IM and PM communication.

Discussion on issues related directly or largely to ITIL problem management.
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HumanAfterAll
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Tue Sep 22, 2009 6:26 pm

I have read similar questions in other threads, but they have not covered my concern and are now somewhat old. So instead of bringing an old thread back to life...

Scenario...

Problem Management has just been implemented, a Problem Manager has been assigned and the Managed Service has been sold for the first time to a new customer.
The service desk are not used to Problem Management or the processes, and have never had to progress a call outside of their IM realm before.

The Problem Manager has just written up the processes and procedures based on ITIL guidelines and looking for the best method for IM to alert the necessity of PM.

Problem Manager briefs the Service Desk Manager and asks that potential problems are submitted by the analysts to the PM.

Nothing ever comes through to PM from IM as IM have no interest in the root cause of the reported incidents as it's not on their radar for concern.

The PM is not responsible for the IM process or it's adherence.

If the PM is supposed to be outside of the Service Desk, how does the PM have visibility over what should and shouldn't be escalated?

This hasn't happened yet, but I can see it happening.

Major incidents, yes, I can understand. Proactive problem management, yes, I can understand that too. But communication between IM and PM being tight enough to efficiently manage PM for a given customer without having to constantly monitor incidents or chase IM, I am either being seriously pessimistic or am just confused.

As a discussion, again, not too guideline theoretical, but more practical/realistic, can anyone offer advice?

I would also be interested in what methods are used for this process, hard forms, emails, flagged incident records etc.

Thank you.


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asrilrm
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Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:20 pm

Hi,

First, my comment is that I couldn't imagine how a problem could be identified not through any incident(s). Potential problems are exceptional of course.

I don't know how pragmatic advice could be given if not by illustration so here it comes.

If a user calls the Service Desk/Help Desk complaining that his workstation can't connect to a system. After Q and A's the Service Desk came to a temporary solution, which is to restart the workstation. This is what we call the workaround.
The service is restored, but does that mean the Service Desk's task is over?
Probably yes, but the SD still has an obligation to escalate to resolve the temporary solution to obtain a permanent one so that similar incidents would be avoided in the future.
If Problem Management System is already in place, a Problem Ticket should be raised. For the above case, it is usually the task of the SD Manager to raise the ticket.

As for the proactive Problem Management, the approach is quite obvious.
One of SD's task is to provide information of incidents recorded in certain period (weekly/monthly) and distribute it to all interested parties. One of those is proactive Problem Management team. They will read throughout the report and identify problem related incidents such as recurring incidents, etc.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Asril
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Diarmid
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Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:08 am

Humanafterall,

I wonder if you are worrying about the wrong scenario. Perhaps SD will try to pass everything to PM to get it out their hair?

In either case the solution is the same.

Your organization must stop thinking of itself as discrete components ('silos') and start thinking in terms of service delivery. This is achieved by education, the identification of common goals and a common understanding of what a service is, good management, excellent communications protocols, sensible dissemination of service performance and event information, all held together in documented policies, strategies and procedures and audited regularly.

You seem to be describing a scenario where someone has gone away in a corner and drawn up procedures for others to use. I hope this is not so, as it is unlikely to work.

Your perception that the Service Desk and the Problem Manager are separate is incorrect. They have separate sets of responsibilities, but these have to be integrated through procedures and management activities.
"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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HumanAfterAll
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Thu Sep 24, 2009 11:48 am

Thanks, Diarmid.

I understand all your points and yes, they are obvious to me.

I understand the theoretical side of ITSM which is plastered over all the forums and I believe I understand the ITIL guidelines and understand the application of the best practice approach.

I understand that communication within organisation is fundamentally necessary for successful procedure and that a company shouldn’t think of itself as discrete components.

I also know that this is achieved through all the methods that you posted.

I stated that the service desk and PM have different goals, which they do. PM has relationships through entire service delivery and I believe I understand how they relate.

I also understand the functions of the service desk in both theory and practice, which in my experience differ from one another.

I am delighted if your company adheres exactly to the theory you have detailed.

I however, am not here for theory. The discussion was aimed at sharing related apprehension to retrieve advice from people who have been through similar experience and believe they can share helpful, relevant advice. These people may also, like me, not live in documented theory, but in the real world.
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UKVIKING
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Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:45 pm

HFA

Diarmid, myself, asrilm etc are not theorticians. We are practitioners in IT - implementing, improving enforcing ITIL

What exactly do you want ? What you have asked is a theorectical question to be honest.

