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Improve Incident and Problem Management of MSPs

Your incident and problem response plan must be aligned and effective for all your clients.

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  • Lack of proper skill sets and training of incident response team.
  • Inefficient communication with clients, end-users, or stakeholders during incident resolution.
  • Lack of standardized guidelines or procedures to handle and resolve incidents.
  • Ineffective root cause analysis due to improper course of actions.
  • Lack of scalability to meet the increased demand for incident resolution and problem solution.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • For MSPs, incident and problem resolution provide an opportunity to become a trusted partner in IT.
  • IT services disruptions are unavoidable, but how incidents are managed is in the control of MSPs.
  • Problem management adds value to MSP clients by being proactive in resolving the root cause of recurring incidents and incidents that may happen in the future.

Impact and Result

  • Build a skilled incident and problem management team
  • Improve and standardize processes/workflows
  • Deliver better customer satisfaction and experience
  • Increase profitability and business growth
  • Leverage your incident and problem management offerings to differentiate and stay competitive among peers in the market

Improve Incident and Problem Management of MSPs Research & Tools

1. Improve Incident and Problem Management of MSPs – Our Approach

Leverage this storyboard to improve your technology service/MSPs' incident and problem management that resolves incidents efficiently and effectively, delivering better customer satisfaction and experience. Focus on three areas to improve incident and problem management: people, processes, and KPIs.

2. Incident Management and Service Desk SOP

Document process and role expectations to drive consistent and effective incident response.

3. Incident KB Article Examples

Use these examples to guide your KB article templates and to clarify the appropriate level of detail.

4. Incident Management and Service Desk Workflows

Create incident response workflows to clarify steps and identify opportunities to improve.

5. Problem Management SOP

Define your problem management process, roles, and techniques.

6. Problem Management Workflow

Clarify problem intake and action steps in a workflow format that is easier for stakeholders to consume.

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Service Management Integration With Agile Practices

Understand how Agile transformation affects service management

Analyst Perspective

Don't forget about operations

Many organizations believe that once they have implemented Agile that they no longer need any service management framework, like ITIL. They see service management as "old" and a roadblock to deliver products and services quickly. The culture clash is obvious, and it is the most common challenge people face when trying to integrate Agile and service management. However, it is not the only challenge. Agile methodologies are focused on optimized delivery. However, what happens after delivery is often overlooked. Operations may not receive proper communication or documentation, and processes are cumbersome or non-existent. This is a huge paradox if an organization is trying to become nimbler. You need to find ways to integrate your Agile practices with your existing Service Management processes.

This is a picture of Renata Lopes

Renata Lopes
Senior Research Analyst
Organizational Transformation Practice
Info-Tech Research Group

Executive Summary

Your Challenge

  • Work efficiently and in harmony with Agile and service management to deliver business value.
  • Optimize the value stream of services and products.
  • Leverage the benefits of each practice.
  • Create a culture of collaboration to support a rapidly changing business.

Common Obstacles

  • Culture clashes.
  • Inefficient or inexistent processes.
  • Lack of understanding of what Agile and service management mean.
  • Leadership doesn't understand the integration points of practices.
  • Development overlooks the operations requirement.

Info-Tech's Approach

  • When integrating Agile and service management practices start by understanding the key integration points:
  • Processes
  • People and resources
  • Governance and org structure

Info-Tech Insight

Agile and Service Management are not necessarily at odds Find the integration points to solve specific problems.

Your challenge

Deliver seamless business value by integrating service management and Agile development.

  • Understand how Agile development impacts service management.
  • Identify bottlenecks and inefficiencies when integrating with service management.
  • Connect teams across the organization to collaborate toward the organizational goals.
  • Ensure operational requirements are considered while developing products in an Agile way.
  • Stay in alignment when designing and delivering services.

The most significant Agile adoption barriers

46% of respondents identified inconsistent processes and practices across teams as a challenge.
Source:, 2021

43% of respondents identified Culture clashes as a challenge.
Source:, 2021

What is Agile?

Agile development is an umbrella term for several iterative and incremental development methodologies to develop products.

In order to achieve Agile development, organizations will adopt frameworks and methodologies like Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum, Large Scaled Scrum (LeSS), DevOps, Spotify Way of Working (WoW), etc.

  • DevOps
  • WoW
  • SAFe
  • Scrum
  • LeSS

What is service management?

This is an example of a service management value chain.

Source: AXELOS, ITIL Foundation ITIL 4 Edition, 2019

"Service Management is a set of specialized organizational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services. Service Management provides a framework within which an organization can have the right people, tools, and processes in place to function optimally and provide excellent customer service."
Source:, 2019

Info-Tech's approach

Key integration points to break down barriers

This is an image of Info-Tech's approach to using key integration points to break down barriers.

