisation

The priority of a problem will determine the order in which it is addressed by problem managers and subsequent teams involved in its investigation. This will be based on a combination of two factors: Impact -

A measure of the effect of a problem on business processes

Urgency -

A measure of how quickly the business needs the problem to be fixed

The priority should take into account the benefits that will be achieved if we manage to resolve it (obviously not all problems will be resolvable). These benefits may take a number of forms but the main questions to be asked will be:      

How much will business disruption be reduced? (e.g. no. of man-hours p.a.) What effect will this have on our customers? How many incidents will we prevent p.a.? How much time will be saved in the IT team? What direct costs will we avoid? What effect will solving this problem have on staff morale?

These questions will allow a benefit profile to be created for the problem which will indicate how much effort it makes sense to put in to get it solved. Both impact and urgency will be assessed on a scale of high, medium and low. The priority of a problem will then be calculated based on the rating of its urgency and impact as follows:

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Impact/Urgency

High

Medium

Low

High

1

2

3

Medium

2

3

4

Low

3

4

5

Table 1 - Determination of Priority

The priority of a problem will be calculated automatically by the service desk system based on the above rules. The definitions of each priority level are as follows: Priority Title 1 Critical 2

High

3

Medium

4 5

Low Planning

Description Significant delay or disruption to the business until the problem is fixed Significant delay or disruption to parts of the business until the problem is fixed Localised delay or disruption affecting one or more users Localised inconvenience affecting single user Very minor inconvenience or non-urgent problem

Table 2 - Priority Definitions

There may be circumstances where a problem affecting a single user has a significant business impact, particularly if the user is a member of the senior management team or a high-value financial transaction is involved. The priority should therefore be set in consultation with the user. 2.4.5

Problem Investigation and Diagnosis

Once a problem has been logged, all activities performed with respect to that problem should be recorded as actions in the problem record e.g. adding notes, referring to supplier. Where appropriate, one or more of the following techniques will be used by the problem management team to define the problem and its possible causes in more detail:      

Chronological Analysis Pain Value Analysis Kepner and Tregoe Brainstorming Ishikawa Diagrams Pareto Analysis

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If the problem management team cannot resolve the problem they may opt to escalate it further e.g. to a third line team or an external supplier. In this case the problem remains with the problem management team and it is the problem team member’s responsibility to ensure that the problem is updated on a regular basis based on feedback from the support team or external supplier. 2.4.6

Workaround

Any workarounds found which reduce or eliminate the symptoms of the problem temporarily should be recorded in the problem record and made available to the service desk. Any instances that make use of a workaround should still be recorded as incidents and linked to the outstanding problem record. This gives a continuing indication of the frequency of the problem. 2.4.7

Raise Known Error Record if Required

Once investigations have been completed and cause of the problem is diagnosed (or before this point if useful), the status of the problem will be moved to that of “known error”. This indicates that the cause is known but the problem is not yet “fixed”. A knowledgebase (Known Error Database) will be maintained within the service desk system into which known errors will be placed. 2.4.8

Change Request

Where a change to the live environment is required in order to fix the problem, a change request must be raised in accordance with change management procedures. The reference numbers of such changes must be recorded in the problem record and the problem reference listed in each change record. 2.4.9

Problem Resolution and Closure

Once the problem has been diagnosed and resolved, it may be closed. In some circumstances it may be decided to close the problem without it being resolved e.g. if the cost of resolving it is prohibitive or the service involved is about to be replaced or retired. In this case the reasons should be documented in the problem record. Related incidents that remain open and are resolved as part of the resolution of the problem should also be closed.

