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ITIL :: View topic - Proactive vs Reactive PM
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Proactive vs Reactive PM

 
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jjshea
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Joined: Apr 14, 2007
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject: Proactive vs Reactive PM Reply with quote

Anybody have some working examples of the two they can share?

For example when trending incoming incidents and finding re-occurring incidents with similar symptoms, to me that is proactive. But what is reactive?

Say a lead in IM requests that PM look into a potential problem they think is reoccurring with significant impact, I am calling that reactive. Am I on track or off?

If anybody who can make some suggestions and share some examples, please it would be very helpful.

Thank you!
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jpgilles
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Joined: Mar 29, 2007
Posts: 123
Location: FRance

PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A simple way to consider it:
* reactive PM: working on a problem that is identified based on the incident logs (incidents arise and you are looking for possible elimination of their causes), the way you identifiy the problems does not really matter
* proactive PM: identifying problems which have not yet generated incidents and fixing them , ideally before incidents arise.

Another way to consider it:
* reactive: as part of the incident management , escalation is rised to PM as the service can't be restored with actual knowledge: the cause needs to be identified, then a possible workaround and finally a solution.
* proactive: everything else, including analysing incident logs to identify problems.

I tend to support the first approach: to me as long as you work on problems that do generate incidents, you are in the reactive mode.

for what it is worth....

JP
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Globis
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2007 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

According to ITIL:

Proactive problem management covers the activities aimed at identifying and resolving problems before incidents occur.

Which is a bit daft since ITIL defines a problem as: the underlying cause of one or more incidents.

So if you are looking at incidents, whether to identify trends or not, you are still reacting to the fact that incidents have occurred. In fact it seems to me that if a problem exists at all you must be, by definition, reacting to something.

So it is possible to suggest that 'Proactive problem management', like 'honest politician' is a tautology. Perhaps they felt that they had to somehow get the word 'proactive' in there somehow because it is a high-score buzz word!

No doubt you can find examples of problem management where proactive could be reasonably applied: for example where problem management identifies a fault in project methodology or implementation standards, and effects a change in those procedures, thereby possibly reducing the number of future incidents.

But in the end who cares ? (Unless you have management that like to see the word 'proactive' used as part of their weekly buzzword bingo sessions.) The vast majority of problem management is carried out in reactive mode, and trend analysis of incidents is still reactive, but still very useful.

Perhaps you could say that PM trend analysis proactively reacts to incidents?

Note: trend analysis in capacity management is truely proactive, i.e. you look at the upward trend of an increasingly used resource, and predict a point in the future at which you will need more resources to meet the SLA.

Yours cynically,

Dave
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jjshea
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2007 2:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off thank you both for the replies, very useful information for us.

My example to management was: Every 3000 miles I take my car in for service as recommended by the manufacturer, that is a proactive activity. Then in between services, my check engine light turns on so I take the car into the dealer, this is reactive. An incident has occurred and all parties are reacting to it. Now say someone at the dealer (trough trending) notices that the check engine light comes on whenever these model X cars hit 27,555 miles, this is start of reactive PM. I would never be proactive in my opinion. Then the Root Cause is identified as a little chip that shorts out. Then headquarters notifies all service departments of a recall that will be sent out to have the chips replaced on this model X car. This activity to me is proactive. On the other hand headquarters may say replace as needed; in this case it would remain reactive.

Globis wrote:
But in the end who cares? (Unless you have management that like to see the word 'proactive' used as part of their weekly buzzword bingo sessions.) The vast majority of problem management is carried out in reactive mode, and trend analysis of incidents is still reactive, but still very useful.

Perhaps you could say that PM trend analysis proactively reacts to incidents?


I agree with what you are saying, but this is definitely the case with our management. "Proactive" is the bingo buzzword that is being emphasized to upper management. So the debate is which activity is which. I can only try to influence the discussion in a logical direction and the input is very useful, but like you said, in the end who cares!

Thanks again!
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