Problem management is one of the aspects in the field of IT that usually gives management a severe migraine. Mainly because it is very difficult sometimes to distinguish between problem management and incident management. These two areas have so many similarities and parallels that they can become almost exactly the same. The devil is in the details of course.
In order to draw a line and discuss what is problem management and how it is applied in the software development field, we first need to give a definition of problem. What can possibly go wrong with that?
Problem Management vs Incident Management
The term problem, in its simplest business-oriented form, refers to an unknown root of one or more incidents. The common everyday analogy would be the difference between a disease and its symptoms. And to continue with this analogy, problem management uses incidents to identify a problem similarly to a doctor who makes a diagnosis based on the symptoms.
When the incident occurs, the main goal of incident management is to restore damage and get system back to operation as quickly and painlessly as possible. In case, when incidents cause little damage and occur rarely – the treatment in form of root-cause analysis is not justified from a business standpoint.
Breakdown of Problem Management
Problem management is a step beyond simple incident management in the software lifecycle. When users face the same incidents like service downtime, they start losing trust in the product and in the company and ultimately look for a better solution. And usually there are competitors who are just waiting for that.
The primary objective of problem management is to identify, troubleshoot and resolve issue. In the IT industry there is an enormous array of possible problems, starting with simply failing hardware to elaborate database configuration and conflicting functions in the software code. In the end the elimination of problem reduces incidents over the long term, which in turn improves end-user satisfaction, which positively affects customer retention, which increases revenue.
The process of problem management can be described in a variety of ways, with different number of phases and intermediate steps. However generally speaking the root-cause-analysis can be summarized as follows:
- Detecting a problem;
- Identification and categorization of problem;
Depending on the type of organization and type of product, your business might want to break down the process in a bit different way.
Elaboration of Solutions
The important thing to remember in the problem resolution is a workaround for the problem. Since, the process of fixing the problem can take from few hours to months and there need to be further testing performed, you would require a temporary workaround to restore services to users while the problem is being resolved. Because the show must go on!
The entire process of problem management is paramount to the IT industry and is often overlooked by many novice companies or assumed just as a part of QA responsibilities. Also, from a business standpoint, having a dedicated team of problem management isn’t really sufficient, since their services aren’t required that often. For those reasons we at ItechCore offer problem management services to our clients. With our unmatched expertise and years-long experience in the field of software development and testing, we can provide your business with swift and efficient solution and eliminate the root of incidents in no-time.