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2.4.10 Major Problem Review

In the case of major problems which have had a significant impact upon service to users, a problem review will be carried out by the problem manager to identify lessons learned. The report produced will be made available to interested parties and any recommendations input to the service improvement plan. 2.5

Process Outputs

The outputs of the problem management process will be the following:     

2.6

Closed problems Complete and accurate problem records Feedback from customers and users regarding levels of satisfaction Communication and feedback to other service management processes such as availability management, capacity management and change management Reports to management regarding problem volumes, impacts, resolution success rates and process effectiveness Problem Management Tools

There are a number of key software tools that underpin an effective problem management process. These are subject to change as requirements and technology are updated and so specific systems are not described here. However the main types of tools that play a significant part in the process within [Organization Name] are as follows. 2.6.1

Service desk system

The service desk system provides the workflow engine and database to implement the core activities within problem management. These include:          

Problem logging Routing and assignment of problems to teams and individuals Recording of actions against problems Updating of problem status from open through to closed Assessment of impact and urgency and auto-calculation of priority Email communication with users from within problem records Problem categorisation to multiple levels Reporting Knowledgebase of past incidents with search capability Known error database

The service desk system is integrated with the systems that support various other processes, including incident, change and configuration management.

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2.6.2

Problem Analysis and Investigation Tools

There are various techniques that may be used during the different stages of the investigation of a problem. Some of these, such as Pareto Analysis and Ishikawa Diagrams, may be supported by tools implemented using spreadsheets and mapping software. 2.6.3

Email

The email system is key to communication between the problem management team and other involved groups such as users and suppliers. 2.6.4

Configuration Management System

The CMS provides real-time information about the hardware and software within the IT environment and allows problem management to view any changes that have been implemented on key components that are under consideration with regard to a problem. It allows the installed software and its versions to be viewed without the need to access the user’s computer remotely as well as helping problem management understand the relationships between service components. 2.7

Communication and Training

There are various forms of communication that must take place for the problem management process to be effective. These are described below. 2.7.1

Communication with Users

It is likely that many of the incidents that give rise to the identification of a problem are reported by users. If such incidents are not able to be closed via the use of a workaround then it will be appropriate to keep these users informed about the progress of the investigation of the problem. In the event that such incidents can be closed but reoccur on a regular basis then users will still want to be kept informed about when the underlying problem will be fixed and the frequent incidents can be expected to cease. Emails that are exchanged with the user should be incorporated into the request record so that a full audit trail of all communication is kept and is available to whoever is working on the problem. It may be appropriate to invite selected users to sessions organized to investigate problems via the various techniques available such as brainstorming. Users who have first-hand knowledge of the symptoms and circumstances of a problem can provide valuable insight into its causes and may speed up its resolution.

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2.7.2

Communication with Customers

Even where there is no formal SLA associated with the resolution of problems, customers should be kept informed about the progress of high priority problems affecting their business area, including what is being done to resolve them and the resources dedicated to their investigation. 2.7.3

Communication with IT Teams

Problem management needs the support of technical specialists to identify and resolve sometimes complex problems for the benefit of the business and often the IT team itself. The problem manager will foster close relationships with key teams within the IT organization so that the benefits of effective problem management are understood and demonstrated. IT specialists will be involved in investigative sessions and are likely to be key contributors to the use of techniques such as chronological analysis and fault isolation. 2.7.4

Communication with Suppliers

Often the input of suppliers will be critical to diagnose, test and resolve difficult problems. Their knowledge of the products and services they supply will usually exceed that available in-house and sometimes access to the developers of products may be needed to determine a resolution. The internal supplier manager for the third party involved should be kept informed of the ongoing communication between problem management and supplier staff and may be useful in securing additional resource to speed up investigations. 2.7.5

Process Performance

It is important that the performance of the problem management process is monitored and reported upon on a regular basis in order to assess whether the process is operating as expected. The content of performance reports is set out in section 6 of this document but it is vital that the reports are not only produced but are also communicated to the appropriate audience. This will include the customers of the IT service and the management of IT concerning resource utilisation and allocation. Depending on the health of the process it may be appropriate to hold regular meetings with customers and IT management to discuss the performance and agree any actions to improve it.

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2.7.6

Communication Related to Changes

The problem management process manager must have visibility of the change management schedule and ideally will be briefed on any changes with the potential to affect ongoing problems. This may be a regular meeting or carried out on an adhoc basis according to the frequency of occurrence of such changes. Problem management will also communicate with change management as part of the logging of changes to resolve problems and the review of these after the event. 2.7.7

Training for Problem Management

In addition to a well-defined process and appropriate software tools it is essential that the people aspects of problem management are adequately addressed. The process requires that training be provided to all participants in order that it runs as smoothly as possible. The main areas in which training will be required for problem management are as follows.      

