When doesn an Incident become a problem?

General discussion on all aspects of the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL)
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LS
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Fri Jun 25, 2010 5:09 am

Hi,

Please update when does an incident become a problem and how?

Brds, LS


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Diarmid
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Fri Jun 25, 2010 6:05 am

An incident never becomes a problem. And how!

Read up on what problem management is and thus on what a problem is. There are many threads on this theme under Problem Management and under The ITIL Service Desk.

Incidents are occurrences of loss of service or loss of service quality.

Problems are things that might cause these occurrences in the future.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
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Timo
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Fri Jun 25, 2010 11:56 am

Maybe LS meant to ask when is it appropriate to raise a problem in relation to a single major or multiple incidents ;)
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Diarmid
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Sat Jun 26, 2010 5:48 am

Timo wrote:Maybe LS meant to ask when is it appropriate to raise a problem in relation to a single major or multiple incidents ;)
Could be. The answer to that question is you open the problem when you identify the existence of a problem; i.e. when you see that there is something that needs fixed in order to avoid future incidents, or when you lack a good explanation for something that has gone wrong and are concerned to prevent future occurrences.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
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harishpr
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Wed Jun 30, 2010 2:32 pm

An incident is more like a break-fix issue. Not all incidents OR repeat incidents of same nature qualifies for a 'Problem'. (Example: Password resets).
However, it's not mandatory that we need to see several incidents of same issue to open a problem record.



When you see that there is an underlying cause that requires a permanent fix for an issue OR don't know what the underlying cause is, you are good to call that as a Problem for root cause analysis.


[/quote]
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LS
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Thu Jul 01, 2010 1:56 am

Dear All,

I do empathise your feedbacks but in very outset we can never analyse if it is a problem or not. Let's say after finding RCA, we come to know that it is a problem and need a permanent fix. So, do we need to open some another ticket to raise that problem or the status of running incident will be changed from incident to problem?

Please advice!
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UKVIKING
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Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:33 am

LS

I am seeing a fundamental problem here

Before i (or one fo the others) will answer your latest questions

Please answer the following

What is the level of your ITIL training / exposure
What is the role you are fulfilling at your company
What is your understanding of the definition (ITIL) of Incident
What is your understanding of the definition (ITIL) of Problem
What is your understanding of the non ITIL defintion of Problem and Incident ?

Please answer these 5 questions and as a bonus, you get to ask 1 silly question for us to answer
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Diarmid
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Thu Jul 01, 2010 4:44 am

LS wrote: So, do we need to open some another ticket to raise that problem or the status of running incident will be changed from incident to problem?
The answers are: "no" and "no".

John is correct. It is hard to work out what you are asking because you do not give many clues as to what you know about IT service management and ITIL.

On one level I answer "no" because you do not "need" to do anything - except what you determine you need to do.

On another level [watch my pixels!] an incident is never changed into a problem, even if six were nine and all the mountains fell in the sea.

These are basic concepts, descriptions and explanations for which can be found in many threads throughout this forum.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
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LS
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Mon Jul 05, 2010 4:08 am

Hi John,

1. What is the level of your ITIL training / exposure?

Ans: ITIL V3F Certified

2. What is the role you are fulfilling at your company?
Ans: However, it doesn't refer to ITIL yet if considering ITIL perspective, then it belongs to Service Operation.

3. What is your understanding of the definition (ITIL) of Incident?
Ans: Any event/occurence which causes or may cause disruption in any IT service is known as an incident.

4. What is your understanding of the definition (ITIL) of Problem?
Ans: A problem is an unknown underlying cause of an incident.

5. What is your understanding of the non ITIL defintion of Problem and Incident?
Ans: Any event/happening or occurance is known as an incident. When you're unable to resolve an issue or to find a solution for sth you have been looking for is a problem.

I understand your view point about me, asking such a question reason being I never worked in Service Desk therefore such a confusion. Theory wise my concepts are clear but I am asking as per practical point of view i.e. when to update an event as an Incident and when as a Problem.

Hope you are getting me right now!
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Diarmid
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Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:19 am

LS,

although being unable to find a resolution to an event (hopefully, temporarily) is indeed a problem, but unless and until you have otherwise resolved the incident, your priority is still the incident.

However, even if you know what caused the incident and you resolved it you still have a problem if there is the possibility of the incident recurring and this is the key.

If a machine is down and no one knows why or how to get it back up and there is no alternative way of providing the service, then you investigate deeper and deeper until you have solved it and got the machine on its feet. However deep you investigated, whatever formal investigative methods you used, you were doing it for incident management.

On the other hand if simply rebooting the machine got the service back up, then the same investigations will be conducted to try to prevent a future recurrence and these, possibly identical, investigations will be performed for problem management.

And that is why, in management terms, an incident never becomes a problem.
"Method goes far to prevent trouble in business: for it makes the task easy, hinders confusion, saves abundance of time, and instructs those that have business depending, both what to do and what to hope."
William Penn 1644-1718
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UKVIKING
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Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:20 am

LS

ITIL Glossary v3 definitions

Incident - An unplanned interruption to an IT Service or a reduction in the Quality of an IT Service.

Problem - A cause of one or more Incidents. The cause is not usually known at the time a Problem Record is created, and the Problem Management Process is responsible for further investigation

ITIL v2 definitions

incident - same
Problem - Unknown underlying cause of one or more Incidents.
John Hardesty
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Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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UKVIKING
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Mon Jul 05, 2010 5:26 am

LS

Incidents and Incident Management want to have the service restored as quick as possible in order to ensure that any SLA breaches do not occur and to have the service back to the users / customers

IM does not care why the incident happened, only how to get it working as it should

Problems and Problem Management want to know what caused the # of incidents. PM does not care about restoring the service but to find out the why so that then there can be a solution to keep the why from happening.

SLAs, OLAs, customers and users are not first on the list

In real world situations, the resolution teams would concentrate on the restoration of service

If some instance occurs many times to the same system, then there may be a MGMT decision - IT, SD, IM and PM - to determine whether the company should spend its time finding out why if the why is unknown or implementing the solution if the why is known.

The incidents will still occur and the resolution team will still restore service

NOTE: Get more training beyond Foundation. The level of detail discussed in Foundation does not prepare one for real life mgmt of IT via ITIL
John Hardesty
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Change Management is POWER & CONTROL. /....evil laughter
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paulfixter
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Mon Jul 19, 2010 4:36 am

I always follow this rule:

"An incident cannot become a problem, but an incident can prompt the creation of a problem".

We then create problems based upon the impact the issue is having on the organisation. But that is another story...
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