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Incident and Problem Management

Don’t let persistent problems govern your department.

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  • Hardy Baker, Incident and Problem Manager, Waste Management
  • Rishi Bhargava, Co-Founder Demisto Inc.
  • Rob England, Managing Director, Two Hills Ltd.
  • Steven Ingram, Data Engineer, Wave HQ
  • George Jucan, Founder, Organizational Performance Enablers Network
  • Rick Moroz, Associate Director, Information Systems, University of Guelph

Your Challenge

  • IT infrastructure managers have conflicting accountabilities. It can be difficult to fight fires as they appear while engaging in systematic fire prevention.
  • Repetitive interruptions erode faith in IT. If incidents recur consistently, why should the business trust IT to resolve them?

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Don’t risk muddling the chain of command during a crisis. Streamline the process. When senior technical staff are working on incidents, they report to the service desk manager.
  • Incidents defy planning, but problem management is schedulable. Schedule problem management; reduce unplanned work.
  • Just because a problem has not caused an incident doesn’t mean it never will. Get out in front of problems. Maximize uptime.

Impact and Result

  • Define the roles and responsibilities of the incident manager and the problem manager.
  • Develop a critical incident management workflow that will save money by streamlining escalation.
  • Create a problem management standard operating procedure that will reduce incident volume, save money, and allow upper tier support staff to engage in planned work as opposed to firefighting.

Research & Tools

Start here – read the Executive Brief

Read our concise Executive Brief to find out why sub-optimal incident management could be costing you money, and how to implement incident, problem, and proactive problem management best practices.

1. Identify and manage major/critical incidents

Develop a plan to identify critical incidents and to resolve them with as little friction as possible.

2. Develop problem management procedures

Systematically identify problems, and develop a procedure for opening, resolving, and closing problem tickets.

3. Engage in proactive problem management

Develop thresholds for event management, predict problems, and communicate the importance of proactivity to stakeholders.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is an eight call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Identify and manage major/critical incidents

Call #1 - Outline the potential benefits of a critical incident management procedure.
Call #2 - Review the results of the voting exercise and the list of exceptions.

Guided Implementation #2 - Develop problem management procedures

Call #1 - Outline the benefits of a problem management regimen and the required resources.
Call #2 - Review the separated lists of incidents and problems.
Call #3 - Review the incident matching procedure.

Guided Implementation #3 - Engage in proactive problem management

Call #1 - Outline the required inputs for proactive problem management.
Call #2 - Review proactive problem management techniques.
Call #3 - Collate and present the visual SOPs.

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Incident and Problem Management Course

Resolve service issues faster and eliminate recurring incidents.
This course makes up part of the Infrastructure & Operations Certificate.

Course information:

  • Title: Incident and Problem Management Course
  • Number of Course Modules: 4
  • Estimated Time to Complete: 2-2.5 hours
  • Featured Analysts:
  • John Annand, Senior Manager, Infrastructure Research
  • Fred Chagnon, Research Director, Infrastructure and Operations Research
  • Now Playing: Academy: Incident and Problem Management | Executive Brief

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Incident Management

The Purpose

  • Develop a framework and process for managing incidents.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Systematize critical incident management identification.
  • Define escalation rules.




Roles and responsibilities for service desk and infrastructure

  • Incident Manager role description

Review ticket categorization

  • Critical Incident Management SOP

Prioritization schema


Define escalation rules, document and critique workflows


Establish SLAs

  • Internal SLA to service desk

Develop the knowledgebase

  • Knowledgebase Article Template

Develop KPIs

  • Incident management KPIs

Module 2: Problem Identification and Categorization

The Purpose

  • Identify and categorize incoming problems.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Systematic problem intake process.
  • Clear problem categorization.
  • Identification of problem management roles and responsibilities.




Problem intake criteria and incident review process

  • Problem Management SOP

Problem ticket categorization

  • Problem Ticket Template
  • Categorization and impact schema

Role development for problem management

  • Problem Manager role description

Problem management KPIs

  • Problem management KPIs

Module 3: Root Cause Analysis

The Purpose

  • Develop root cause analysis techniques and track problem status.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Understanding of how to conduct root cause analysis.
  • Method for tracking problem status.




Root cause analysis exercises

  • Root cause analysis procedure

Quantification of risk

  • Problem risk assessment

Problem reporting requirements and audience

  • Problem status dashboard

Updating and maintain the knowledgebase

Module 4: Proactive Problem Management

The Purpose

  • Develop proactive problem management procedures.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Proactive problem management SOP, which will enable the prevention of interruptions.




Information sources for problem identification

  • Monitoring and alert thresholds

Data quality participants and agenda review for active regular data analysis


Complete comprehensive visual SOP

  • Visual SOP