What Is the Problem Management Process?

ITIL® defines a problem as a cause, or potential cause, of one or more incidents. A known error is a problem that has been analyzed but not resolved. So, how do we manage these problems and known errors before they cause more serious issues? Let’s look at the ITIL 4 practice of problem management.

Problem Management | ITIL V3 Foundation | ITIL Basics | Simplilearn

Benefits of problem management

The main benefit of problem management is it can rescue an organization from potential crises. It might take time to fix all the recurring or isolated incidents the business experiences, but if you can identify and resolve problems quickly, you can keep your stakeholders happy. Problem management can also reduce or eliminate the business risk. For example, say your customer relationship management (CRM) software system takes too long to load certain webpages. If this issue continues, customers might look for their products or services elsewhere, leading to lost revenue opportunities.

Problem management is a complex process that requires constant dedication and vigilance. Invest in training for your team members so they can work together toward resolving problems efficiently while minimizing downtime. Training can help mitigate problems before they happen and optimize your teams decision-making.

What is the problem management process?

IT teams use the problem management process to identify and resolve the cause of service interruptions. Its an important par t of information technology service management (ITSM). Problem management differs from incident management because it tries to find permanent resolutions for problems instead of temporary ones.

When you experience an outage on your network or application, an error screen or another interruption in the companys services, the individual who fixes it depends on the type of issue. The problem management process defines who fixes the problem. The process also determines how the team recognizes and solves the problem.

Recognizing problem management issues

Some issues are isolated incidents, where an error occurs once and affects one system temporarily until you can fix it. Other issues might happen more than once. Rather than fix the problem permanently, you might resolve it by finding a temporary solution. This strategy works short-term but doesnt address the issues main cause.

If an incident occurs frequently, it becomes a problem. When this happens, collect information about what caused these disruptions to determine any trends among them. Research those similarities to determine their underlying causes and how you might resolve them permanently.

Resolving problem management issues

In some cases, your team might resolve a problem in one version of your technology that still affects customers using other versions. In these situations, search your workflow documentation to learn when this fix occurred so you can communicate it to your customers. When gathering this information, note the stakeholders to share this information with, such as your customer service manager, so they can use it to serve customers best.

Using a team to resolve issues

After determining the cause of the problem, create a team capable of solving it, which might include stakeholders. Consider whether performing a temporary fix is sufficient until you can resolve it permanently. Assess the risks associated with fixing the problem now versus later.

When everyone on your team understands the issue, discuss potential solutions. Talk about each option, and recommend a solution based on whats best for your customers. Once you choose a solution, determine how long it takes to complete it. If possible, make this change as soon as possible so you can test its efficacy before making it permanent.

Problem management process steps

Follow these four steps to identify and resolve problems promptly, so your team can become better at the problem management process:

1. Identify the problem

You can identify problems by analyzing metrics or talking to users about their experiences. You might receive help requests from customers describing issues they experienced. Team members can help you identify potential problems that could arise.

2. Investigate the problem

Once you identify a problems source, investigate it to determine what went wrong and what it means for end-users. This step might require deeper data analysis to find answers that can help solve the problem. Involve all team members in this stage of the process.

3. Resolve the issue

The next step is finding the solution to the problem. Once you identify the solution, you can make that change wherever necessary. Ensure all team members understand the issue so they can answer customer and stakeholder questions about it.

4. Monitor

Monitor the resolution closely to ensure its working correctly. If the problem worsens or another incident occurs, analyze what happened and apply what you already know. Your analysis can help guide your team if it encounters future problems.

Problem management process tips

Use these tips to make the problem management process go smoothly:


What is a problem management process?

Problem management is the process of identifying and managing the causes of incidents on an IT service. It is a core component of ITSM frameworks.

What are the key principles of the problem management process?

Problem management involves three distinct phases:
  • Problem Identification. Problem identification activities identify and log problems by: …
  • Problem Control. Problem control activities include problem analysis and documenting workarounds and known errors. …
  • Error Control.

What is problem management with example?

Here are five principles that might help you achieve a best-in-class problem management:
  • Create a focus group to own the problem management process. …
  • Analyze incident trends. …
  • Establish a well-defined problem management processes. …
  • Perform a root cause analysis. …
  • Strive towards problem management maturity.

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