The problem management process itself, including the activities, roles and responsibilities involved Problem management software tools such as the service desk system and configuration management system Specific problem investigation techniques such as Kepner-Tregoe, 5-Whys and Affinity Mapping Soft skills such as customer service, dealing with difficult conversations and avoiding technical jargon The basics of the technology and how it is implemented within [Organization Name] The business, its structure, locations, priorities and people

In addition, training should be provided to the user population regarding how to identify and report a problem, including:   

The difference between an incident, a service request, a problem and a change proposal and how they are handled How to report a problem via the various means available What may be expected of them as part of problem investigation

This training may be provided via short workshops and supplemented by on demand resources such as videos and user guides.

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3 Roles and Responsibilities This section describes the main operational roles involved in the problem management process, their interaction with the process and their detailed responsibilities. 3.1

Operational Roles

The following main roles participate in the problem management process:    

Problem Identifier (user, service desk analyst, supplier etc.) Problem Analyst Third-Line Resource (including suppliers) Process Manager

There will also be interaction with IT and business management at various points in the process. 3.2

RACI Matrix

The table below clarifies the responsibilities of these roles at each step of the problem management process using the RACI system, i.e.: R= Responsible

A= Accountable

Role: Step Problem detection Problem logging Problem categorisation Problem prioritisation Problem investigation and diagnosis Workaround Raise known error record Change request Problem resolution and closure Major problem review

C= Consulted

I= Informed

Problem Identifier R C C

Problem Analyst I R R

Third-Line Resource C C

Process Manager A A A

C I

R R

C C

A A

I

R R

C

A A

I

R R

I

A A

C

R

C

A/C

Table 3 - RACI Matrix

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3.3

Problem Management Process Owner

The responsibilities of the problem management process owner are:               

Sponsoring, designing and change managing the process and its metrics Defining the process strategy Assisting with process design Ensuring that appropriate process documentation is available and current Defining appropriate policies and standards to be employed throughout the process Periodically auditing the process to ensure compliance to policy and standards Periodically reviewing the process strategy to ensure that it is still appropriate and change as required Communicating process information or changes as appropriate to ensure awareness Providing process resources to support activities required throughout the service lifecycle Ensuring process technicians have the required knowledge and the required technical and business understanding to deliver the process and understand their role in the process Reviewing opportunities for process enhancements and for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the process Addressing issues with the running of the process Identifying improvement opportunities for inclusion in the CSI register Making improvements to the process Working with other process owners to ensure there is an integrated approach to the design and implementation of request fulfilment, problem management, event management, access management and incident management

(Source: “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS) 3.4

Problem Management Process Manager

The responsibilities of the problem management process manager are:       

Working with the process owner to plan and co-ordinate all process activities Ensuring all activities are carried out as required throughout the service lifecycle Appointing people to the required roles Managing resources assigned to the process Working with service owners and other process managers to ensure the smooth running of services Monitoring and reporting on process performance Identifying improvement opportunities for inclusion in the CSI register

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         

Working with the CSI manager and process owner to review and prioritise improvements in the CSI register Making improvements to the process implementation Planning and managing support for problem management tools and processes Coordinating interfaces between problem management and other service management processes Driving the efficiency and effectiveness of the problem management process Producing management information Managing the work of problem management staff Monitoring the effectiveness of problem management and making recommendations for improvement Developing and maintaining the problem management systems Developing and maintaining the problem management process and procedures

(Source: “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS) 3.5

Problem Identifier

Due to the diverse nature of problem management the person initially identifying the problem may be located in one of many teams including the business, IT and a supplier. The main responsibilities of the person identifying the problem are:     3.6

Inform the service desk or problem management team directly that they believe a problem exists Provide all relevant information about the potential problem including symptoms, timings, frequency, impact and urgency Participate in investigative sessions when required Assist in confirming the resolution of the problem Problem Analyst