Do you want one of us to provide you with consulting services to answer the question for your specific company. I am quiite sure that some one would be interested if they are PAID.

This site is free forum. advice for free. w/o liabilities etc. If you dont like what advice .. so what.

I could provide you information about the companies I worked for but .... I sign NDAs. and there is such thing as propritary information etc

Now let me give this a stab.

the SD is for Incident MGMT. Obviously.
The SD creates Incident records and the incident mgmt teams / resolution teams solves issues - by restoring service. Obvious
If a body of data has been developed about recurring incidents, this is information for the PM mgt and the PM team

However, the PM team / mgmt must define how incidents - resolved or otherwise - get their attention and a separate ticket for PM processing gets started

The PM mgr and the SD/ IM mgr should meet together and devise method to deal with the reactive PM.
In addition, the PM mgr must devise how to do proactive PM

In other words, some one has to make a decion - not a committee decision and take initiative to do this. It should be the PM if not, fire him
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HumanAfterAll
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Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:04 pm

Thanks UKVIKING, I understand exactly what you're saying, and no, I don't want consulting services.

What I expected might have been some advice from people who may have had the same apprehensions as me, not strategic, theoretical advice that I'd expect I'd have to pay for, but friendly advice from the friendly community I've just joined.

Again, however, you're stating the obvious, well, it's certainly obvious to me.

I think what's best to do here is I'll finish designing, implementing and managing the service, then I'll come back to the forum and I'll answer my own question. Probably detailing little things that I may have done to promote my awareness better and what sort of barriers I came across throughout service delivery and the technique tweaks that I used to adapt processes for the streamlining of the problem lifecycle, etc.

Apologies, for the misunderstanding.
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asrilrm
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Thu Sep 24, 2009 10:09 pm

Sorry HAA but I came to the conclusion that at least your understanding about ITIL is weak.
Not without a reason
Problem Manager briefs the Service Desk Manager and asks that potential problems are submitted by the analysts to the PM.
Who are the analysts? Are they assigned specifically for the purpose?
ITIL V2 SS just gave the role Problem Support, it is the company that should elaborate more. My company has incorporated the name "Subject Matters Experts" for that.
Nothing ever comes through to PM from IM as IM have no interest in the root cause of the reported incidents as it's not on their radar for concern.
This is no doubt TRUE and shouldn't be an excuse for the Problem Manager in your scenario. It is his team's responsibility to find the root cause.
The PM is not responsible for the IM process or it's adherence.
Yes, true. The goals are different for both processes so no process should be responsible for the other.
If the PM is supposed to be outside of the Service Desk, how does the PM have visibility over what should and shouldn't be escalated?
There are many examples given, including the one I gave you previously.
And I can assure you that it was based on real experience.

.
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Diarmid
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Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:04 am

HumanAfterAll wrote:I however, am not here for theory
Sorry not to have met your requirements.

However my response was not theoretical. I will concede it was abstracted, but that was because I did not, and do not, have sufficient information about your specific organization, its people and culture to provide specifics.

I do not believe my own, or anyone else's specific experience is necessarily suitable for you, even if it was appropriate to talk somewhat directly about specific and possibly identifiable organizations.

In my view, if you have the experience, knowledge and the theoretical background to be able to "borrow" other people's detailed tactics appropriately, then you are unlikely to need them in the first place because it will be obvious what pro-active and re-active steps will work for your organization.

What I now don't quite understand is why you painted such a black picture of your organization when you have all the underpinning theory at your fingertips.

Is there really no aspect of to Problem Management process written into the Incident Management procedures?

Did the Problem Manager really just write PM procedures and expect people to take them up without having bought in and without integrating them with other processes?

Have you really sold this managed service in such an immature state? Did you offer a discount?

Raising a problem or linking an incident to a problem is not "progress[ing] a call outside of [the] IM realm". It is nothing to do with progressing the call. An incident does not "progress" to a problem; it gets resolved. (I now realize that you already understand this, but I was not to know that when I read it initially)
"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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Fri Sep 25, 2009 4:31 am

HAA

one last question

What level of training in ITIL have you had ?
What version of ITIL training was it ?
When was it ?
What level of certification for ITIL have you had ?
What exposure to the other IT practices - CoBIT,, ToGAF, CMMi, MoF, PRINCE2, PMP - an
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Caperz
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Tue Dec 08, 2009 6:08 pm

Gday HumanAfterAll,

Any updates on your experiences and progress with improving Problem Management in your organisation ?
ITIL V3 Capability - Operational Support & Analysis Certified
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