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ITIL :: View topic - Need advise
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Need advise

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Joined: Apr 14, 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 1:03 pm    Post subject: Need advise Reply with quote

#1 I am hoping that I can get some advise from "UKVIKING" as I have read several threads with his input and highly value the knowledge. But all advice is more than welcome and appreciated so please share your thoughts!!

Ok, here is some background info. I work for a large corporation and ITIL is something that has been buzzing around for years but never fully implemented. We have a GM that is trying to put ITIL buzz words into action one being Problem Management, which I am a member of. I have been trying to go down the ITIL Problem Management route but our organization is what I would call maturity level 0 and not ready for a mature PM process at this time. Let's just say to many empires and land grabbers trying to take ownership. Granted there should be one PM Owner responsible for PM but I think if anything I've taken away from the books and Pink Conferences is that in a large organization the PM activities are better off in a collaborative environment with participants from the various responsible organizations. E.g. Server, Networking, Telecom, Desktop, Email, etc. We are not there yet!!

So now for the part where I really need advice! I have been trying to influence our Service Management groups to define our terminologies so that we are all speaking the same language and sharing the same concepts when we use terms. A core list, per say, of Common terms and definitions that we all agree on. So when I say "Problem Investigation" in a meeting all participants know what I mean and understand the process behind it.

While all this is going on a group of managers are meeting behind closed doors defining processes and come up with this term called "Known Problem". When I heard it my first question was, can you define a "Known Problem" because that is not an ITIL term or one that I am familiar with. (My latest kick is for all new or undefined terms to be followed with an official definition or I will not adopt the term). Anyway, they did come up with a def. and not wanting to conflict with my GM I reluctantly added the term to our framework document.

Then I am asked by my manager to go to a meeting with the Service Desk Manager 2 and his direct reports. In this meeting I am going over our work in progress PM framework doc and when I get to "Known Problem" I say even though it is not an official ITIL term we are adding this because it differs from a "Known Error". At which point the M2 says "Known Problem is a ITIL term, we used the ITIL book when coming up with it". I say, no there is no "Known Problem" defined in the ITIL book that I know of. He gets really defensive and confrontational at this point and I do not want to challenge him in front of his direct reports so I try to let it go. But he insists it is in the "ITIL IT Service Management Essentials" training book from Pink Elephant. Still wanting to avoid the confrontation with an M2 I let it go but on the way out he tells me to get the book off his shelf and look it up. I have my own copy of the book and can not find any mention of "Known Problem", I've searched high and low for ITIL definitions of Known Problem and not found anything other than "Known Error". Can someone tell me if I am wrong and where to find the ITIL definition? On the other hand, if I am right and "Known Problem" is not an officially defined ITIL term or process how should I handle this with the M2? I want him to be right when he talks ITIL vs non-ITIL terms and his support is critical to the success of our PM process. Anyone with advice please, this is eating at me!

p.s. sorry for the short novel but I thought it might help you and I to get it all out in detail. THANKS in advance!
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Joined: Sep 16, 2006
Posts: 3597
Location: London, UK

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Known Problem huh ? Well at least you are not arguing about where to put a comma

What is the definition of your 'known problem'

It most likely is the combination of Known Error and Problem or derived from it.

Dont sweat it too hard.

Dont use the 'official' // corp definition of terminology ruin the implementation

ITIL should be used as guide and base for what you need
John Hardesty
ITSM Manager's Certificate (Red Badge)

Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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Joined: Mar 29, 2007
Posts: 123
Location: FRance

PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


As far as I know, there is definitely nothing called "known problem" in ITIL. If it written in a book fromPink Elephant, that just means it's a term used by Pink Elephant ...not necessarily in ITIL.

What distinction have you made between a Known Error and a Known Problem?

If keeping both terms helps clarifying the process you are putting in place, just go on (as you say, you need to put clear definitions), and don't spend time in this type of argument.

Question: did you run ITIL courses prior to starting to work on implementing the processes? How many people were trained?
Prelimineray training is a key success factor, in my mind: I have seen totally opposite situations in companies that had run ITIL basic training BEFORE starting the ITIL approach, and companies which decided NOT to, waiting to do some training as part of the implementation...
JP Gilles
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Joined: Apr 14, 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off, thank you both for the valued input!!

Known Problem is defined as: An identified problem with a work-around, with or without a root cause identified.

Known Error is defined as: An identified problem with a root cause identified, with or without a work-around identified.

Trying for a happy medium between the two terms yet trying to keep a strong distinction between the two. What are your thoughts?

jpgilles: I could found nothing anywhere in a book or otherwise for "known problem". In our meeting the M2 was so persistent that it was a ITIL term that I began to second guess myself. So I thought I would ask this community. I have no issue adopting the term if everyone agrees on the def. and it leads to forward progress of our Problem Management process.

As far as training I think that we have really messed it up. Most managers were trained on the essentials of ITIL over a year ago yet none of the employees were trained. We just heard buzz of the ITIL initiative and that was as far as it went until the end of last year. I was sent to the essentials training at the end of 2006 with about 15 other Service Management employees. I would say at this point that is less than 5% of Service Management technicians have been trained. I guess in this case we can say it's a "Known Error" Wink as defined above. As far as I know, there is a push to get all SM technicians trained on the essentials of ITIL this year.

And on top of all this we are in the very first stages of a SAP implementation. One thing for sure is that we have mass changes coming in the next 5+ years that is company wide and being pushed from the very top level down.

again, thanks for the feedback!!
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Joined: Mar 29, 2007
Posts: 123
Location: FRance

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for your answer, sounds a little bit strange , but why not....

Just to go further in details: personally, I do not like the term"identified" in the definitions (even in ITIL's one), I do prefer to use "available".

If a workaround is "identified" (which means you - PM team - knows what to do to work it around) , that does not make a difference for Incident management until it is made available to them, so they can apply the workaround straight forward...
The difference ??? Documentation and updated Knowledge Base

good luck...
JP Gilles
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Joined: Apr 15, 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

jjshea, I say you should storm out of the meeting and slam doors!
I'm just kidding..

I too find this situation frustrating.. ( I work with jjshea )..
I feel like we spend so much time laying down process and coming up with keywords/definitions; only to go no where...

has anyone else here had to deal with the same situation?

please help us

Rolling Eyes
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Joined: Sep 26, 2005
Posts: 44
Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Mon Apr 16, 2007 11:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi jjshea,

On the question as to whether known problem is an ITIL term, I would think not, otherwise your SD manager would have shown it to you in the book by now.

As to whether or not you need the term known problem depends entirely on if this will add some value. It seems like your group have defined it for a reason. If it helps you with problem management I see no reason why not to use it.
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