The responsibilities of the Problem Analyst with respect to the problem management process are to:     

interact with users and other parties in a professional manner at all times log problems in a timely manner according to the organization’s established procedures ensure that all appropriate questions are asked to establish the impact, urgency and circumstances of the problem collect all relevant information regarding the problem record all relevant information accurately and promptly within the problem management system

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  

3.7

use appropriate tools and training to analyse, investigate and diagnose the problem involve other IT and business teams and suppliers where necessary confirm with those affected by the problem that it has been successfully resolved prior to closure Third-Line Resource

The third-line resource may be an internal team or a supplier. The responsibilities of the third-line resource within the problem management process are as follows.    

assist in the definition of the problem from a technical viewpoint participate in the analysis and investigation of the problem when requested perform actions to resolve the problem under change management help to confirm the resolution of the problem

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4 Associated Documentation The following documentation is relevant to the problem management process and should be read in conjunction with it: Document ITIL Service Operation Book Problem logging and management procedure Service management system user guide Service management system administration guide Incident Management Process Change Management Process Configuration Management Process

Reference ISBN number

Version 2011

9780113313075

ITILSO0301

V1.0 Final V1.0 Final V1.0 Final

Location [Network drive location] [Network drive location] [Network drive location] [Network drive location] [Network drive location] [Network drive location] [Network drive location]

Table 4 - Associated Documentation

In the event that any of these items is not available please contact the Service Desk Supervisor.

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5 Interfaces and Dependencies The problem management process has a number of interfaces and dependencies with other processes within service management and the business. These are outlined here and are described in further detail in the relevant procedural documentation. 5.1

Other Service Management Processes

ITIL Lifecycle Stage Service Strategy

Service Design

Service Transition

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Process

Inputs to problem management from the named process Financial Management for Cost information to help assess the IT Services relative priority of problems Costings of hardware and software components to be used to resolve problems Service Level Service Level Agreements to Management determine impact of problems Availability Management Areas in which availability needs to be improved Capacity Management Performance information as part of investigation of capacity issues IT Service Continuity Details of service continuity plans for Management options appraisal Service Asset and Configuration Management System Configuration Management (CMS) records Change Management Information about changes that may have affected existing problems or created new ones Release and Deployment Known errors with new releases Management Release schedules for changes to fix Page 25 of 35

Outputs from problem management to the named process Cost of proposed problem resolutions for input to budget cycle

Problem status information for inclusion in service level reports Resolved problems to improve availability Resolved performance problems Invocations of service continuity plans in the event of major problems Linking of problems to CIs Changes raised to resolve problems

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ITIL Lifecycle Stage

Process

Service Operation

Knowledge Management Incident Management

Continual Service Improvement

7-Step Improvement Process

Inputs to problem management from the named process problems Information about current services Problems raised as a result of one or more incidents Ongoing information about incidents related to problems Problem management process improvements

Outputs from problem management to the named process planned releases Known errors for inclusion in the KEDB Resolution of problems leading to closure of open incidents Workarounds Known errors Potential service improvements identified from resolved problems

Table 5 - Interfaces with other service management processes

5.2

Business Processes

[Business processes will obviously be numerous and highly industry- and organization-specific. We therefore recommend that you only address those that are closely linked to the process in question here.] Business Area

Business Process

Inputs to problem management from the named process

Human Resources Finance Sales and Marketing Production/Operations Legal and Compliance Research and Development Distribution and Logistics Customer Services

All All All All All All

Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems

Outputs from problem management to the named process Resolved problems Resolved problems Resolved problems Resolved problems Resolved problems Resolved problems

All All

Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems

Resolved problems Resolved problems

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Business Area

Business Process

Inputs to problem management from the named process

Purchasing Public Relations Administration [Insert further business processes here]

All All All

Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems Notification of potential problems

Outputs from problem management to the named process Resolved problems Resolved problems Resolved problems

Table 6 - Interfaces with business processes

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6 Process Measurements and Metrics In order to determine whether the problem management process is working effectively and achieving what we want it to achieve, we must first define our critical success factors and identify how we will determine if they are being fulfilled. 6.1