Service management processes

Identify where service management processes overlap or have dependency on Agile processes.

People and resources

Visibility and processes workflows can be compromised when different tools are used among the practices.

Governance and org structure

Align what you control and who makes decisions.

A fluid organizational structure can impact how a service is delivered.

Service management processes

Streamline service management processes

Design "just enough" control processes to provide effective services

  • Agile is focused on quickly delivering a product, while service management ensures the value stream is built and monitored to deliver valuable services and products.
  • Agile practices and frameworks don't currently provide any concrete recommendation on how the team should deal with operations after application delivery.
  • Understand where Agile meets service management processes and adjust processes to balance speed, and define workflows and level of documentation required.

Info-Tech Insight

Service Management processes are known for being too rigid, but it doesn't need to be that way.

Quick tips to adjust Service Management processes


Potential Solution

Service Desk

Constant releases of features that Service Desk needs to be aware

Communicate deployment schedules and build enough documentation to ensure defects are handled properly.

Incident Management

Product bugs that might need to be resolved by development team

Create workflows to integrate incidents to product bugs, this can be automated or manually, as long as the development team has visibility of the issues reported

Problem Management

Recurrent product bugs that need a permanent fix

Schedule regular reviews of issues reported to the service desk. Agile development teams should use this feedback to prioritize their backlogs.

Quick tips to adjust service management processes (cont.)


Potential Solution

Service portfolio

Proposed services or those under development should be part of a service portfolio.

Create a cadence between the product owner and the service portfolio manager to ensure alignment.

Service catalog

Constant deployments of new products / services that need to be published on the service catalog.

Ensure your service catalog is up to date by defining a process to update the catalog when a new product or a new version of a product is published.

Change enablement

Higher number of changes.

CAB should be used for highest risk and complexity changes; lower risk changes should be pre-approved or approved by the product owner.

Release management

Higher number of releases.

Develop a pilot release, so the increments are delivered to a small group of users to gain more confidence to roll out to a bigger group and quickly fix issues that might rise.

People and resources

Empowering teams to collaborate

Avoid an "us vs them" environment

  • The way people work directly impacts how they think and what they do. Agile focuses on innovation and speed while service management focuses on stability and governance.
  • Culture is an invisible element, which makes it difficult to identify, but it has a strong impact and must be addressed to successfully embed any organizational change or strategy.
  • Empower the teams by removing roadblocks:
    • Define accountability/
    • Integrate tools when processes are dependent on multiple sources and teams/
    • Provide training and time for people to learn/
    • Adjust operations team's capacity to meet development speed/

"Process is an agreement on how we work, the heavy lift is having people on board"
Valence Howden,
Principal Research Advisor – CIO
Info-tech Research Group

  • Tools
  • Capacity
  • Roles
  • Training
  • Culture

Quick tips to create a value-oriented culture


Potential Solution


Siloed tools between development and IT operations can result in lack of visibility and decelerated work.

There are a few ways to break down this barrier, like integrate tools via APIs, adopt a single enterprise tool, or enable access for both tools and manually build workflows.


When building cross-functional teams the capacity might be affected in terms of coverage.

Ensure you have coverage on your hours of operation by creating a shared group to support products and services or create an on-call rotation to work on emergencies.


Overlap or gap of responsibilities.

Develop a RACI matrix to ensure all relevant service management tasks have an owner. Sometimes those tasks are going to be incorporated by the development teams.


Constant new features or products being developed.

Ensure all groups that are part of the service value stream are informed and trained to support the product.

Governance and org structure

Governance can be more flexible

Understand the key differences

Traditional governance

Agile governance

  • Highly structured
  • Document-focused
  • Focused on compliance and hierarchy-based authority

  • Distributed and empowered
  • Automated
  • Flexible
  • Driven by principles and delegated throughout the company
  • Doesn't govern the how, but the what

Example: Change management governance – RFC might not be approved by the CAB. Approvals might be delegated in the team/ workflows.

To ensure service management and Agile practices work in an optimal level the governance will need to be adjusted.

Agile requires more flexibility and empowered structure to be able to deliver products quickly.

Related research:

If you are looking for details on how to adapt your governance, please see our related research:

Make Your IT Governance Adaptable

Org structure

Understand the key differences

  • The organizational structure will be often changed to adapt to Agile practices.
  • Instead of hierarchical silos grouped by capabilities, the teams are grouped by common goals (often a product) and have end-to-end accountability. These teams are referred to as squads.
  • Some organizations will still have some teams grouped by capabilities as there is not enough of this skill or squads don't need these skills all the time.

Info-Tech Insight

Service management success is all about building a strong connective tissue between Agile and more traditional delivery teams to ensure alignment and consistency.

