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ITIL :: View topic - Problem Management Metrics & SLA's
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Problem Management Metrics & SLA's

 
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Mike_23
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 3:46 am    Post subject: Problem Management Metrics & SLA's Reply with quote

Hello All,

I was just wondering if anyone has successfully implemented an SLA for Problem Management. A metric based on number of problems solved, time, ratio, cost, etc. Any ideas would be appreciated.
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rjp
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Joined: Mar 12, 2005
Posts: 255
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2006 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you providing 'problem management' as a profesional service - ie., applying your problem management exptertise to solve someone else's problems?

Normally problem management is something you do to assist delivering your services within the SLAs that govern them. It is not generally considered to be a 'service' in its own right, and while you might wish to monitor its effectiveness, you would not run it according to an SLA.

SLA's (and OLAs and UCs) are intended to define and clarify the relationship between functions (business units, departments, companies, etc) - not the processes that take place within a given function.

As for metrics - the primary objective of Problem Management is to reduce the number of incidents over time. The second most important object is the reduction of the impact of those that do occur. (Objectives it achieves in partnership with other processes.)

So numerically the change in incident volume and impact over a fixed measurement period is the starting point. But this needs to be related to Problem Management activites (There are other factors that could be causing changes in Incident volumes.)

With reactive problem management this isn't too difficult as the relationship between the problem and the incidents will be known. What you can look at here is whether there has been a reduction of impact for incidents handled by formal problem management.

With proactively preventing incidents it is a little harder. How do you measure what might of happened but didn't due to your PM activities. But really establishing how well PM is preventing incidents is the only way you will find out how effectively it is contributing to service quality.

Personally, I don't believe there is a simple quantitative metric that can accurately capture this - only reports based on qualitative analysis of samples of the PM process can find this out.

There are good reasons for monitoring the quality of the PM process itself - but these are not measurements of service quality. I recommend always taking care to separate evaulating the health of a process from the quality of that process's outputs. (Though, they are, of course, related.)
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Mike_23
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 1:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjp wrote:
Are you providing 'problem management' as a profesional service - ie., applying your problem management exptertise to solve someone else's problems?

Normally problem management is something you do to assist delivering your services within the SLAs that govern them. It is not generally considered to be a 'service' in its own right, and while you might wish to monitor its effectiveness, you would not run it according to an SLA.

SLA's (and OLAs and UCs) are intended to define and clarify the relationship between functions (business units, departments, companies, etc) - not the processes that take place within a given function.

As for metrics - the primary objective of Problem Management is to reduce the number of incidents over time. The second most important object is the reduction of the impact of those that do occur. (Objectives it achieves in partnership with other processes.)

So numerically the change in incident volume and impact over a fixed measurement period is the starting point. But this needs to be related to Problem Management activites (There are other factors that could be causing changes in Incident volumes.)

With reactive problem management this isn't too difficult as the relationship between the problem and the incidents will be known. What you can look at here is whether there has been a reduction of impact for incidents handled by formal problem management.

With proactively preventing incidents it is a little harder. How do you measure what might of happened but didn't due to your PM activities. But really establishing how well PM is preventing incidents is the only way you will find out how effectively it is contributing to service quality.

Personally, I don't believe there is a simple quantitative metric that can accurately capture this - only reports based on qualitative analysis of samples of the PM process can find this out.

There are good reasons for monitoring the quality of the PM process itself - but these are not measurements of service quality. I recommend always taking care to separate evaulating the health of a process from the quality of that process's outputs. (Though, they are, of course, related.)


Thanks. I appreciate your help here. This was what I was looking for. I do both Proactive and Reactive Problem Management, so I think the measuring of these will be different.
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rjp
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Joined: Mar 12, 2005
Posts: 255
Location: Melbourne, Australia

PostPosted: Sat Feb 25, 2006 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike,

thanks. You may not have the Planning book, (and it might be of value to others reading this post), and there is a neat summary of 'metrics' for the various processes there. Under Problem Management:

Critical Success Factors

* improved service quality
* minimise impact of Problems
* reduce the cost to Users of Problems.

Key Performance Incidators

Service quality performance:
*percentage reduction in repeat Incidents/Problems
*percentage reduction in the Incidents and Problems affecting service to Customers
*percentage reduction in the known Incidents and Problems encountered
*no delays in production of management reports
*improved CSS (Customer Satisfaction Surveys) responses on business disruption caused by Incidents and Problems.

Minimise impact of Problems:

Editorial: That's the subtitle given in the book, but problems don't have an 'impact' until they cause an Incidnet, so the metrics for the impact of Problems are simply an agreggation (under the parent problem) of the impact of Incidents. If you look at the measurements in this grouping they do not necessarily indicate impact. It is a reasonable assumption, for example, that a high average time to resolve problem will correlate to high impact. But it is by no means a rule - impact is best measured where it occurs, in the business, and not in your Problem Management process. This grouping is however a good guide to how to monitor the health of the process itself - with some caveats. (see below)

*percentage reduction in average time to resolve Problems
*percentage reduction of the time to implement fixes to Known Errors
*percentage reduction of the time to diagnose Problems
*percentage reduction of the average number of undiagnosed Problems
*percentage reduction of the average backlog of 'open' Problems and errors.

Reduction cost of Problems to Users:
*percentage reduction of the impact of Problems on Users
*reduction in the business disruption caused by Incidents and Problems
*percentage reduction in the number of Problems escalated (missed target)
*percentage reduction in the IT Problem Management budget
*increased percentage of proactive Changes raised by Problem Management, particularly from Major Incident and Problem reviews.


Another interesting aspect of measuring the effectiveness of PM - and not covered (explicitly) in the metrics above, is the question of why some of the trends mentioned here might be occurring.

For example, average time to resolve may be very dependent on:
* The accuracy of incident classification, description and resoultion coding.
* The availability of accurate configuration mangement information
* Whether a significant number of unplanned and undocumented changes are occurring.

So a decrease in the integrity of information due to unplanned changes could see a continuing decreas in a PM KPI - average time to resolve - but the decrease in that indicator (as measured in PM) is not indicating a problem in PM itself. Which is to say it would not be measuring what it purports to. Which is perhaps why it presented as an output metric.

Measurement of the output/product of a process is what it is - so to speak. Measurement of the process itself is a little more subtle and requires more attention to qualitative detail.
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