Critical Success Factors

The following factors are defined as critical to the success of the problem management process: Ref. CSF1 CSF2 CSF3 CSF4

Critical Success Factor Business impact and disruption is minimised Service levels are being maintained User satisfaction and confidence in IT services is maintained The process provides value for money

Table 7 - Critical success factors

Achievement of these critical success factors will be measured via the use of relevant Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). 6.2

Key Performance Indicators

The following KPIs will be used on a regular basis to evidence the successful operation of the problem management process: CSI Ref. CSF1

CSF2 CSF3

CSF4

KPI Ref. KPI1.1 KPI1.2 KPI1.3 KPI1.4 KPI2.1 KPI2.2 KPI3.1 KPI3.2 KPI3.3 KPI3.4 KPI4.1 KPI4.2

Key Performance Indicator Number of problems resolved per month Number of incidents prevented per month Number of workarounds identified Mean time to resolve problems by problem type Number of major problems raised Number of hours service lost due to identified problems User satisfaction scores from user surveys Customer satisfaction scores from customer surveys Number of complaints about the problem management process Number of open problems Staff to problem ratio Average cost per resolved problem

Table 8 - Key performance indicators

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6.3

Process Reviews and Audits

Reviews will be carried out by the process owner in conjunction with the process manager on a three monthly basis to assess whether the problem management process is operating effectively and delivering the desired results. These reviews will have the following as input:       

Follow-up action list from previous reviews Relevant changes and developments within the business and IT KPI reports from the previous period Details of all complaints logged during the period Internal and external audit reports Feedback from users and customers Identified opportunities for improvement

Each review will be documented by the process owner and actions arising agreed and published. Audits will be carried out on an annual basis by the internal auditing department. The scope and timing of the audit will be agreed in advance. Recommendations from the audit will be published and actions discussed and agreed with the process owner. All actions will be followed up by the internal auditor within the agreed timescales for each action.

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7 Process Reporting It is important that regular reports are produced for two main reasons: 1. to help to assess whether the problem management process is meeting its critical success factors (see section 6.1 above) 2. to assist operational supervisors in the day-to-day management of the problem management process and its resourcing These two purposes may require different views of the information available and will need to be produced at varying frequencies for differing audiences. The format of the reports produced will also be subject to regular review and amendment as requirements become clearer and the available reporting technology within the business matures. What must be avoided is the continued production of reports that are not read and serve no purpose. It is up to the process owner, in consultation with the process manager, to ensure that all reporting remains focussed and relevant. The following tables show the reports that will be produced together with their purpose, method of production, data source, audience and frequency. Some of the reports listed will be used for multiple purposes.

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7.1

Process Reports

The following reports are produced by the process manager and are intended to help the process owner assess whether the CSFs for problem management are being met. Ref. CSFR1 CSFR2

Report Title Resolved problems Incidents prevented

CSFR3

Workarounds

CSFR4

Problem Resolution Time Major problems

CSFR5 CSFR6

Hours service lost

CSFR7

User satisfaction

CSFR8

Customer satisfaction CSFR9 Problem management complaints CSFR10 Open problems

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Description Number of problems resolved by month Number of incidents logged per month prior to problem resolution minus number logged after resolution, by problem Number of workarounds added to KEDB per month Average resolution time per closed problem Number of major problems raised per month Number of hours service lost as a result of incidents related to open problems User satisfaction survey results Customer satisfaction survey results Number and listing of new complaints per month

Method of Production Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system reporting tool

Data Source Service desk database Service desk database

Frequency Audience Weekly Process owner Weekly Process owner

Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system reporting tool

Service desk database Service desk database Service desk database Service desk database

Weekly

Survey tool report

Quarterly

Complaints system reports

Survey tool database Survey tool database Complaints database

Number of open problems at end of month

Service desk system reporting tool

Service desk database

Monthly

Survey tool report

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Process owner Process owner Process owner Process owner

Monthly Monthly Monthly

Sixmonthly Monthly

Process owner Process owner Process owner Process owner

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Ref. Report Title CSFR11 Resolution ratio

