Problem, Incident and Change Management Integration

Problem Management seeks to minimize the adverse impact of incidents and problems on the business that are caused by underlying errors within the IT infrastructure and to proactively prevent the recurrence of incidents related to those errors.  In order to achieve this, Problem Management seeks to get to the root cause of incidents, document and communicate known errors and to initiate actions to improve or correct the situation”.  
Given that statement is directly from the ITIL Best Management Practices text, it’s a wonder more organizations don’t have well integrated Problem, Incident and Change processes in their organizations.

I never want to say that there is a single silver bullet solution for a given problem and I’m not suggesting that here.  However having a solid CMS (Configuration Management System) is a good step in the right direction.   Of course before we even think of tools we must have rules.  Thinking holistically we can create an integrated set of best practices across process boundaries. This will allow us to:
  • Optimize processes and ensure their use through standardized models that can effectively guide analyst through best practice for Incident, Problem and Change management.
  • Reduce resolution times by cutting across process boundaries, to ensure that the right information and knowledge is properly communicated and escalated to the correct stakeholders.

Problem Management ensures that all resolutions or workarounds that require a change to a configuration item are submitted through Change Management and implemented through a Request for Change. Change Management will monitor the progress of these changes and keep Problem Management informed. 

Problem Management can also play a significant role in the Change Advisory Board (CAB).  Working in conjunction with Incident management, Problem Management can also be involved in resolving incidents caused by failed changes. For some incidents, it will be applicable to involve Problem Management to investigate and resolve the underlying cause to prevent or reduce the impact of recurrence. Incident Management provides a point where these are reported. Problem Management, in return, can provide known errors for faster incident resolution through workarounds that can be used to restore service.

We can also use the Incident Management process as check on change.  Having the Service desk aware of the change schedule will allow it to be able to detect incidents caused by changes and create the appropriate relationships in the CMS. 


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