Quick tips to address org structure challenges

Traditional governance

Agile governance

Lack of alignment and consistency among different squads.

Create a service management centralized information center where all members can access relevant information.

When building cross-functional teams the capacity might be affected in terms of coverage.

Ensure you have coverage on your hours of operation by creating a shared group to support products and services or create an on-call rotation to work on emergencies.

Overlap or gap of responsibilities.

Develop an RACI matrix to ensure all relevant service management tasks have an owner; sometimes those tasks are going to be incorporated by the development teams.


1. Create a stakeholders list

1-2 hours

To ensure you have the right people involved to fix the integration points, create a list of stakeholders to support and advise your initiatives.

  1. Open the ITSM Stakeholder Register Tool and list all the people that might be affected by, have influence over, or have interest in your endeavor.
  2. Classify their level of influence on service management processes , people and resources, governance and org structure.


This is an image of an example of a stakeholder list, used in the ITSM Stakeholder Register Tool

Download the ITSM Stakeholder Register tool

2. Integration points heat map

1-2 hours

Some of your current practices might already be aligned with Agile mindset, while others might need adjustment. Use this tool to Identify integration challenges with the current service management practices.

  1. Open the Service Management Integration with Agile Practices assessment tool and answer the survey.
  2. Once you have answered all the questions, the tool will display a heat map showing the areas where integration would be easier and the ones more challenging.
  3. The areas in red and yellow (score less than 2.9) should be addressed to work in harmony with Agile mindset.


This is an example of an integration point heat map.

Download the Service Management Integration with Agile Practices assessment tool

Research contributors

This is a picture of Joao Jordao

Joao Jordao
Product Manager – Global Hitss

This is a picture of Richard Hoedeman

Richard Hoedeman
Agile coach and consultant – Ctrl Improve

Related Info-Tech research

Make Your IT Governance Adaptable

Make Your IT Governance Adaptable

  • Create the foundation and ability to delegate and empower governance to enable agile delivery.
  • Identify areas where governance does not require manual oversight and can be embedded into the way you work.

Build a Roadmap for Service Management Agility

Build a Roadmap for Service Management Agility

  • Understand Agile principles, how they align with service management principles, and what the optimal states for agility look like.
  • Use Info-Tech's advice and tools to perform an assessment of your organization's state of agility, identify the gaps, and create a custom roadmap to incorporate agility into your service management practice.

Implement Agile Practices That Work

Implement Agile Practices That Work

  • Educate and train your executive, management, and delivery teams to adopt Agile the right way.
  • Assess your current software development lifecycle (SDLC), culture, and environment to evaluate Agile fit and determine what changes need to be implemented.
  • Conduct a structured evaluation of Agile to assess and recognize the benefits of Agile in your organization and teams.
  • Develop an iterative approach to rolling out Agile within your organization to fail fast and recover quickly.


"15th State of Agile Report,", 2021. <>
Ask, Julie. "A Comparison Of Agile And ITSM Change Management Mindsets". Forrester. 2022.
Chambers, Steve. "How ITSM Pull Meets DevOps Push". Joe the IT guy. 2020
Das, Subhasish. "Re-align your ITSM and Agile processes to Co-exist" Linkedin. 2019. Flora, Erika. "THE RISE OF AGILE, DEVOPS, AND LEAN IN THE AGE OF DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION". Beyond20. 2022.
Gillingham, Jacob. "How to Combine the ITIL Best Practices with the Agile Mindset?" Invensis Learning. 2022.
Hoedeman, Richard. "Is it Agile, Scrum, DevOps or is it SAFe?". Medium. 2020. ITIL® Foundation: ITIL 4 Edition. TSO (The Stationery Office), Part of Williams Lea, 2019.
Kelly, Will. "How to solve the DevOps vs. ITSM culture clash". Opensource. 2020.
Kumar Singh, Naveen. "What is Agile Governance: 4 Guiding Principles for Good Governance in Agile". Agilemania. 2022.
Landt, Kevin. "Four ways to adapt ITSM to an agile world." Atlassian. 2018.
Louisnord, Nancy. "ITIL and agile are not always the best of friends, but they sure are not enemies" CIO. 2018.
Magowan, Kirstie. "ITSM vs BRM vs Agile: How Service, Business Relationship & Product Management Work Together". bmc. 2021.
Murphy, Keith. "Agile Organization Structure: Achieving An Agile Business Foundation". Planergy.
Sacolick, Isaac. "3 reasons devops must integrate agile and ITSM tools". Infoworld. 2021.

About Info-Tech

Info-Tech Research Group is the world’s fastest-growing information technology research and advisory company, proudly serving over 30,000 IT professionals.

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