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Establish a Rigorous Problem Management Process

Use the ITIL framework to implement both reactive and proactive problem management practices.

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Your Challenge

  • Your organization is experiencing high rates of recurring incidents that adversely impact availability and service quality.
  • You are constantly in “firefighting” mode, so are unable to focus on incident prevention and proactive problem management.
  • Recurring incidents are not being analyzed to determine the underlying cause of service issues.
  • Root cause analysis procedures are not established or are not practiced in a consistent and repeatable way, leading to unsuccessful root cause investigations and repeated outages and downtime.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Focusing on rapid service restoration at the expense of gathering diagnostic data leads to an inability to determine the root cause of service issues, resulting in the same incidents occurring over and over again.
  • Establishing rigorous problem investigation procedures leads to a more stable environment and a higher quality of service.
  • Investing in diagnostic root cause analysis methods and procedures will have the greatest impact on improving problem resolution rates and reductions in recurring incident rates.
  • Leveraging event management alerts will enable IT support staff to be proactive, instead of reactive and will result in the prevention of service-impacting incidents.

Impact and Result

  • Reduction in the number of recurring incidents.
  • Fewer outages and less downtime.
  • Problem resolutions are faster and more successful.
  • Improved service quality and availability of critical IT systems.
  • Shift from reactive to proactive problem management.

Research & Tools

1. Make the case for problem management

Identify the problem management objectives and gain critical stakeholder support by articulating the benefits.

2. Assess current state and determine goal state

Review current problem management practices and select a goal state that supports the envisioned process goals.

3. Enhance the service desk and incident management processes

Set up the problem management process for success by enhancing critical input sources.

4. Set the foundation for problem management

Develop a standardized procedure for the problem management process.

5. Develop the problem management process

Review the current problem management practices and verify the goal state supports the envisioned process goals (Fundamental, Comprehensive, Proactive).

6. Manage successful problem resolutions

Identify the course of action following root cause determination and coordinate with change and release management.

7. Implement a problem management process and measure its performance

Develop an action plan for the process implementation and monitor the process using metrics.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a four call advisory process.

Call #1 - Review gap analysis results

Understand the gap between your current maturity and the identified goal state for your process design. Prepare a detailed plan to close the gaps between your current state and your desired goal state.

Call #2 - Gather inputs from the service desk and incident management

Prepare your problem management process for success by enhancing service desk and incident management recording and data collection processes.

Call #3 - Set the process foundation

Develop critical foundation practices for your problem management process through development of an SOP. These foundation practices will set up the process for success by enabling more successful root cause analysis and more timely problem resolutions.

Call #4 - Determine the root cause analysis procedures

Adapt your root cause analysis procedures and methods to allow for the most effective and efficient root cause identification and problem resolution.

Onsite Workshop

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Module 1: Make the case for a formalized problem management process

The Purpose

  • Introduction to problem management.
  • Understand current problem and incident management practices.
  • Identification of the necessary roles and responsibilities for the new processes.
  • Identification of the service desk’s role as it relates to incident and problem management.
  • Customization of a problem management Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Comprehensive understanding of current process maturity and performance.
  • Clear roles and responsibilities.
  • Standardization of service desk logging practices for incidents and problems.
  • Utilization of the service desk as a data source for root cause analysis.
  • Adherence to a standardized problem management SOP.




Assess current state and identify goal state

  • Maturity assessment

Identify roles and responsibilities

  • Defined roles and responsibilities

Develop an incident management process to support problem management

  • Defined service desk incident logging and reporting procedures

Develop a problem management SOP

  • Problem management SOP and process

Module 2: Implement and monitor the process

The Purpose

  • Identification of current problem investigation procedures.
  • Identification of root cause analysis processes.
  • Customization of the problem management SOP for root cause analysis.
  • Identification of problem management reporting metrics.
  • Identification of opportunities for proactive problem management.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Faster evaluation and resolution of recurring incidents and related problems.
  • Faster and more effective root cause analysis practices.
  • Standardization of incident and problem management processes.
  • Clearly documented problem management metrics and performance reporting.
  • Reduction of future incidents with proactive problem management.




Develop root cause analysis processes

  • Problem management SOP

Develop a problem management SOP

  • Problem management metrics and reporting practices

Identify metrics to assess problem management performance

  • Root cause analysis templates and procedures

Develop proactive problem management practices and processes

  • Proactive problem management practices

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Search Code: 74783
Published: April 29, 2014
Last Revised: April 29, 2014