Posted: Wed Oct 19, 2005 9:24 pm Post subject: Problem Management Help
I'm a newbie in an IT industry. I have read some of your discussions with other senior itilers in the "ITILcommunity forum" and I have learned many things.
I know the difference between incidents and problems but still, are there any specific examples, what to do's, and guidelines, to eliminate the problems? Are there any reports needed or statistics we need just to solve them? Any suggestion for good reference for problem management?
Joined: Mar 12, 2005 Posts: 255 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 12:59 pm Post subject:
I'm not entirely sure if your question is aimed at the Problem Managment process, or the technical activities of problem resolution.
It appears to be the later. Unfortunately there is no 'answer' to that becasue there is no single technique for locating errors. How you find the cause for crashes on a complex application, packet crashes on a network, or why a hard drive seems to be unreadable, are all going to be different.
ITIL hands this particular aspect of production over to 'Technical Support' - which it considers to be an Infrastructure Management process(?) and centres of technical excellence (in particular technologies).
Only a top notch network engineer can tell you how to analyse network problems (for example) - not an ITIL hack such as myself.
If on the other hand you problem is with how to manage and control problem resoultion activity, I'd need a little more information about what kind of difficulty you are facing.
By the way - the 'senior' designation on my handle in this forum is not an indication of skill, it just means I have made more than 50 posts - they could all be rubbish, and it would still label me as 'senior'.
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 4:36 pm Post subject: Problem Management Help
Thanks for your reply rjp, Well, i guess that is what i've been looking for... the technical support for locating and minimizing errors. On the other hand, could you look into our scenario and suggest on how to deal our problem, ITIL style...
In our company, we have our service desk, if an incident occurs and they can't solve it, they would pass the incident to several 2nd level support. It could be email admins group, network, sap, hardware specialist and others.
let's say a customer calls and he can't access our email system. The service desk would give him a ticket no. and would try to transfer him to the email system group. But when the email group isolated the problem, it was a network failure, and so it would transfer to the network group. So another isolation and the incident is solve. But another user called, like the other one... he can't access email.... So the flow repeats again by passing it to different designated groups instead of solving it in the 1st level support. Also, our different groups are used to pass the problem to one another because they do not want to handle what they are not specialized at.
If you are our it manager, what should you do? What would be our first step? Should we consider having a known error database just like i have read or something?
Joined: Mar 12, 2005 Posts: 255 Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 6:51 pm Post subject:
I feel your pain
This is a common enough problem - the breakdown of technical support into silos where they are concerend with their own problems only.
From an ITIL perspective there are a couple of things it recommends that are realted to your issues:
Empower the Service Desk - they should be should be recognised as customer advocates in the ICT organisation, and when they go to a techie saying, this client is still waiting, they should be taken seriously. Senior and unit management should be continually reinforcing the legitimacy of the service desk with their own people. If your systems support it, you can take other measure (as we did) - we ensured that each incident report is asigned a controller (owner) from the service desk, who has full control of the record, and can see its status. If a service threshold is passed they get notified.
In our system a reason has to be entered for reassignment.
Also you need to have a formal set of rules for heirarchical escalation (getting manager's involved) as well as functional escalation (Level 1 to 2 etc.)
But when it comes down to it, the situation you describe inidcates a lack of managment support above all else.
When it comes to problem managment, it's a little more complicated. Many problems require more than one skill set to resolve quickly and effectively. Ideally problems would be assigned to dynamic teams that can be built as the nature of the problem dictates. But as with incident managment, their should be a Problem Manager - not necessarily a person reporting on the whole process, but at the very least an assigned 'owner' for every recorded problem - who coordinates the effort and remains responsible for resoultion for the life of the problem.
Better information at the first point of contact may decrease the number of incidents that need to be handed to tech support, but won't address your problems for the ones that do.
Also it sounds like your service desk staff aren't paying much attention to incident matching. When a new incident comes in they should try and match it to past similar incidents.
Or is it a 'system' problem - eg. does the system simple fire off the assignment as soon as the incident report is classified? This isn't usually the case, but on enever knows.
Another way to empower your service desk is to make sure you give them the skills, information and time they need to do their job. Are you measuring their success by how many calls they push through, or the average duration. If so - big mistake. The Service Desk is not an incident factory. In my "opinion shorter calls = better performance" is just about the worst assumption managers can make. Make sure you don't accidently discourage staff from providing good service by imposing abitrary metrics.
If they are not matching incidents effectively there will be a reason, find and addresss that as well.
So, you're new to this place? Doesn't sound like the happiest of places?
Posted: Thu Oct 20, 2005 8:10 pm Post subject: Problem Management Help
Thanks again for your post. It would really help us a lot if we implement that kind of approach. I'm beginning to like this ITIL and will begin to research more of it. More power to you and also gudluck..
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