Should a Problem be opened for every Major Incident

By ITIL® from Experience©

While it is not common practice to open a problem record based on a single incident, many organizations always log a Problem Record for their Major Incident.

Some organizations open a Problem Record as soon as a Major Incident is declared. Often it is done to involved specialists from the Problem Management Process when they are not usually involved in resolving Incidents. Thus, logging a Problem engages these specialists to help resolve the Major Incident. In other words the problem record initiates their involvement and participation. However, their involvement could be achieved without having to create a Problem record as a trigger. ITIL® makes a provision for involving the Problem Manager during a Major Incident1 , although it does not specify if a Problem Record is created or not.

Other organizations systematically log a Problem once the Major Incident has been resolved. Consequently, the Problem Management process is used to find the root cause, and possibly raise a Request For Change (RFC) to prevent such Incidents from happening again.

Even so, always opening a problem record is not required. The Incident Management Closure activity includes a decision to: "Determine (in conjunction with resolver groups) whether it is likely that the incident could recur and decide whether any preventative action is necessary to avoid this. In conjunction with Problem Management, raise a Problem Record in all such cases to that preventive action is initiated2 .”

Several organizations conduct a post-incident review for all their Major Incidents. When the post-incident review is focused on gathering Lessons Learned from People’s response and the Process, Problem Management can then focus on finding the technological root cause.

Whether the problem record is always created at the onset of a Major Incident, upon its resolution or is optional depends on the desired outcome and level of discipline required to ensure that provisions are implemented to prevent Major Incidents to avoid “significant disruption to the business.3 ." That being said, Problems should not be logged simply to identify trends since this can be done without a problem records by simply analyzing past incidents.

Published on: 2014-08-28

{QUOTE()}"Problems worthy of attack prove their worth by hitting back." Piet Hein

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1 “If the cause of the incident needs to be investigated at the same time (as the Major Incident) then the problem manager would be involved as well, but the incident manager must ensure that service restoration and underlying cause are kept separate.” ITIL® Service Support, 2011 Edition, Section Principles and basic concepts, p. 75
2 ITIL® Service Operations, 2011 Edition, Section Incident closure, p. 82
3 Major Incident: (ITIL® Service Operation) The highest category of impact for an incident. A major incident results in significant disruption to the business. Source: ITIL® glossary and abbreviations, 2011, www.itil-officialsite.com/InternationalActivities/TranslatedGlossaries.aspx


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