Description Staff to resolved problem ratio

Method of Production Spreadsheet chart

CSFR12 Problem cost

Average cost per resolved problem by type

Spreadsheet costing model

Data Source Service desk database and staff attendance records Service desk system and costings from Finance

Frequency Audience Monthly Process owner

Quarterly

Process owner

CSFR13 [Insert further reports] Table 9 - Process reports

7.2

Operational Reports

The following reports are to provide further ongoing operational information to the process manager. They are in addition to the relevant process reports described above. Ref. OPR1 OPR2 OPR3 OPR4

Report Title Analyst productivity Problem category High priority Problem dashboard [Insert further reports]

Description Problems logged and closed by problem analyst Open problems by category Problems of priority 1 and 2 that are currently open Dashboard of key problem status

Method of Production Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system reporting tool Service desk system filter view Service desk system reporting tool

Data Source Service desk database Service desk database Service desk database Service desk database

Frequency Audience Weekly Process manager Monthly Process manager Weekly Process manager Weekly Process manager

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8 Glossary, Abbreviations and References 8.1

Glossary

For a full list of terms used and their definitions within ITIL, please refer to the back of any of the books in the ITIL Lifecycle Suite 2011. The following subset of terms is specifically relevant to this document: Term category change closed configuration item configuration management system continual service improvement

customer

escalation financial management impact incident incident management IT service

key performance indicator known error database model

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Meaning A named group of things that have something in common The addition, modification or removal of anything that could have an effect on IT services The final status in the lifecycle of an incident, problem, change etc. When the status is closed, no further action is taken Any component or other service asset that needs to be managed in order to deliver an IT service A set of tools, data and information that is used to support service asset and configuration management A stage in the lifecycle of a service. Continual service improvement ensures that services are aligned with changing business needs by identifying and implementing improvements to IT services that support business processes Someone who buys goods or services. The customer of an IT service provider is the person or group who defines and agrees the service level targets An activity that obtains additional resources when these are needed to meet service level targets or customer expectations. A generic term used to describe the function and processes responsible for managing an organization’s budgeting, accounting and charging requirements A measure of the effect of an incident, problem or change on business processes An unplanned interruption to an IT service or reduction in the quality of an IT service The process responsible for managing the lifecycle of all incidents A service provided by an IT service provider. An IT service is made up of a combination of information technology, people and processes A metric that is used to help manage an IT service, process, plan, project or other activity A database containing all known error records A representation of a system, process, IT service, configuration item etc. that is used to help understand or predict future

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Term operational level agreement priority problem service desk service level agreement urgency

Meaning behaviour An agreement between an IT service provider and another part of the same organization A category used to identify the relative importance of an incident, problem or change A cause of one or more incidents The single point of contact between the service provider and the users An agreement between an IT service provider and a customer A measure of how long it will be until an incident, problem or change has a significant impact on the business A person who uses the IT service on a day-to-day basis. Users are distinct from customers, as some customers do not use the IT service directly A description of what the organization intends to become in the future Reducing or eliminating the impact of an incident or problem for which a full resolution is not yet available

user

vision workaround

Table 11 - Glossary of Relevant Terms

(Based on “ITIL Service Operation Book 2011”. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011. Reproduced under license from AXELOS) 8.2

Abbreviations

The following abbreviations are used in this document: BRM CI CMS CSF CSI IT ITIL KEDB OLA SKMS SLA UC 8.3

Business Relationship Manager Configuration Item Configuration Management System Critical Success Factor Continual Service Improvement Information Technology Information Technology Infrastructure Library Known Error Database Operational Level Agreement Service Knowledge Management System Service Level Agreement Underpinning Contract

References

The following sources have been used in the creation of this process document and should be consulted for more information on particular aspects of it: 

ITIL Service Operation Book 2011. Copyright © AXELOS Limited 2011

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   

[Organization Name] IT organization structure, published dd/mm/yy [Organization Name] Business Strategy yyyy-yyyy [Organization Name] IT Strategy yyyy-yyyy [Organization Name] IT Service Management Strategy yyyy-yyyy

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