Why organisations struggle to make Problem Management a success

From my recent experience working with IT departments it’s clear that they are all coming under pressure to reduce their support costs, and the challenge for them is to do this whilst maintaining service levels.

The trend seems to be, however, that there is an increase in the number of Incidents that IT departments need to handle due to expanded service offerings, infrastructure upgrades, or simply just greater awareness amongst the end-users of the availability and capabilities of the Service Desk. 

So Problem Management should help – right?

The objective of the Problem Management process, according to ITIL®, is: “To prevent problems and the resulting incidents from happening, to eliminate recurring incidents and to minimise the impact of incidents that cannot be prevented”.

However, people sometimes misunderstand the difference between an Incident and a Problem (in ITSM terms). A Problem is not a BIG Incident or a Major Incident. It’s simply the underlying cause of one or more incidents” – and Problem Management is about eliminating those causes and thereby preventing incidents from happening.

Problem Management is a tough process to get right, so it’s important to be aware of some of the reasons behind unsuccessful Problem Management Implementations so that the pitfalls can be avoided:

  • Not resourcing the process appropriately
  • Potential for lack of support from the Service Desk
  • Difficulty in demonstrating the Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Teams rarely getting around to doing Proactive Problem Management
  • Overloading the Problem Management team by setting their scope too high.
  • The lack of an effective, documented Problem Management process (supported by technology) 

Follow my blog for some tips for a successful implementation of Problem Management next week.

Problem Management is covered in the APMG-accredited ISO20000 Practitioner Certificate Training Course.